5 Quick Tips from a Salesman.
Salesmanship can be an Art.
“Salesman.” I hate that word. It reminds me of a used-car lot and sketchy people in the industry for a quick buck. It reminds me of people who want to “haggle.” Bleh.
I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who feel the same, and when they walk into a store, think they are being hustled by a salesperson somehow.
And there is certainly a fair-share of charlatans out there. Though, there are a number of companies shifting away from a commission-based model, so that may help mitigate the damage of charlatans.
Anyway, on to the article, and a little about me for context.
I work in the furniture industry. Currently, I work at a mid-high tier furniture store. I am only there for two days a week, as I am in school for the other five, studying philosophy.
And yet, despite being there only two days as opposed to five, my sales have been consistent. Actually, I am closing more sales now than I ever have. There may be a few factors contributing to this, but in this article I will focus on the things that all sales-people can do.
5 Quick Tips
- Be honest from the first moment you interact.
There is a reason this is number one. You have to be honest when you’re meeting people. It’s not just a general “honesty”, it’s honesty in the form of actually caring about your client.
When I’m working with a client, and they ask a question that I don’t know, I literally say, “I don’t know, let me figure that out for you.” It is unbelievable how many people don’t know how to say “I don’t know!” Just say it! You can’t be expected to know every answer that comes your way. And if a client really expects that of you, they aren’t going to be a great client at all.
Another time to be honest is if a client is just looking at the wrong item or service for them. In my case they may really, really love a sofa, but it might be 13 feet and too big for their ranch home to handle. You have to be honest. As nice as it would be to close that deal, you need to be honest and tell them that it’s just too damn big for the space. If they don’t listen, that’s on them. People will be impressed with your honesty, and place much more faith in your judgment.
2. Know your product and services.
Another basic tenant of sales. You need to truly understand your product. You need to know what things are constructed of. You need to know the process your products go through in order to be made, you need to know country of origin.
This tip plays out when you’re dealing with a very picky customer. The more seamless a meeting goes with a client, the more likely they are to buy. Knowing your products gives you an edge- confidence wise, but also an edge when it comes to conversation.
Imagine a conversation where the knowledge just flows. You don’t have to interrupt yourself every time this client asks a question with, “let me get back to you on that.” When you are doing that, you are signaling to the client that you don’t know your products, and their faith in you is totally undermined. It’s difficult to come back from that perception.
3. Make sure they’re leaving with some sort of deliverable.
Now obviously, this varies from industry-to-industry. In my industry, it’s a business card, it’s dimensions of what you’re looking for, it’s care instructions, it’s a physical fabric swatch or it’s a mock-up design/mood board.
All of these are deliverables and help you establish a connection with your client. Even if I am just sending an e-mail recap of what we worked on, I am making sure they leave with something physical in their hands.
The best deliverable is always a quote.
4. Learn to turn negatives into positives.
This is basically that line in every job posting you see that says “Skill in Overcoming Objections.”
Right now there are delays on products from couches to cars. Massive, massive delays. Right now, it could take someone up to 38 weeks to get their custom sofa made.
There’s a few ways I have been approaching this with success. First, you explain the circumstance. Second, reassure that you won’t just take their money and run. That’s been a concern lately, and I’m not sure why. Finally, you want to turn a negative reality into a positive spin.
The way you do this is to take advantage of existing structures. For example, when you buy something that isn’t in stock, you only pay a 50% deposit. In the case of an expensive ass couch, paying 2500 compared to 5000 is a pretty good deal. The way to turn this negative(not in stock) into a positive is by informing the client they only need to pay half now and the other half in 6–8 months.
It’s really just a way to help justify to the client that they made the right decision spending 5000 dollars on a sofa they won’t see for months.
5. Be confident.
Yes, I am aware of how cheesy this last one sounds.
But seriously, it is very important for you to be confident. Just the other day I had some clients come in looking for “deals.” We don’t do “deals”. However, there was a piece of furniture on our showroom that was a clearance piece, so that means this client would be able to take that model home.
Now, I wasn’t dealing with them, but a colleague of mine was. She is not very confident, despite months of training. She’s not really cut out for sales, but we help the best we can. Point is, my colleague was NOT confident. She was being pushed around by these clients looking for deals, and she ended up selling something for less than she should have. There are more arguments for confidence than just this, though.
Confidence in yourself is important because it instills confidence in the client that you actually know what you are talking about. In other words, what goes along with confidence is knowledge. This knowledge can come in many forms, whether it be product knowledge (which is basic) or specific knowledge (think an architect). Ideally you want to have both basic knowledge and specific knowledge.
Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at this other one I’ve written.
Learn these Foundational Skills and be Set For Life
What are foundational skills, and according to whom?