In a recent coaching call I was startled by the simple articulation of how one of the salespeople/designers viewed people who say that they are “Just browsing” and those people she’s been unable to connect with: “I think they are killing time and wasting mine.” Wow. I asked her to explain more about this…and it was more about her perspective, which unknown to her, was furthering her inability to connect with incoming customers.
Consider this: what do you think it takes for someone to get dressed, get in their car, and come to your showroom….instead of staying on the sofa, warm and maybe a pet or two on their lap, on their computer shopping for furniture? Do you really think that anyone would physically shop for furniture unless they absolutely had to?
How we SEE the customer isn’t about them…it’s about US. Our perspective of the customer says more about us than it does about them since WE made it up! If you want better connections with people, change YOUR mind about them and be engaging, inquisitive, helpful, friendly. When customers cross the threshold, their job ends and your job begins.
And if you are STILL struggling with your perspective or actions, call me. We can work this out.
When I roleplay/practice with salespeople and play the part of the salesperson as a way of demonstrating the behavior I want them to follow, I am very conscious of my intention and behavior in the interaction: I am focused on what they are saying, use voice and body match, listen deeply and reframe their words and recreate their emotion, and ask more questions in response to what they say. These are all teachable actions and they all require repeated practice.
The last one – ask more questions in response to what they say – is a critical skill to adopt and repeat. When I observe salespeople in role play or on the floor, I see that they TELL the customer something in response to what they say instead of telling and asking another question.
Customer: “Is this solid wood?”
Salesperson: “Yes it is.” ADD” Can you tell me what’s important to you about solid wood?”
I also find this step is lacking when discussing money. Example:
Customer: “Is $1500 the price for this sofa?”
Salesperson: “Yes.” ADD: “Will that price work for you?”
I had a great call today with the sales leadership of Interiors Homein PA. We have been working together for a couple of years and discussing how to break some habits and create new, more effective ones. One of the actions we were discussing I have mentioned before: Sales managers interrupting sales/customer interactions on the sales floor to help the salesperson to overcome concerns and to help them to close the sale (or get the appointment).
Today we distinguished HOW to engage. Instead of the sales manager introducing themselves to be ‘helpful’ to the customer and to the salesperson, it’s better to “Actively and Intentionally Engage” with the outcome being the sale or the appointment. And to take the opportunity to demonstrate the selling skill needed (new questions, more powerful presentation, overcome sticky objections, or ask for the commitment!) that the salesperson may have missed or performed poorly. It’s a BIG difference from just being helpful.