Do These Two Things for Sales Success

I only had one job where I ever worked in retail sales during the Christmas shopping season. I was 16 years old and I got a job in the camera (and jewelery) department of a small discount department store in my hometown of East Liverpool, Ohio. The store is gone now as are half of the residents.

I was hired because I also worked as a photographer for the local paper and whoever else would hire me to do photography at that young age. The department store didn't give me any sales training or any other training for that matter other than how to punch a time clock for the first time in my life.

But, I had visited a store or two in my 16 years and I knew how to say, "Can I help you?" Or, something along those lines. After about a day of hearing, "No, I'm just looking." I decided to try a different approach. I dropped the "can I help question" and went with, "Hello, how are you today?" It worked like a charm.

After a couple of more days of selling, I realized that most people who stopped in the camera department wanted to buy a camera.

Hey, I'm a quick learner!

What I also realized is they didn't know much of anything about cameras and they were afraid of buying the wrong model. And, so I learned to ask questions. Things like:

  • Who is going to use the camera?
  • What kind of photos do they like to take?
  • How often do they take photos?
  • What kind of experience do they have?
  • What do they do with their photos once they are developed?

And, there were more questions. Once, I had enough information I could now show them a model that exactly met their needs. I took away the fear of buying and I also took the time to teach them something.

Price was never mentioned until after they had already bought. And, most of the time it was never an objection.

You use this same approach to sell anything. People buy from people they like and trust. By listening and asking questions you'll establish trust and you'll be perceived as the expert. We all know someone we like and trust and is our go-to person when we want to buy their particular product or service.

For example, if I want to buy landscaping services, I call Stephen at Happy Tree. To me there is nobody that can compete with him because he has earned my trust in past experiences.

If I need help with financial services, I call Claire at PNC in Chalfont. I call her not because of anything that PNC provides me that I can't live without but because Claire make the experience of dealing with PNC extraordinary. Few people can say that about their bank these days.

So, it's really simple. You don't need lots of experience and expensive sales training to be successful in sales. Start by doing two things:

  1. Focus on your customer – nothing else.
  2. Listen First – Sell Later.

2 thoughts on “Do These Two Things for Sales Success”

  1. Bob,
    This reminds me of my first great experience as a customer. I was a green second lieutenant just out of the Air Force Academy. My working class background failed to prepare me to buy a sports suit. The older gentleman at this men’s store in San Antonio ask what I was looking for. From there on, he guided me with questions. Thirty-nine years later, I fondly remember buying a sports coat, two pair of trousers, two shirts, and two neckties that day. Yes, I strongly agree with your point here. That’s why my blog is called Help Customers Buy.
    John

  2. John – I had a salesman in a men’s store in Pittsburgh introduce me to buying and dressing the same way when I was about 23. He was fantastic and I went to him until the store sadly closed.

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People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Since we can’t pick or choose the “type” of person we are most likely to trust and like right away, we need to learn how to effectively with everyone’s personality style.” Learn how in this report and start increasing your sales right away!

Selling To The Four Personality Types

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