VUSSC/Content/Entrepreneurship/Selling and the Customer/The cold and indifferent buyer

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The cold and indifferent buyer

One of the commonest moods is indifference. Sometimes this is merely a temperamental habit, but it is often adopted as a defensive posture. Indifferent buyers meet salespersons in the most frigid manner, and their coldness can be a formidable obstacle. It is ususally easy to obtain an interview with such customers. However, the difficulty is to make anything out of it.

An indifferent buyer may listen courteously to all that is said, but refuse to express her opinion. She sits unmoved before your most enthusiastic argument and description. Towards the end of an interview, when she is asked to place an order, she is likely to say blandly that she is not in the market at present, without explaining why. You do not know whether or not you have made a good impression. Often, you cannot be sure whether she has grasped the points you offer. Her purpose is often to chill your enthusiasm, either hoping to secure the lowest possible terms or to terminate the interview.

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I suppose you have come across indifferent buyers or you have heard about them (as an entrepreneur). How best would you deal with such customers? Reflect on this and share your views with colleagues.When you have done that, read on and see to what extent you agree with suggestions that follow.

It is difficult to avoid showing impatience or irritation with an indifferent customer, but it would be the height of folly to do so. Possibly the best way to handle them is to be more than usually deliberate in explaining the features of your goods, asking point blank for an opinion about each point in turn, even if the answers are nothing more than 'yes' or 'no'. If the customer assents, well and good. If she dissents, then press her to explain why. Such a buyer is always more ready to make unfavourable criticisms than to acknowledge any good points.

Remember that somebody will be selling goods to the most indifferent buyers. The successful salesperson is one who refuses to let aloofness dampen her enthusiasm. Speaking of the indifferent prospective buyer whose stock answer is 'No', one sales manager says: "When a person says 'no', she sometimes means it, but more often she does not. A negative answer is the most natural answer in the world, often made because it is the easiest.