Think about some of your favorite stores. Beyond the merchandise they have – what do you love about going there? Odds are your favorite stores became your favorites because of the experience you had. So you go back time and time again.
Now – forget about your favorite stores for a minute. If I asked you to describe the ideal encounter with a salesperson, what would you envision? Is it the salesperson that follows you around on the floor, repeatedly asking you if you need help or interjecting their opinion on every item you look at?
Or would it be walking in the store and having someone introduce themselves and ask how they can help you? If you say “I’m just looking” which is universal code for leave me alone – do they? Are they around to answer any questions you might have but otherwise, let you explore?
Let’s translate that to when you call a business looking for information. Does the operator read from a script, barely letting you get a word in edgewise because he has two specials you need to know about? Or are you immediately connected to someone who can either answer your questions or get you to the right source for the answers you need?
The truth is – no one wants to be sold. When you hear the word salesman, what images pop into your mind? The stereotypical used car salesman with the “you can drive it off the lot today” sort of sales pressure? I don’t care who you are or what you’re in the market for, no one welcomes that sort of salesperson. Why do we react so badly?
A bad sales person is someone who:
- Wants you to buy today
- Talks to much about themselves and their product/service
- Doesn’t listen
- Makes us feel as they though they only care about the sale
When you look at that list, no wonder we run for cover. If your favorite store had that sort of sales force, I suspect it would no longer be your favorite store.
Now – go grab your brochure, pull up your website and eavesdrop on some of your sales calls. See any similarities? All too often marketing materials and messages bear an uncomfortable resemblance to that pushy sales guy. We’re so anxious to make sure the prospect knows how amazing our stuff is – we over sell and the reality is, no one wants to be sold. Ever.
What you love about your favorite stores and your favorite brands is that they’re helpful. Depending on your needs and the type of purchase, helpful come in the form of convenience or providing you a lot of information.
Helpful might be that you can try as many styles and sizes as you’d like and return the ones you don’t want for free (like Zappos) or it might be a robust website that really allows the consumer to educate themselves long before they speak to a salesperson like River Pools and Spas that has over 800 pages of content and offers it all for free.
You will sell more if you sell less.
Be helpful, be someone I can trust, be approachable without putting your hand in my pocket looking for my wallet and I will come to rely on you. When I am actually ready to buy – who do you think I’m going to by from?