Selling Without the Slime: Part 1: Back to Basics
In this part I'll give a pretty basic run-down on the very essentials of selling, and how they tie in with Selling Without the The Slime. I will elaborate more on each particular subject in coming parts.
It all starts with knowing your s^&@
Seriously. You can't sell what you don't know. I mean, I agree this is pretty basic but hear me out on why:
While most managers will harp constantly on prospecting and getting leads, it really is equally important to spend time studying your product and industry. You need to be a subject matter expert on every minute detail.
People will subconsciously judge you within 4 seconds of meeting you, and if you don't show them that you're an absolute expert in your field, they will simply want to deal with someone else. At the very least, you'll be set up for a tough battle to show them you're worth dealing with. You need to speak accurately and with confidence or they're instantly going to think you're either dumb, or lying.
Here's where this ties in with The Slime:
Inadvertently giving false or misleading information is just as bad as doing it for the purpose of deception. It has the exact same effect on the consumer in the end, and will affect your sales. In sales, even the smallest misstep can kill your customer's trust and kill your sale. One incorrect piece of information could be the difference between that customer leaving your place of business with 10 items or empty handed.
In my stores, I instruct my staff to spend the first hour of every day at minimum reading industry specific articles and doing company assigned training. I suggest you take on this practice yourself, even if you have to do it on your off-time.
Every Sale, Every Time.
As Jordan Belfort, "The Wolf of Wallstreet," once put it, every sale is the same. You're selling the same thing, every time, regardless of the product.
With any sale, you're actually selling 3 things. Yourself, your product and your company. If a customer doesn't like any single one of the three it could cost the entire deal. Selling yourself is where selling without The Slime really shines, because selling without The Slime IS selling yourself, and once you've sold yourself it becomes much easier to sell the product and your company.
When selling yourself, you need to take a step back and think of what makes people attractive, ignoring the physical aspects, I'm speaking in mental terms. You think of someone who is energetic and knows their stuff, right? You don't want to deal with people who seem like they don't want to be there, or that you're a bother to them, right? So you need to need be excited, act and be happy to help them.
Ask a LOT of Questions
It is an old addage in sales, "ABC," Always Be Closing.
While this is still true, I say its more important to "AAQ," or Always Ask Questions.
I'm not saying make your customer feel like they're at a police interrogation, but you need the "intelligence," so ask questions in a friendly manner, and often. You need to find out how, why and when they'll use your product.
Without knowing the customer's needs, personality, habits, etc., you can't properly position your wares to them, so it is absolutely vital to spend time conversing with them and asking questions. The whole name of the game is qualifying your potential customers for the things that you sell.
Only 13% of consumers believe a sales person can really understand their needs. You can only understand their needs if you ask quality questions and make yourself understand their needs.
Time to position our products...
So we asked a lot of questions, and we know all there is to know about Suzie B. Customer in regards to what she likes and how she uses products similar to ours. What now?
Now we take that information and line it up against our products. What features and benefits line up with her wants and needs? What extra features would make her life a little bit easier? What extra products can we bring to the table to take it even further?
Once we have figured all of that out, it's down to pitching. You need to explain to the customer how this product is right for them, using the information they gave you. It is imperative that you do this in a clear, easily understandable voice at a comfortable volume, using clear and concise language. Mumbling or rushing/talking too fast will easily turn your client off, and as I've mentioned before any indication of The Slime could cost your sale.
Afterwards we can put our product in their hands, and show them exactly how its the one that makes sense for them. More on that later.
The point here is to come up with whats right for our customer, not what will make us the most money. If similar products come up that all fit the customer's needs and preferences, then we can consider positioning the one that makes us more money out of that group. Our immediate goal though, is giving the customer what fits their needs.
Back to closing,
It is important to ask for the sale at multiple points throughout your customer's visit. This could be as simple as asking things like "How do you feel about going forward with that?" after giving a price quote.
Of course, the intent isn't to railroad them into the sale. You do need to be careful to not seem like you're trying to rush them or push them to it, timing and verbiage are important here. But at the end of the day, a large majority of sales are lost simply because the salesperson never asked for the sale.
See, once a customer is sold on your product they often won't exactly just tell you, you have to ask them for it - but once they're sold, they're sold. There is no point beating a dead horse, after-all. So why oversell? Segue to your next product (for an add-on sale) or ring them out.
In Part 2, I plan to discuss Pitching and Demos more in-depth.
Over the next few weeks I invite you to join me as I will be releasing new chapters and diving deeper into Selling Without The Slime.
If you have any questions or concerns you'd like addressed within this series, please do feel free to send me an email at DonaldColfax@gmail.com