“I can’t sell”, I hear you say. Rubbish, everybody can sell. If you ever got a job, sold your car or sold yourself to another person (ie. got married or formed a relationship), you have demonstrated an ability to sell. We sell ideas to others all the time, we just don’t view it as selling.
The role of a sales person is to find out what the customer wants rather than whether the customer wants something at all. Once this is done, a sales person should then help the customer satisfy that need to the customers’ satisfaction. The principle skills a successful salesman needs are:
* Putting your customers in a receptive state of mind, making them feel at ease and unpressured.
* Showing interest in their requests or issues.
* Using opinions as selling points (both yours and theirs).
* Supplying facts and helpful data.
* Meeting objections in a positive way and never becoming defensive or aggressive.
* Agreeing with customers.
* Suggesting additional merchandise or services.(Value adding)
* Building repeat business.
It’s important that you learn to apply these skills, although if you use tact, friendliness, honesty and you know what you’re talking about, you’re 90% there. Not very hard when you consider it.
I know of quite a few small business people that would never consider themselves sales people but have remarkable success at selling their offers by just being themselves. Is this being a good sales person? Probably.
An old friend of mine, Claude owns a book store in one of Brisbane’s trendier suburbs. He spent many years of his life working for the military. It never ceases to amaze me, and his business partner, how this “untrained” person can sell products by just being himself. He is a natural salesman.
On the days he looks after the business instead of his partner, the numbers are always up compared to when he’s not there. If you were to ask him if he thought he was a good salesman he would probably say no, but the sales figures speak for themselves.
He does it by being a friendly, likeable person that loves a joke and a talk with his customers. Most of his clients would never go elsewhere because they like him. I’m sure even if he put his prices up, he would still attract the same clients because they have a relationship with him. They feel good about shopping at his store; he makes sure they do. Everybody can sell, simply use your own personality and be friendly and courteous. Treat customers the way you would like to be treated.
Top sales people make a point of remembering regular customers’ names, ensuring each time they come to the store they receive a small discount or offering other little extras like helping them to the car with their parcels. As I mentioned before with my friend, he fosters friendships with his regular customers. This fosters loyalty to the business by the customer, quite often regardless of price, because they get preferential treatment. You’ve probably had the feeling yourself when you constantly use a particular business and each time you walk in the people don’t just ask for the order.
Generally, sales people feel awkward about asking the customer for the order. These sales people will never be really successful in sales. A lot of sales are lost simply because the sales person doesn’t put the onus back on the customer to make a decision, they simply leave the decision up in the air which allows the potential customer to quietly drift out the door without having to commit themselves to a buying decision. How many times do you do this? I do it all the time and think to myself, “I’m glad nobody put me under pressure, I probably would have spent money”.
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