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The categorisation technique for sales

Learn how to properly use the categorisation technique to drastically increase your sales
Doug Tucker

/ Last updated on 15th October 2017

In my last article, I looked at three basic ways to handle objections. To recap, these were the brush off which is simply brushing aside the objection, cuffing which is dealing with the objection at a later stage and full battle which is killing the objection stone dead.

Related: How to nurture your leads into sales

But objections can be cantankerous creatures, and while the above three methods will handle most day to day objections, you will at some point meet one that refuses to roll over and die. This is where the psychology of categorisation comes in.

Small steps

Categorisation is a technique that enables choices to be made more easily by setting out small steps that will lead your customer towards making the decisions you desire. To do this, you first need to place prospects who have concerns, questions or objections into one of two broad categories.

  1. Those who are not sufficiently motivated to take action or make the next step.
  2. Those who don’t fully understand what you are proposing.

Now you can see clearly what you need to do to encourage your prospect to make the right decision.

For example, if they fall into category one you can set out a number of steps to help drive desire. If they’re in category two then you can set out a series of choices around a particular benefit or feature of your product or service.

Keep it simple

Above all the art of categorisation selling is to steer your customer towards more general choices before drilling down into detail, so when you formulate your series of steps keep it simple.

Always be aware that even the best of us can be drawn to a micro view and end up getting stuck, locked out or objected against because we have unwittingly been drawn into concentrating on minor differentials when we should be taking a more general view.

The power of choice

Done well categorisation is an extremely powerful tool to handle all but the most stubborn of objections. It’s a technique that’s based on retail psychology and relies on our ability to perceive differences between options and make choices.

These choices will result from the easy to understand options you’ll put in front of your customers to form a path along which you can guide them to make the right decision. However…

Beware of the pitfall

There is a potential pitfall to categorisation selling that you need to be aware of, and that is, if it’s not done correctly your customer may feel that you’ve been spoon-feeding them a little too much. In this instance it will be worth rebooting the situation, looking your customer in the eye and saying something like:

You: “Do you mind if I just break this down into what may seem obvious choices for you so that we can both see we’re on the same page here.” Then slowly lay out the path of obvious, simple, general choices that for some reason your customer hasn’t followed to reach the destination and result you desire.

Further reading

There have been many interesting studies carried out and books published regarding the huge subject of retail psychology. In my book “Sales Commando – Unleash Your Potential” I’ve gone into greater detail. Two other books I’d recommend are: “The Art of Choosing” by Sheena Iyengar and “The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less” by Barry Schwartz.

Reading these books and various other papers on categorisation will give you a greater understanding of this important selling and objection handling technique, enhance your skills and bring you closer to becoming the elite sales person you aim to be.

Related: Group sales presentation techniques – stand up and be counted

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