Several years ago, Deb and I moved to a new house. Big house, little TV. It was time to move up to “BIG”. This is a concept my wife has trouble with to this day. I love big TVs and little cars! I got up on Saturday morning and was mentally ready to do “The Salesman Rumble”. I come from a long line of horse traders and bargain hunters, and I refuse to pay retail. I washed my truck, I went by the bank and picked up cash, and I put my deal-maker socks on. That’s right, I’m serious!
I pulled up in the parking lot at the mall and visualized the big (and I do mean BIG) screen TV I wanted. I had googled it, and I had the TV model numbers and specs. I was loaded for bear. I strolled into the store with confidence and prowess. I was a lean, mean, TV-buying machine. There it was… It was like the store knew I was coming, and I was reduced to a slobbering, adolescent, sell-me-anything mess. The salesman zeroed in on me. I was giving off sucker pheromones. He could smell easy sale all over me. I had done my market research, so I quickly recovered and slipped on my “I’m just looking” persona. There it was… I couldn’t believe it! The four-letter word of my dreams: SALE.
I put my hand on it, as to say, sold! Then it happened (the sales pitch). “This is our top of the line, biggest, best, most features, and it even reads your mind (ok, maybe he didn’t say that) TV ever produced.” All I saw was SALE! I was so mesmerized, I blurted out, “I’ll take it! I’m done, I’m toast, I want this thing in my house! I’m in love.” I already had my hand on the cash in my pocket! But, hold your ponies race fans—the sales guy wasn’t done, and he wasn’t listening. He walked around between me and the TV and said, “Sir, the manufacturer of these TVs pull every 1000th TV from the production line and inspect it. They unbox it and give it a thorough once-over. This is that TV. There is nothing wrong with it. It just doesn’t have a box. If anything, this just made it a better deal for me—no box to throw away and I know it works.
Let’s load this puppy up, cowboy! He continues, “But, I’ve got a new one in the back that’s in a box for the same price. Will you be taking it or do you want it delivered?” The money in my hand is a wadded up, wet, hot mess from me wanting to spend it. It’s burning a hole in my pocket. Let’s go! Let’s do the deal! But, again, the salesman pulls on my buying brakes and says, “We have an excellent extended-service contract that covers the set for five years. It is $199 (leans in close), but I’m going to throw it in today for free.” Sounds great, go get the dolly, pull down the tailgate, fire up the cash register, I am ready to go! He looks at me and says, “What can I do to get you to get you to buy this TV?” At this point I’m thinking he can’t hear me, or I’m really not there! I just grin and say, “Well, I was wanting a Blue-Ray with surround sound.” He leads me to the DVD players and picks up a Samsung Blue-Ray wireless player with speakers. With the money I’m saving, I figured it was a no-brainer, and again I said, “I’ll take it.” Finally, we go to the cash register. He rings up the TV, then he says $199 extended warranty, no charge, one Samsung Blue-Ray wireless speaker DVD, no charge.” Shut the front door! Am I hearing this right?
Now, let’s review class… I went in to buy a TV. I said, “I’ll take it!” He stopped me and gave me a $199 service plan. He then asked what I needed to make the sale. I was wanting a good deal on a DVD player, and–wait for it–he gave it to me!
As I closed the tailgate on my truck, I felt like I needed to leave as soon as I could. I was afraid the sales manager would come and slap the “are you crazy?”right off this guy’s face and take my TV back. But, no, it never happened. I even had it serviced a couple of times for free (because I could). Several months ago, I told Deb I needed a TV upgrade, and I thought I’d go back to the store where I bought our last TV and buy a new one. She just smiled and said, “You don’t get out enough. That store closed over two years ago.” Go figure!! So what have we learned today? I’d say when the buyer is done–stop selling. Here are a few tips on how to help close your next sale and keep the store open:
Selling is like running with a friend. Don’t get too far ahead!
It’s not a competition—it’s a dance. Make sure you listen and understand the rhythm of the sale.
Good salesmen understand the three-foot rule.
When someone enters your sales space, tell them what you do—one short sentence. Make it about them not about you.
Common sense is a vehicle to yes.
Start with the yes in mind, but use common sense as a narrowing tool.
When you narrow your focus, you begin to make the selection process simpler. Let the customer decide on his/her choices, not yours.
Tire kickers are time killers. Qualify, qualify, qualify.
Never attempt to sell anything to a non-decision maker.
Learn to use your seventh sense–your sense of sales direction. Listen for language. If they use the word “we,” you’d better look for the spouse.
Know the who to get to the cha-ching.
Try not to get too far along without knowing whom you’re meeting with, what their role is, what motivates them, and how to approach them. Do what you can to learn in advance what they’re doing and what they might be looking for.
Goldilocks Method: Don’t try too hard. Try to be just right.
This is probably the biggest mistake sales people make. Sure, you want to build a relationship; but if you try to get too personal too quick, you risk appearing too eager, invading their personal space, or turning the other person off. Instead, pay attention and react to their cues, tone, and body language. Read the tea leaves!
Don’t show off your IQ.
I’ve been guilty of this myself, but not intentionally. Oftentimes, in a transparent attempt to relate and maybe indicate that we know what others are talking about, we come off like Dr. Know-it-alls who love to fill the air with the sound of our own voice. The truth is that the customer doesn’t care one bit about what you know. He just wants to know if you’ve got a solution to his sales problem. We are there to help heal their pain.
Give a little, get a little, and repeat the process over and over.
For example, after providing a general outline of your product, you might ask them to tell you about their product or company so you can determine if there’s a fit.
Know your stuff, but know your stop.
Let the customer teach you and only pull your knowledge out to help them look smarter.
Dr. Henry has been helping Sales Professionals for over 23 years to become more effective and profitable. He has Sales Boot Camps and Sales Expert Academies at the beautiful four-diamond Whitestone Inn in East Tennessee. Ask Michelle for dates and move your sales staff to sales professionals.