Little Known Secrets to Boosting Sales: Forget the Hard Sell

| March 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

I recently went to a car dealership to look into getting a new copy of a car key made. It was one of the keys with a security chip inside. The price they gave was unbelievable, so I went to Lowes instead to get a basic valet key made. In the hardware section, I met Maurice, an employee with enthusiasm and professionalism. What impressed me most was that he looked at my key and asked me if I had the master key with the chip. He said he would be happy to duplicated the chip and get me the copy I was looking for in the first place. He was even able to quote me a price and mentioned that it would be cheaper than what any dealer would charge me. I was so impressed with Maurice and his salesmanship, I will be going back to Lowes whenever I need a new key made.

So what was it that Maurice did right?

Enthusiasm: Nothing is worse than going into a business and being treated like an inconvenience. Enthusiasm is infectious. A salesperson who is motivated to get the job done right can close one sale and be ready for the next one. That doesn’t mean rushing the sale, but it does mean listening to the customer, identifying the need, and delivering on that need. Marketing superstar Eben Pagan stresses to business owners to always be aware that a customer is thinking “What can you do for me?” So “I can do that for you” are magic words to a busy person with a problem. Notice how different this is from the typical hard sell that usually includes being forced into a long conversation while the salesperson drones on about what services they offer, how they go about their business, and ask unending questions. Like a tagline, keep it short and simple…at the beginning.

Knowledge: Maurice knew his craft. We have moved beyond thinking of our daily work as professional craftsmanship. You and your employees should know the ins and outs of all forms of your industry. For example, Maurice knew what the dealer would charge–or at least assumed a dealer would charge more for the same product. He also knew what options were available for someone in my position: a cheap copy or a slightly more expensive copy with a chip. Last, he knew what it would cost me and told me one price off the top of his head. He gave me what I needed and made the sale on the spot.

Up-sell, not hard sell: In retail there are products called “loss-leaders.” These are products that get customers in the door (things everyone needs) that are priced below what is profitable. The idea is that when someone is ready to make a purchase for the loss-leader, they are open to the idea of buying something else that they didn’t know they wanted or needed. Those additional purchases are where you make your profits based on higher prices. Train your employees to up-sell once the customer is already making a purchase. Jeff Mowatt, a guru in customer service, explains “The hard part of the sales conversation has already been done. You’ve already established rapport, identified needs, summarized, presented benefits, asked for the order and handled objections. Up-selling is just presenting the information in a ‘by-the-way’ assumptive manner.” Do you want fries with that? Why, yes I do. Do you want a key with the chip in it? That’s what I wanted in the first place! Yes.

Teach your staff to offer great customer service with enthusiasm. Train them to ask targeted questions that demonstrate their knowledge and reveal additional needs your company can provide. Then offer solutions to those needs and you have made the up-sale.


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