I, personally, subscribe to lots of different newsletters from folks involved in the sales, marketing and gift industry. I find different points of view very interesting — as well as expanding my knowledge base.
Rick Segel & Associates is one expert in the retail industry whose newsletters I have been reading for years. Although, I am no longer in the retail business — at least not directly — I find his newsletters very interesting.
This week’s Retail Tip of the Week is very pertinent to anyone who sells their own products. Here are some of the highlights of his article (NOTE: Italics are my notes):
What are the four things we are selling when a customer walks in the front door?
- Ourselves.…First and foremost, the customer has to like the sales professional he’s dealing with. He has to believe in you and feel that he can trust you to help him find the merchandise he wants—and have fun doing it. …
- The Experience. … Customers are influenced by how the store (or salesperson) makes them feel. If they like the store, chances are there’s something about it that makes them feel comfortable …. That’s why the second thing you are selling is the experience the customer is having in the store (or with you and your company).
- The Business. Customers want to feel they have made the right choice. You must never say anything negative about the store (or your company), your manager or the owner. These types of negative comments make you appear unprofessional to the customer, causing you to lose credibility.
- The Merchandise: … if the customer doesn’t like the sales associate and is having a bad experience and the sales associate is putting down the business, chances are slim to none that the customer will be interested in buying the merchandise. Too often, sales professionals jump right to step four, without spending any time working through steps one, two and three. Yet it is these first three steps help you establish the relationship that is so critical to selling.
Sales is a bit like dating, in my opinion! Since we don’t jump from “I am interested in getting to know you” to “Will you marry me” — we don’t want to try and sell a potential client BEFORE we get to know them and they get to know us.
At least, I have found this method much more successful!