How iPhones taught me the skill to sell
Fun fact: Once upon a time (back in 2012) I was ranked the national number one shop advisor with the highest turnover rate. Before I graduated and started working in construction, I worked in one of the Dutch T-Mobile retail shops for over five years. T-Mobile is the mobile branch of German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom. Working there meant selling as much phones and mobile plans as possible, as I had monthly targets to achieve. On top of that, the sales team made commission for every sell we made. Believe me when I say that as a student paying for my own tuition, this was a major incentive to learn how to sell. And because sharing is caring, today I share my top tips and experiences on face-to-face selling.
Before we get started, why is selling such an important skill? Ever felt like a salesperson was incompetent or blatantly lying? I guess we’ve all been there. How could such a person sell a product or service to and generate income for a company? Exactly, that’s why it is so important to learn to be authentic, honest and strategic when it comes to selling!
Make use of USP’s
First, it’s important to understand what the added value of the product or service you’re trying to sell is. Knowing the characteristics of what you would like to sell is the base on which you can build your sales pitch. With USP’s we take it one step further. USP stands for unique selling point or unique selling proposition. To be able to identify this, you would have to know what competitors offer and how your product is competing against these. This means expanding your knowledge of that market and the position of your product you need to sell. Know how to convey what’s in it for the prospective buyer when choosing your product or service.
Don’t make assumptions
This one sounds like stating the obvious, but there’s a bit more to it. We all know we are not supposed to make assumptions based on people’s looks or possessions. However, we are all wired to make decisions based on first impressions after only 50 milliseconds!
I am sure I have missed out on great sales opportunities because I just assumed someone with for example not the best personal hygiene would not be interested in taking on or even worse wouldn’t be able to afford an expensive monthly plan. I just assumed personal hygiene is correlated to buying power for no reason. Sounds really superficial, right? The goal here is to sell and let people decide whether they would like to buy, not to make that decision for them. That’s why consciously reminding yourself to not make assumptions is not a luxury.
Play on emotions
Emotional expression is an element that adds to an authentic perception. This is also where emotional intelligence needs to be applied. Playing on emotions entails two major components. The first one is to make it a nice experience for your prospective buyer. People are more inclined to buy (more) when they’re in a good mood and they are comfortable with you. It gives you the space to make jokes, use your charm and even be a little cheeky. The second component is knowing where to draw the line and to not cross it. Yes, you can still make a sell after one or two rejections. But at the third time hearing a “no”? That’s where you need to feel the vibe that this sale is not going forward. Of course, needless to say to focus on the first component rather than the second.
Want to know a cheap trick playing with people’s emotions? Create scarcity.
Prospective buyer: “Hmm, I am not sure yet.”
Sleezy me: “Let me check out my stock, before you even make a decision. Imagine I wouldn’t even have the device you wish. We would be talking about nothing here.”
By the time I have checked out the inventory in the back, the prospective buyer already made the decision he wants it before someone else snaps it. Really sneaky, I know, I never said I was proud of it. But hey, at least I am owning up to it now.
Be aware of your body language
Face-to-face selling gives one the opportunity to make use of personal interactions. In those personal interactions, it’s wise to be aware of body language as it is one of the elements that contribute to being authentic.
Basic body language skill is sufficient here:
- Greet everyone with a sincere smile.
- Keep an open and welcoming attitude by not crossing your arms.
- Give people the sense you’re on their team and looking for the best match for their needs by standing or sitting on the same side of the table or counter as them.
- Whenever you use a computer to make the sale, create a transparent environment by letting people look on your screen to see what you’re doing.
Dare to close the deal
There you are having a nice conversation about this product or service you’re trying to sell. The prospective buyer seems interested, but the conversation doesn’t seem to go anywhere. That basically means it’s more than time to close the deal! Closing the deal can be quite awkward at first and it absolutely doesn’t mean you have to ask: “Well do you want it?” But a nudge in the right direction would be helpful. Try asking: “Shall we arrange this for you?” or “Would you like me to set everything in motion for you?”.
In conclusion, it’s good to realize that face-to-face selling is a skill that one has to develop over time. It takes practice to get to know your own style of selling and get better. What are your tips and tricks when it comes to selling? Please share your experiences in the comments below.