Posted by Scott Williams on March 27, 2014 0 Comments

Are you a salesperson?

By Dion Wilson
Showroom specialist

I know, the question sounds silly. I mean if you sell products you then must be a salesperson right? No, unfortunately it is just not that easy. See it is my humble opinion that our industry is full of too many order takers rather than good or even great sales people. There just are not enough people that are deeply invested in what they do.

Now, before you go hunting me down on Facebook, writing me a nasty email or tweet, hear me out.

First, what is the difference between a salesperson and an order taker? An order taker sits around and waits for someone to BUY something. The order taker waits for the incoming call. Waits for the web lead from the prospect that has a check-in-hand. The order taker waits for the buyer to say, “I’ll take it!”

A salesperson works to build sale prospects. They don’t just wait for someone to order something. When they do have a customer they help the prospect by uncovering problems and exposing needs and desires. They then diagnose those problems, offer solutions and then solve those problems.

When I first started doing this job so many years ago I hated being referred to as a salesperson. When I thought of a salesperson I always had this vision of the stereotypical used car salesperson. You know, some guy wearing a bad polyester suit with slicked back hair. I told myself I was not a salesperson; I was just good with people. It took years for me to come to terms with the fact that I truly was a salesperson, and a very good one.

So how do you go from order taker to salesperson or from average salesperson to a great salesperson?  Can anyone be a great salesperson?  Well, there are seminars, books, videos and all sorts of trainings saying that anyone who does the work can be a good or even great salesperson. It is true that anyone can be taught sales techniques and practices. You should all know the open, the close, yadda yadda and so on. I think with practice you can learn so much to improve your craft. I also believe some people are just naturally gifted great salespeople. The first step to improvement is always self-awareness. Are you an order taker or a good salesperson that could be great? If you’re a great sales person just stop reading now. Well, unless you’re curious!

Here are some of the qualities I find make a great salesperson.

Know your products

This one is the most important. You must know your product better than your competition, even if that competition is the salesperson next to you. Then once you know your product make sure you know other products in the industry even if you do not carry them. This way if someone comes in looking for a brand you don't carry you may be able to offer them an alternative.

Be a good listener

You might think this one is easy, but it is not. Some sales people stop listening when they think they know what their customers’ needs are, and in turn do not hear what the customer really wants or needs. Being a good listener can elevate you from being a good salesperson to a great sales person. You can even learn to hear what your customers are not saying.

Be Confident

A salesperson with confidence has a certain advantage over those who lack confidence.  They have an extraordinary advantage: the ability to draw, pull and attract their clients as if they were magnetic. They exude a certain charm or charisma. So believe in yourself and make sure you are confident in what you know.

Be Honest

Be honest with your customers even if the news is bad like the manufacture just backordered their item another 90 days. Never embellish products. I am not a fan of salespeople using the blanket statement that fixture and faucets at big box stores are made differently than those wholesale have. I personally will go as far as if I know that my customer’s needs are better suited with a product I do not carry I will suggest it to them. If I don’t have anything close to what I think they need I will even tell them where to find it. Blaspheme I know, but people remember things like that. You may not get the sale that day but next time I promise they will come back to you because they trust you have their best interest. Furthermore, never ever forget that customers can smell BS and insincerity from a mile away.  

Be a Chameleon

I don’t recall it being in any training I have ever taken but I find this skill to be very important. You need to be able to mimic your customers. No, I don’t mean repeat what they say after they have said it. That is parroting, my 9 year old does that to annoy her dad and it does not apply here. People tend to like people who are most like themselves. They generally look to other people similar to themselves when making decisions. This is particularly noticeable in situations of uncertainty such as making selections. You need to become like your customer. If your customer is analytical and detail oriented, then you should be analytical and about details. If they have a sense of humor joke with them and so on.

Be a Social Butterfly

Admit it, you like the title of this one. People tend to like people that make them laugh. They also tend to like those who pay them compliments. Find out what your customers interest are and build upon that. Talk about their family, tell them about yours and build a strong rapport with your customers. It is as easy as finding out what they like to watch on television. You like Property Brothers? My wife and I love that show too, we never miss an episode! Then when your customers are leaving, ask them what their plans are for the rest of the day. The last customer I asked that of said he was going home to take a nap, I replied that I was so very jealous. He got a good laugh out of it and the next day they called to confirm their substantial order. 

None of this is an exact science. There are so many variables when dealing with people and some days are better than others. I do promise these techniques will help.  You just have to give it your best effort and remember to have fun.

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