Salespeople typically do a great job in engaging customers and presenting their service or product. But occasionally, a salesperson stuns you. Such was the case about a year ago while I was shopping for a jewelry armoire. When I climbed into the car after the sales interaction, I grabbed my iPhone to make a note of the following scene:
Wish All Salespeople Knew the 10 Commandments of Sales Communication?
Not Exactly a Successful Sales Conversation
Me: Do you have this armoire in stock? (I pointed to a display model.)
Ann: Not likely. (She checked her iPad.) No, you have to order, and it comes unassembled. In a box. And you definitely don’t want one you have to assemble. They are VERY difficult to assemble–way too many pieces.
Me: Hmmm. How long does it take to get it in if I order online and have it shipped here?
Ann: We never know. So we don’t promise a specific date.
Me: Can you check please to see if there’s a range?
Ann: I’ll check, but it’ll be at least six weeks.
Me: Will you sell this floor model?
Ann: They won’t let us do that.
Me: What assembly is required?
Ann: Everything. You’d have to put on the hinges, the hooks, the pulls, every single piece. It would be a nightmare. I have this same model myself. But I bought it used. I’d never try to put something like this together myself.
Me: Is there someone here I can ask how involved the assembly is?
Ann: The floor manager. But I wouldn’t think he’d know.
Me: I notice there’s a storewide sale. Does that include this piece?
Ann: It won’t help you much. Just 4 percent discount.
Salespeople Who Miss the Mark by Opening Their Mouth
With salespeople like Ann, I hope that department store has a STRONG marketing team! Obviously, she wanted to sell us another clearance model on the floor that was readily available and commissionable that day.
Ann represents only one example of salespeople who miss the mark when they open their mouth. Having shopped this past year for new cars for my household and business, plus just about every household appliance that could fail, I’ve gathered quite a collection of do’s and don’ts from the great salespeople and the “also-rans.” They form the basis of the following list…
The 10 Commandments of Successful Sales Communication
- Learn your products and services before you try to lead customers to buy.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Give personalized, not generalized, guidance.
- Lose the buzz words and jargon.
- Educate rather than try to impress.
- Sound conversational rather than scripted.
- Don’t tell a customer what they think, want, or feel.
- Don’t bluff. Admit what you don’t know. Research to give an accurate answer.
- Follow up to do what you say you will.
- Apologize when you make a mistake—with the right attitude and with an appropriate resolution.
If followed to a “T,” no doubt, commissions and profits will soar.
Just to tidy things up about Ann and the armoire: After I insisted that she ask the store manager to talk with us, he did indeed know the product details. He assured us the product came “almost assembled,” was easy to complete, and would arrive in 5-7 days. We bought it. It arrived as promised. My husband put it together in a few minutes. I’ve used it happily ever after.
As for Ann, she’s on her own.
Learn more ways to improve sales communication with Communicate with Confidence: How to Say it Right the First Time and Every Time. Find it at your preferred book seller.