Be a better salesperson
In order to improve your sales ability, you must understand that selling is made up of many parts. In other words, an effective overall picture – strong sales – will not be realized if salespeople don’t use strategy, planning, common sense and an attitude that says “This product is terrific.” Good salespeople also rely on sound judgment, diplomacy, creativity and flexibility when involved with potential and existing customers. To increase your selling ability, use the tips below as guidelines to becoming a better salesperson.
- Know your stuff. As a customer, how would you feel if you entered a department store to buy an appliance, needed assistance, and then had to wait as the salesperson had to hunt for another clerk because he or she knew nothing about the appliance except how to turn it on; or the salesperson, who was new on the job, had trouble ringing in the sale on the register and had to call for assistance, thereby making you wish you had never come into the store at all?
- Training is a must. Countless frustrations such as these can be avoided by properly training employees before they go on the floor. Customers do not have time for excuses, delays or misinformation. They want service, and before a business can provide proper service, training is a must.
- Prospecting is key. Whether your job involves direct or indirect prospecting, prospecting is the key word. For your steady, reliable customers, take the time to let them know of special sales, upcoming promotions or events that are attractive to them. Give them personalized treatment. You can also gain new customers through creative prospecting. If you sell vertical blinds, for example, find out about new homes being built in your area and send the owners or builders material about your company and how you can be of service. Own a baby furniture/clothing store? Watch the newspaper for birth announcements and contact the new parents. Opportunities like these are endless.
- Be courteous. Don’t end a potential sale before it begins – greet customers immediately, even if you can’t assist them at the moment. Tell them that you will help them as soon as possible. Then thank them for waiting. Courtesy and professionalism are two attributes the need for which cannot be over-stressed.
- Show off the merchandise. Learn how to present your product to its best advantage. Be able to discern what aspect of the item the customer is most interested in, whether it be its technical functions or its emotional appeal, because every customer is different. Then focus on that aspect. Stress the benefits the customer finds most important.
- Close and follow through. Help close the sale by offering services such as free delivery or gift wrapping; it also helps if you can offer a wide range of color and accessory choices. Give discounts when possible to encourage buying. Remember to suggest purchasing additional merchandise that is required for the product, such as batteries for a cassette recorder. Just as important, contact customers after the sale to make sure they were and still are satisfied. You can maintain and improve customer relations through your sincere efforts after the sale, and customer relations, over the long run, are just as important as the initial sale.