About Me

An avid traveler I have had the good fortune to have spent my career in the travel and vacation industry. From Bali to Copenhagen and all points between is where I have been or intend to go. This blog however is specific to the Western half of the United States as I explore this part of the world.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sales advice to my Cousin

Recently my cousin asked for some sales advice so I put together an e-mail and sent it off... it was fun to write so I thought I would add it to the blog...

Oh and to all the sales associates who ask me "Can I help you?" when I walk in the door... no you cannot help me if you don't know what I need!... How about asking me "Hello Sir, my name is ___________... what brings you to ________ today?" Now that is a question I and 17 million other holiday shoppers could answer!

Back to the e-mail...

There are 2 types of sales:

Buyer initiated and Seller initiated… each with its own psychology.

Buyer initiated covers items such as housewares, clothes, automobiles… the types of things people need… and the psychology is as such

NEED – I need a car

TRUST – I trust VW’s

HELP – because I need a car and trust VW I can get help at the dealership

HURRY – Wow it’s just the car I want and they will give me special financing if I buy today!

For example… the Buyer needs a car and trusts the Volkswagen brand so they go to the VW dealership… where the sales person discovers needs more specifically as in size, color, features, price and then HELPS the buyer by showing the car that best fits those needs and then greats urgency (hurry) to drive off the lot today… usually through incentives.

Since you are an artist and people want art but may not particularly need it you fall in the middle sort of but I would suggest utilizing the Seller initiated psychology which is:

TRUST – Who are you I don’t trust you

NEED – I don’t think I need what you are selling

HELP – you don’t know me and if I don’t need your product how can you help me

HURRY – I’m not buying anything today because I don’t trust you, don’t need it and you can’t help me.

Ahhh the world of timeshare or any other seldom purchased product…

When you are initiating a sale you must first establish trust… this is done through

Credibility – so you look and sound credible? Do you know your stuff… your art, the diamonds in the rough you find at estate sales or whatever… who has purchased from you that is recognized for good judgment or that your client may know?

Propriety – Do you look the part… if you are a banker are you wearing a sharp, yet conservative suit? If you are an artist, outfits that show your distinct personality that may even reflect your style and art… I suppose glue and paint splattered bib overalls are ok too but maybe not when you are asking for the big order of $5,000 to $10,000… people feel much more comfortable handing over big money to art dealers than artists perhaps… because the art dealer is usually dressed professionally and the artist may not be.

Commonality – What types of things might you have in common with your client… hobbies, places visited, favorite restaurants… if you can build commonality then the client feels like you are one of their kind and are more likely to trust you.

When you meet a client for the first time introduce yourself, ask their name and shake hands while looking them in the eye… however a big part of this is matching their personality style which is a whole other subject… in short try to mirror your client somewhat… if they are cautious and timid be slow and non threatening using assuring language… if they are quick and forthright don’t beat around the bush… they want fast and clear.

NEED is established by asking the client questions…

1st level questions… (Who what where, facts) what are you looking for, what else are you considering,

Customer: A head board…

2nd level questions… (clarifications, why) You are looking for a head board? What size? Who is it for?

Customer Full size and it’s for my son so it needs to be sturdy…

3rd level questions… (buying motives… emotional reasons) You said sturdy, why is that important to you? Did the old headboard break or is this a gift or something?

If you do not ask good questions to discover the clients needs and perhaps help them discover new ones (that you can help them with!!!) you will have a hard time selling them.


After you have asked good questions and discovered the client's needs show them how you can help them and only address the things they are interested in… this is very important! If you sell them benefits of your product that they don’t need or care about then they will lose interest… one of the biggest rookie sales mistakes is the rookie selling what the rookie thinks are the best features and benefits not the client.

Example: A client wants to buy a new TV and has made it very clear that picture in picture is what he is looking for but the salesperson keeps talking about how the high definition on the TV is the bomb… rather than say… showing and selling a TV that has dual picture and picture capability… Sir you said picture in picture is what you are looking for… this Sony 3000 has not only the ability for picture in picture but it has 3 tuners so that you can have one show on the main screen and too other programs running in two smaller screens… three tuners in one TV!

Sell only what is important to the customer


Build urgency to buy today… don’t be afraid to ask for the order… and ASSUME THE SALE… it will come with confidence that you can go into every potential sales meeting with the assumption that the client you are meeting is going to buy something from you today. To the point of being surprised if they do not.

Formula for Urgency is this

Fact – something concrete about what you are selling

Benefits – Why said fact is beneficial to your client (based on their individual need)

Urgency – Why it is important to get off the dime today!

Feedback – ask the client a question to make sure they understood what you just said and it keeps them on their toes… they won’t day dream if you are getting feedback from them…

Ah and this old adage… the person asking the questions is in control… for example if you are dealing with a control freak… you still maintain control by asking choice questions… rather than

“Which one of my pieces would you like to buy” now she or he can choose one or choose none.

However if you ask a choice question like “So, Mr. Smith, which piece are you going to take home today the mirror or the side tables?” See what this question is doing… both assuming the sale and giving the Driver type the choice… The Mirror I will buy” (satisfying his need for control… because he decided not you)

If you skip any step in the psychology your chance of success drops dramatically… there are probably a lot of sales you felt slipped through your fingers… but if you always work at your craft then you will get better and fewer sales will be lost when there is an opportunity for one.

ASK FOR THE ORDER! Again with an assumptive close… if they indicate that they are interested… ask…”How would you like to handle that… with check, credit or cash today?” "Oh I can’t do it today!” “That’s okay… I can take a deposit to hold the item for 10 days and you can send the rest within that time.”

Hope this helps

Cuzzin Ted

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