You know how it goes: you walk into a store and before you have time to breathe the sales attendant is telling you about every sale in the store. Or maybe you got as far as saying you were looking for a gift for your partner, and the attendant went off on a 5-minute explanation of this season’s fashion wear. The attendant in both cases made one significant mistake.
When it comes to sales training, they all tell you to point out or create a need and then show how your product can fix it. This strategy comes closer, but still incorporates you making the same mistake as the sales attendant.
When you should be listening.
Making an effective sale means ensuring that the customer walks away with exactly what they want or need. And in order to fill that order, it is imperative that you thoroughly understand it.
Sometimes the customer knows what they need, but more often than not, they are unaware of their options, or unsure of which best fits their needs. In order to satisfy this undefined desire, therefore, your role is first to help them define it, and second to fulfill it. Asking appropriate questions is the key to taking the first step.
- When/where/how/why will you be using [insert desired product]?
- Can you tell me more about [insert person for whom the customer is shopping]?
- What made you realize you needed [insert desired product]?
The applicable questions are endless, but the must helpful include a few important elements.
- They are open-ended, leading the customer to divulge new information.
- They are creative, designed to draw out pertinent information that the customer had not previously considered, or did not know was relevant.
- They are solution-oriented, they allow you to see what need the customer has, whether they have recognized it or not.
When it comes to making a sale — whether you are selling belts or x-ray machines — the first step is listening. Listening allows you to ensure that the customer gets exactly what they came for, which in turn creates satisfied and repeat customers.
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