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How to be an Effective Salesperson

Updated on February 3, 2020
alstocker profile image

Amy is a career educator teaching all ages ranging from children to adults. In her past life she was saleswoman. She has an MA in Eng.

Do you like shopping? How many times have needed assistance buying something and the service was lacking or unknowledgeable? It was likely an unsatisfactory shopping experience. Now, if you're a salesperson, put yourself in your customers' shoes.

Often times when people shop they need direction. It is the same for financial decisions, like where to put their money for savings and retirement, because let's face it, they are intertwined. The decisions people make when shopping for their jeans or their cars, or even their diapers, impact their monetary situation and not everyone is financially savvy; so they need help and this is where a good and effective salesperson comes in.

It's important when you're a salesperson that you know your customers' needs.

It is more important when you are a salesperson to know what your customers needs are than for you to make the sale and possibly commission (if you are receiving it). What I mean by this is, you can be hungry to make a sale, just don't make sales for the sake of sales, that will not bring return customers and return customers is what will bring you success (in the long run). Satisfaction [the customer's] is the name of the game. I have worked in retail for more than 16 years and over that time nothing has made my day more than when a customer is thoroughly satisfied and comes back to tell me personally.

Here are some key points to remember to being an effective salesperson.

1) Know your stuff; this means having extensive product knowledge. Do not try to sell something to a customer because of the sticker price, make sure it fits their needs. If a customer seems set on an item you are not familiar with get help from something (a resource book) or someone who is familiar with it. Have respect for your customer and their time.

2) Determine your customer's needs. You can accomplish this by asking probing open-ended questions. Ex. What are they looking for? What color? What size? Do they have the dimensions or sizes with them? Do they have a brand preference? Why? Here's where you insert your product knowledge by giving them the benefits of different brands so they can make an educated decision.

3) Know the customer's budget and stick with it.

4) Ask yourself if you would buy the item you are trying to sell. If the answer is no, ask yourself why? When I worked in an outdoor adventure store, I would sell customers Columbia winter jackets because it's what they wanted and needed. I wouldn't have bought one because I prefer higher end jackets, but this reason is not a reason for me to not sell a lower end brand. Now if I wouldn't buy one because it was of poor quality then that would be a reason to try to deter the customer from buying it. This rule applies across the board with all products for sale. This leads me to the next key point:

5) Be honest, have respect for your customer, their time and their intelligence.

6) Be clear in your communication and have patience; you do not know what kind of day or week your customer is having or how long they have been looking for this specific item. Look them in the face when you speak to them and speak to them on their level so they understand. You may be excited to share your extensive product knowledge on camping, golfing, pastries, etc, but your customer may be left feeling cold if they don't understand what you are talking about. Speak plainly and ask questions to test their understanding (be careful to also not talk down to them either); that way when they leave with their purchase they will feel they have made the right purchase and will not only not return it, but will come back to you again.

Being an effective salesperson eventually comes naturally once you have been trained properly and are able to connect with customers. Ultimately, if you love what you are doing or least like/believe in the product[s] you are selling it will show in your body language. Get excited and be friendly and courteous and the rapport you seek with your customers will grow.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 alstocker


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