Do you have complicated or expensive items to sell? Layering can help you to make more sales.
Layering is the process of giving info in small chunks. Rather than overwhelm a prospect with the whole story and every detail, break it into bite size pieces. Offer just what they want to know right now. Later, they will come back with more questions.
Think of it like painting or varnishing. You get better results with lots of thin layers instead of one thick coat.
I sell liquor at my store. Encouraging customers to buy better quality and more expensive products is also a layering process. It may take several mentions, and more than a few times of explaining differences to move a customer up to the “top shelf.” That’s layering.
Layering is not just a process, it is also a mindset. If you think in terms of layering information, you will be more likely to give people time to think about what they’ve just learned. It also gives you perspective on people’s reactions. You will be less likely to be disappointed when you don’t get an instant committment. You know that you have added another layer, and that is valuable even without an immediate sale. Just don’t carry this so far that you never ask for the sale, or never try to close. Like most other skills, it requires a balance.
Another benefit of this mindset is a tolerance for repetition. When someone asks similar questions, or doesn’t remember something you told them earlier, think to yourself that this is all part of layering. Sometimes you have to go back and fill in gaps.
Layering helps to keep relationships alive. Robert Middleton, at The More Clients Blog, explores this as part of the relationship pipeline.
The sales pipeline (sometimes called the sales funnel) is the process of moving unknown prospects – those who might do business with you someday – into paying clients.
Relationship marketing is the means of making this happen. Prospects don’t travel through this pipeline without your focused efforts to cultivate, inform, and follow up until they are ready to do business with you.
In other words, keep layering information while you build a relationship. Middleton breaks seling relationships into stages, and also covers some specific ways to move people from one stage to the next in the The Relationship Pipeline.
When Layering Works Best
Layering works to simplify the complex items you sell. The more there is for the customer to understand, the more it makes sense to explain it in layers.
It applies just as well to complicated ideas you are “selling” to anyone. (Remember that a customer is anyone whose actions affects your results.) If you want buy-in on a complicated project, layer the information.
Selling expensive products is an art form all its own. Layering is a key concept to informing without overwhelming.
When you talk with a customer, remember to add a new layer to their understanding. If they walk off without closing the deal, remember that you have added another layer. You may need a few more layers to finish, but it’s all part of the process and the mindset.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.