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Windows of Opportunity

I finally did it: I upgraded my personal home system to a 42-inch flat screen HDTV with a Blu-ray DVD and added a new subwoofer. Like many homeowners, I had been keeping up with developments in all of the new gear. I diligently researched the products and visited key retail locations a few times a year. I checked out the new television and always found a handful of other guys moving from TV to TV, wanting so much to pull out my credit card and bring home the prize.

But, while visiting these stores for more than a year, the only decision I made was to wait. There were too many uncertainties for me. Should I get DLP, plasma, or LCD? Each technology was improving, while at the same time, the prices for each was dropping. Then there was news of SEC technology that was to blow the others away.

The release of HD-DVD nearly made me push the buy button, but Blu-ray instantly followed. I had seen format wars like this before and did not want to risk buying gear that could become obsolete in a heartbeat. So, like a silent hunter patiently stalking his prey, I waited for the perfect moment to pull the trigger. I kept the TVs in my sights for a long time before firing. If I pulled the trigger too soon, I knew I would be disappointed with the results and the chance would not come again for several years.

From the beginning of my search I wanted to purchase this system. I spoke with many salespeople along the way, but the quality of their pitches had very little to do with my purchase decision. From the day I began my purchase research until the moment I drove home with my prized possessions, I was in different stages of the buying window. Understanding this buying window is a powerful key to closing the sale. Today, a month after I had bought the system, the best salesperson in the world could not sell me another TV. My buying window is now closed, and it will probably be three years before I consider replacing my gear.

A good salesperson can maximize his sales by determining where the customer is in the buying window. A client would not contact you or walk into your store or office if their window was not at least partially open. That is like a fish nibbling on your bait while you watch the bobber bouncing: if you let the fish play with the bait just long enough, then give a tug at the right moment, you might be able to set the hook and reel him in.

A good salesman can tell when a fish is just watching and waiting, but not hungry enough. You should talk to your prospects to keep them in play. If they are in the buying window and you let them get away, they will visit several stores until they are satisfied and they will buy from someone. Here are some opportunities to reel them in:

If your prospect is building a new home, that is the ultimate buying window in our industry. Whenever I see a concrete foundation rising from the ground on a million-dollar new home, it is like a giant billboard saying, Here I am, ready for a whole-house AV installation! I need a salesperson to contact me right away. If you dont go after leads as hot as that, you are not a true salesperson.

When people remodel or move is another key buying window period.

Christmas and football season probably see the sale of more televisions than any other time.

New technology is a powerful force to reach buyers, and it opens buying windows all by itself. When a new PlayStation is released, anxious buyers will stand in line and pay premium prices to get one right away.

If prospective clients are hungry and eyeing your bait, reel them in. Do not expect them to return to your store again, or call you back; they will become distracted or busy with other things. The short time you have with them might never come again. Selling does not happen yesterday or tomorrow. It only happens now. You must act during that crucial moment. That is the power of now.