There’s an old saying that nobody likes to be sold, but everyone loves to buy. And all you need to think about to know that’s true is to remember the last time you bought something.
Sadly, over the years, people who didn’t understand that selling is helping people buy and not pushing things on them they don’t want to buy have caused damage to the profession in terms of telling people you’re in sales, and how people react when they know they’re talking to a salesperson.
The great news is you get the chance to change that every time you approach a customer in a store. You’re there to help them solve problems and make their life better – and 99% of the time they are not in the store unless they are specifically looking to solve problems and make their life better. What could be a better way to make a living?
But there’s a twist.
People Lack Clarity
After you’ve spent many years in sales you’ll most certainly come to a conclusion that we are going to share with you now: Most people want something BUT they don’t have clarity on what they want.
And regarding that point, they usually lack clarity on what problem they want to solve (whether that is something task oriented, or if their problem is they just want to treat themselves). Even if they do manage to gain clarity on what their need is, they usually have no clarity on possible solutions – and which specific solutions will best meet their need(s).
Worse still, even if they are clear on what they want and clear on the solution, they are often not clear that obtaining the perfect solution – which they admit will completely meet their needs will make them happy.
Unskilled Sales People Fail Because They Believe They Should Persuade Customers to Accept Something They Don't Want -- Rather Than Persuade Them To Figure Out What They Do Want.
And here is where all the problems start. Take somebody who sells cars. She is under a great deal of pressure to make sales, and she encounters the average customer (described above), who has no clue about what car is best for that customer. If our seller is not skilled, our seller will quickly reach a point where she tries to short-circuit the buyer’s mind to force the buyer into a series of small decisions with words like (“that doesn’t matter”, “most people demand that feature, but never use it”, ”You’re never going to get everything you want in one car”, “etc.”).
By the way, never do that – in any way, shape or form with your retail customers (or any customer for that matter.)
But You Have Skills! You Do it Right!
Instead, build your skills. Develop rapport with your customers by showing empathy. How? Because we are no different! We often go shopping with less than perfect clarity about what we want. On that note…
If you put yourself in your customers’ shoes, wouldn’t you love it if there were a friendly, knowledgeable person, who – in a non-threatening way, helped you gain clarity on exactly what you’re trying to do, the best way to accomplish it, and that doing that is the best thing for you at this moment?
Of course you would.
So why don’t more salespeople do that?
Because it’s hard work. It takes longer, and there is a real chance that when you do this it might lead to the fact that they don’t want or need what you’re trying to sell. And that’s scary.
But if you want to build a long term business, you understand that forcing something down somebody’s throat today is going to leave a bad taste in their mouth – and they are not likely to be back.
Not to mention that it’s a horrible experience for everyone.
And Customer Experience is Everything Going Forward in Brick and Mortar! DO NOT Drive People On-Line and Out of Your Stores. Draw Them In With a Great Experience!
How much nicer is it for everyone if instead, you use the skills here to gently persuade people to get clear on what they want, and to make a logical decision that what they know understand with clarity will deliver everything they expect? How much nicer if you use the skills you learn here to gently help people get happy about that logical decision – so happy that they develop a strong emotional desire, and attachment to your products (their solution)?
Now, all of a sudden, they are doing something they love! (Buying!) Not something they hate! (Being Sold!)
And you’re not selling them, you’re helping them. (And by the way, you’re doing a great thing for your economy, you store, the product manufacturer, everyone in the supply chain connected to that purchase, yourself, and your family!)
Oh, and, as a bonus – because they had such a great experience, they will come back to ask for your help in the future!
Understand above all else, that person who walks through the door is a person for whom you can make life better – while helping a lot of other people in the process – and you should be proud to call yourself a sales person!