The Wonder of Win-Win

Winning a sale. It seems pretty straightforward, right? Wellnot actually. In every business transaction, there are really four potential outcomes. Win/Win Both the business and the customer are happy. The sale is made, the customer is delighted, and it was a great success. Win/Lose The business is happy, but not the customer. In this case, the business stood firm on an issue: price, color, delivery

Winning a sale. It seems pretty straightforward, right? Well…not actually. In every business transaction, there are really four potential outcomes.

  1. Win/Win

    Both the business and the customer are happy. The sale is made, the customer is delighted, and it was a great success.

  2. Win/Lose

    The business is happy, but not the customer. In this case, the business stood firm on an issue: price, color, delivery or any other factor that could stop the sale. Even though the sale was made, the customer feels mistreated, unappreciated, planning to never come back, and will share their negative experiences with everyone.

  3. Lose/Win

    The sale is made, and the customer is happy; however, in the process something went wrong and you and ultimately the business lost.

  4. Lose/Lose

    An impasse is reached, the customer leaves, goes to another business and makes a purchase. Everyone loses, but the customer has the ability to go elsewhere. In a mobile society like ours, the customer has the ability to go anywhere, and more than likely they will drive 20 or more miles to avoid being treated with disrespect, mislead, mistreated, or under-valued. Remember, it's not always about price.

Why is a Win/Win so important? In sales, like in all aspects of business, it's the team that is in the best position and executes their plan fully that typically wins. If a business has a good plan but doesn't execute it and doesn't get the Win/Win, then everybody loses.

In a Win/Win situation, the customer purchases, and whether it is a small item or a big-ticket item — anything from clothing to a car — the customer leaves happy.

And, after leaving the customer will show off their purchase to their family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. This in turn helps drives referrals. At the same time, the business delivers a product and pays the salesperson — earn and turn — and secures an opportunity to win an ongoing customer that will buy additional products and services that the business offers.

However, when a customer is more motivated to buy than a salesperson is to sell, the situation can become a big win for the customer and a big loss for the business.

In most cases, especially for a more expensive item, the customer has to want to buy more than the business wants to sell. The easiest way for a customer to win is to dig in on a particular point.

Never forget that customers have one advantage over your business: businesses can't pick up and move to the next corner; customers can get in their cars and drive to another business.

In any business, a Win/Win actually means that a salesperson helped the customer select exactly what's right for them: the right car, right color, right equipment, right look, right feel, and of course at the right price — everything the customer wanted.

This requires a different mindset for most sales people. It starts with the premise that a salesperson's job is to help customers select the right product or service; the one that fills their needs, wants and desires. It is not just about closing a sale.

Clearly, a Win/Win is the optimal outcome. While no one can win them all, everyone has the opportunity to improve their ratio.

Richard F. Libin, author of “Who Stopped the Sale?” (www.whostoppedthesale.com) is president of Automotive Profit Builders, with more than 42 years experience of fostering customer satisfaction and maximizing profits through personnel development and technology. He is at [email protected] and 508-626-9200.

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