Humans Deserve Better Trilogy

Powerful change happens when enough humans live determined.

  • Manifesto Rule No. 24

    ENTREPRENEURSHIP ISN’T A TRAVEL GUIDE TO FOLLOW. IT’S AN ADVENTURE TO UNDERTAKE.

  • Manifesto Rule No. 1

    When in doubt – call someone who truly, unconditionally loves you.

  • Manifesto Rule No. 2

    Stop at nothing to achieve everything the universe has to offer.

  • Manifesto Rule No. 3

    When feeling huffy: – Step back, Be a teacher, Take a deep breath, Smile and realize this too shall pass as just a glimmer within a lifetime of happiness.

Sales Magic is Bogus: How the Game is Won

The best sales associates, regardless of industry or length of sales cycle, are always cognizant of one reality when they begin their sales journey: time at their job is finite unless they continually meet their sales targets.

It’s worth reading previous posts in this series before continuing:

Leverage every sales presentation. It’s an opportunity to:

1)      Engage the customer

2)      Learn as much as possible

3)      Have fun

You are not just selling, but actually performing market research. The best way to do so is by engaging your customer while also having fun in the process. Lighten up, have fun and smile – because if you’re uptight your customer will be too and engaging them will be significantly more difficult.

Once you’ve compiled enough transactional data through your research, construct a strategic plan for approaching the sales battlefield. Build a framework to excel within – plot milestones, deliverables, awards sought, etc. Post this plan everywhere – on your desk and fridge, by your bedside, in the bathroom, and in your car. Give yourself a subconscious boost by constantly reminding yourself what your goals are and the journey you’ll have to embrace to get there.

A very valuable insight to also remind yourself of, on a daily basis, is that each customer is unique. Most think sales is simply about pattern recognition. This is true to some extent, it serves well as a pre-qualifying mechanism for leads, but that is about it. So what is after that?

Sales triggers are cues and emotions your target customer provides before, during and after the presentation which make all the difference in the world as your business scales. For example, in my specific instance, there were six triggers (in order of importance) I would seek out from each customer:

1)      Does Ms. Jones have a ring on her finger?

If there’s a ring on her finger it more than likely equates to a higher amount of disposable income. To this day I still look at a woman’s hand instinctively when meeting her for the first time.

However, I never paid attention to the size of the ring. This is a mistake and bad assumption/qualifier for likelihood of purchase. Why? There are people in this world who would rather own a $250K diamond ring instead of a beautiful home because flashing a large ring elicits eliteness, and for some reason, that’s more important to them.

Lesson: Don’t judge a book by its cover. If you do, in the aggregate, you will lose out.

2)      Is Ms. Jones with her husband?

Mr. Jones could care less about what Ms. Jones is doing – he hates shopping. As a salesman it was my job not just to make Ms. Jones feel comfortable and special during the presentation, but it was also important to engage Mr. Jones. If his ego isn’t rubbed, more than likely he’ll get bored and leave – taking Ms. Jones (and the potential sale) away with him.

Lesson: Go into the transaction engaged and understand every possible dynamic that may be in play, including the unexpected.

3)      Does Ms. Jones have children with her?

Most people are absolutely flabbergasted that I would actually seek out children who were looking to purchase a $45 sneaker versus Ms. Jones who sought a $350 designer shoe. If I could, I would drop absolutely everything to help a kid – no matter the day, time or how busy I was. Why?

99.99999% of associates simply saw the child as an annoying and needy brat – viewing the sale through the narrow short-term lens of what it was at that exact moment. It’s imperative to understand that you must always look past the short-term sale. Of course the child might only have a $45 sneaker, but guess what? That child is also a direct line to an instantaneous emotional connection with his/her parents. To connect the dots, anytime I saw a child wanting to try on a shoe I would jump at the chance because more than likely that child’s mother was also looking at shoes as well. Furthermore, the child’s parents are the ones paying as well – and they remember who takes care of their “baby.”

As an example, the above is exactly how I was able to gain the long-term business of the most sought after customers at Nordstrom – who were never once was loyal to just one sales associate. Why? Because for 10 years they witnessed how associate after associate would treat her daughters – like needy brats. Time and time again the narrow-minded sales associates at my store would ignore the daughters and seek out the customer with five shoes in their hand.

Well one day, the daughters ran into me and we had a great time talking about all of their sneakers and how they were for a new indoor soccer league their parents had signed them up for. The mother graciously thanked me for helping her daughters – and then proceeded to buy more then $1K in shoes that day (in addition to the $600 her daughters bought).

Following the encounter, the mother and her daughters would only buy shoes when I was on the floor working and was able to help them all. They appreciated my sincerity and service, which eventually accounted for more then 3% of my total career sales (roughly $18,000).

Lesson: Don’t think short-term or linearly. Look at the big picture and how a situation can be leveraged to create an instantaneous emotional connection.

4)      What are the shoes Ms. Jones is currently wearing?

Is Ms. Jones already a “high roller” in the shoe department? Is she wearing a $100 pair of shoes or a $400 pair of shoes? At those price points, we’d be approaching two very different consumers – with unique and very distinctive mental purchasing frameworks.

Ms. Jones ($400) would be an already established trendsetter. She knows what she wants – the newest and most flashy. Approach the sale as if the shoe has been selling like hot cakes and that there are just a few left. In addition, there is more than ample room for matching her shoes with additional upsell items – belt, scarf, purse, dress, etc.

Ms. Jones ($100) knows what she wants as well – something functional.

In this scenario, regardless of the shoe price she chooses from the stands around the floor, it’s important to understand (and tailor the conversation toward) the plight of Ms. Jones – is she looking to upgrade to something more comfortable, is she looking for an informed opinion on look, or is her #1 priority comfort?

Lesson: Once again, don’t judge a book by its cover – give the customer an opportunity to communicate their plight with you. Then decide the correct course.

5)      Engaging in Conversation with Ms. Jones

As soon as possible, begin prodding into the true intended purpose of the shoe. Is the shoe being used for an important or formal gathering, or is it something that will most likely collect dust? Ms. Jones likes to talk – ask her questions and get her interested not just in a purchase, but also in you.

It’s important to obtain this information as soon as possible. It is a direct precursor to the importance of #6, and your goal – a sale!

Lesson: Grab the bull by the horns and direct the conversation. When you’re in control, it’s significantly easier to direct a customer toward provoking sales questions

6)      How in depth was the conversation with Ms. Jones?

Simply stated: DO NOT sell Ms. Jones the shoe. Instead, build an authentic emotional connection with her. Show her that you are a genuine and compassionate person – sell her on your personality (multi-dimensional & scalable) instead of a shoe (linear & a piece of leather).

Overall Lesson:

Want to know the real secret to sales?!?!?! Is it NOT about selling. Yes, you read that right.

If you’re selling – your business will invariably encounter significant scalability challenges. Sales is about one thing: customer service. Treat your customers like gold, engage them, don’t make assumptions, and in aggregate, they will do the same for you.

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