Early on in my career I became very acquainted with a man who sold consumable items to the automotive industry – car dealerships, fleet garages, and the like. He was a very likable person in his 50’s, balding, and smoked a pipe. One of the things I learned from him was, “Make your pitch and stop talking! The first one who speaks loses.”
He would make his presentation and offer a sales close and then just stop talking. He would pull out his pipe and pipe nail and fiddle with it. The silence could be deafening, but he would not make a sound. Finally, the customer would either say yes, or ask another question. He would answer the question, then ask the closing question again. He did the same process over and over, until he got a yes.
Most people think the art of selling is talking and talking way too much. Generally, I find a really good sales person talks very little, but when they do speak, they have the customer’s full attention. Telling the customer how great the product is, and giving all its features is not selling. It is wasting the customer’s valuable time.
The art of selling is asking the right questions of the customer and listening to the answer. Once you know what is important to them, you know what you need to tell them about the product. Let’s say you are selling a water treatment system and you know this home does not have one. You need to find out what is important first.
Do you like the smell of your water? If the answer is no, then offering the benefits of what a carbon filter can do could be very instrumental to the sale. You can also point out that this filter will also eliminate chlorine and the health benefits that can provide.
Do you find that your laundry, especially the whites, are looking grey and dingy? If they say they take all of their laundry to the cleaners up the street, don’t mention that benefit again. It means nothing to them.
Do your drinking glasses and your glass shower enclosure have water spots that are hard to remove? If the answer is yes, you can offer how a softener will eliminate all those hard water deposits. Plus, you will need less soap and cleaners as the softened water will actually clean better.
As you are communicating with your customers (notice, I did not say talking with your customers. You have to ask questions and listen for the answers to communicate) be genuine with your complements, and comments. People will spot a fake very quickly. With a little practice, you will find the customer will tell you everything you need to know about their wants and needs. With some good listening, all you will have to do is offer them solutions based on their requirements.
There are some great sales people out here who can offer all kinds of help to create a professional salesman. Most residential plumbing technicians and plumbers will not listen to them because they don’t want to be called salesmen. I generally tell them to listen to the customer’s needs and offer the customer options around those needs. Just don’t talk too much. It is not necessary. Ask questions and listen. Show them what they want to see. Just ask for the job and stop talking. The first one who speaks loses.
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