Many sales people believe selling is based on relationships. But when I ask them to define what they mean most will say the clients just love them and they have a great relationship. But for me being liked is almost insignificant in sales. Don’t get me wrong, we need to be liked, but relationships should go far beyond that! In sales, what relationships ships should be is how you can sell product. To do that, you need to HELP the client. And to do that you need to engage people…and here’s a great example.
The other day, I went to Best Buy (yes that huge, overwhelming electronics store). I needed a DVD player right now! Now, mind you, I always do my research in advance of my entering any store. Why? Because there have been far too many times I have been sadly disappointed with “sales people” welcoming me to the store only to say “everything is out” when I ask a question. Or reading the package (like I CAN”T do that!) when asked a question. Bottom line, NO HELP AT ALL.
“Hi, my name is “Jack”, and you are?” as he put his hand out to shake it. Wow, was I ever taken by surprise that he did not have the old pat “may I help you?” What a great and novel “icebreaker”. AND if I have to buy another product from Best Buy, I got his card and will ask for him!
“Jack” had about 10 seconds to “win me over” and he did by breaking the ice with a simple introduction instead of asking if he can help me. How many clients respond “no” when asked “may I help you?”
If we take the Jerry McGuire approach, we will ask our clients to help us help them. I can tell you the way NOT to help is to ask that dreaded question. It’s pat, many times perceived as disingenuous and a closed ended question. What can you say after a “no”?
If a client comes into a showroom, try an introduction or a complement (sincere!) or just plain small talk. Break the ice with sincerity instead of pat question that may seem disingenuous. Let’s invite the clients in, let them feel more comfortable before diving into selling. It’s like inviting someone into your home. You allow them to get comfortable, don’t you?
Same if you are doing outside sales. Do not leap into a presentation of product they may just not use!
Let’s all learn from “Jack’s” approach. We can all use better and different icebreakers. Let’s try to wipe out the phrase “may I help you?” when we know the answer will probably be “no” unless there is an immediate need. Let’s try to get one step closer to getting that client to know, like and trust us. Let’s ENGAGE the client. Then we are working on a relationship filled with sales instead just being liked. Although it feels good, just being liked does not pay the bills!