Inviting sells more than informing does. Inviting builds bridges; informing doesn’t. Inviting explores, informing limits. When a customer says, “Yes” to, “Have you heard about our revolutionary four-way transformer?”, informing proceeds to sell, possibly realising too late that buyer and seller are not on the same page; knowing this, inviting asks, “What have you heard?”
Also, when the seller says: “When we spoke over the phone, you said you are interested in our vehicle financing. Let me tell you about it,” he informs. And with the prospect’s (potential buyer’s) response, “I want to buy an Omni,” the excited seller, seeing a closed deal, further informs with, “We’ll loan you 80 per cent and you’ll only pay 20 per cent. We will need a copy of the log book and your PIN number.” Maybe she avails these, maybe she objects with, “Let me think about it.” That’s not the point.
The point is, if the seller had sought more to invite than inform, the conversation would have gone differently and likely yielded more nuggets of information and a bigger sale. So, “When we spoke over the phone you said you are interested in our vehicle financing. May I ask why?” (Invitation). I’m looking to buy an Omni. “Curiously, what do you like about the Omni?” (Another invitation). Oh, it’s for use as a school bus for a kindergarten we are starting.” (Nugget). “We’ll finance you 80 per cent and…” (Informing and nugget ignored). Instead, try inviting: “Tell me more about the kindergarten.” It’s at this place and will have this number of teachers, classes and students.” (more nuggets). The extra nuggets produce more juicy results because of two reasons— emotional and financial. The prospect feels your genuine interest in her, and you forge a deeper, longer term sustainable bond.
The extra nuggets offer an opportunity for you to sell other products or services; or, it reveals to the prospect that she doesn’t need the Omni. What she needs instead is to outsource transport to a private contractor and channel the 20 per cent (for the deposit) towards working capital (money to grow the school).
And the school bus can come later (if at all it must) when the school has stabilised. Yes, you lost that sale. But you were there to make a customer, not a sale. And in doing so, you find you can offer insurances related to the school, plus get the school and the teachers’ personal accounts. In fact, because of the bond forged, it’s not far-fetched for the prospect to change their mind about going with the competition to you instead.
To invite successfully, calls for patience and a genuine desire to help. It is even more acute when it’s a business to business sale-like a bank to a school or, an engineering firm to a manufacturing plant as in the examples shared.
Inviting probes prods and pursues; in the process it creates crystal clarity, mutual understanding and sustainable sales.