Positive vs Problem Buyers - How To Increase Sales Success With Each

In my quest to constantly increase my sales success and closing rates I found a very interesting article. In the article it had a concept I had never thought of before....how selling to buyers that are positive, optimistic and focus on the opportunities is very different then selling to problem buyers that are pessimistic and focus more on the problems they want solved. I can't remember exactly what the article was called and I can't seem to find it when I do a Google search but I am pretty sure it was somewhere on www.RainToday.com. I thought it would be a good exercise to think more about this concept and write down how to identify which kind of buyer my prospects are and ways I will try to increase my success with each. Hopefully this article will be useful to you and that using this approach for your business will be able to increase your closing rate.


Why Knowing The Type Of Your Prospect (Positive Or Problem Buyer) Is Important

It is important to know if you buyer is a problem or positive buyer because each will respond better to what they want to hear. If you talk to a positive buyer about how you are going to solve his problems he will probably not get excited and motivated to buy. Instead that prospect will probably buy from someone who presents an opportunity that lines up with helping them achieve their goals. A positive buyer wants and needs to hear different things then what a problem buyer wants and needs to hear. I am not saying you won't be able to sell a product or service to a positive buyer if you talk to them about how you will solve a problem for them. What I am saying is that if you talk to a positive buyer about how you will solve a problem for them you will have a lower closing rate and lower revenue per sale then if you approached them in a way that gave them what they wanted to hear and get excited about.

Keep in mind that the name problem buyer does not mean you should not do business with them. Obviously stay away from customers that are going to be a nuisance and will be disruptive to your business. Problem buyers as defined below though can be very profitable and very good customers for your business if you know how to sell to them effectively. They may even be better than opportunity buyers because I have found that usually if you can make a problem buyer happy they are not only happy but ecstatic and will give you many more referrals then a positive buyer.


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The Different Between Positive & Problem Buyers

Positive Buyers

- optimistic

- they focus on potential solutions and opportunities

- they are usually in a more positive mood

- they get most excited when a new opportunity is embarked on

- talk more about their goals, then their pains and frustrations


Problem Buyers

- pessimistic

- focus on problems

- they are usually in a more negative mood

- they get most excited when a problem is solved

- talk more about their pain and frustrations then their goals


How To Determine If A Prospect Is A Positive Buyer Or A Problem Buyer

The Key Question To Ask - What is important to you about (insert your product or service here. ie printing services)

This question should very easily identify what kind of prospect you are dealing with if you have not determined it already. If your prospect responds with positive features and a positive tone or new opportunities this service would allow them to pursue they are most likely a positive buyer. If they respond with what problems they want the product or service to solve or explain the frustrations they currently have with the product or service they are currently using then you have a problem buyer on your hands. Keep in mind both are good and you can make good revenue from each of them.

Positive Buyers

To determine a positive buyer watch how they respond to you, interact with you, what they talk about more and what gets them the most excited. Look for characteristics and responses that would meet the profile of a positive buyer. Ask questions to see if they respond in a positive manner or a negative manner. Straight up ask them if they are more interested in having you solve a particular problem or move forward by working on new opportunity. Asking questions and listening won't hurt your sales interaction. Not listen is the most common mistake sales people make according to buyers.

Problem Buyers

The same is true for determining problem buyers. Ask lots of questions and see how they respond. Use the same process you use to determine a positive buyer but look for clues that they fit the profile of a problem buyer. Keep in mind you can also determine if a prospect is a problem buyer by ruling out that they are not a positive buyer. Each prospect needs to be either a problem or positive buyer. Often times problem buyers are dead giveaways as they can't stop talking about how bad the current situation, product or service provider is.

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Things To Try Differently With Positive vs Problem Buyers

Positive Buyers

- talk about the opportunities they have told you about and suggest new ones

- talk about unrelated new ideas and opportunities

- discuss their goals in detail

- explain how your service will help them accomplish their goals and lead to new opportunities

- get excited with them when talking about new opportunities

- frame all product or service benefits as how they will create a positive impact, do not focus on how they will stop negative problems


Problem Buyers

- talk about the pains and frustrations they have told you

- stick to discussing the problems, fears and frustrations they mention, do not discuss unrelated new ideas

- discuss their challenges and pressures in detail

- explain how your service will solve their current problem

- get excited with them when talking about solving problems

- frame all benefits as how they will stop negative problems, do not frame references as what positive things they will provide



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My name is . I work at Profitworks Small Business Services helping various small businesses in Waterloo and Kitchener Ontario generate new customers. Feel free to connect with me on or if you are just interested in insights for how to get more customers for your small businesses enter your email in the box provided below and click the "Send Me Free Updates" button.


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