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Jim Green's blog

For Sales Associates # 6

October 12, 2012

I have been identifying concepts and tactics which retail salespeople might utilize to better optimize their sales. My hope is that managers will use these as topics for group discussions with their associates. I would love to hear back from readers for feedback.

Borrowing Skills

Many years ago, I visited an electronics store to shop for a new stereo hi-fi (that's what they called it in those days). I really had no intention of buying right then; just to see what was out there. About an hour later, I walked out with the phonograph, speakers including something called a woofer (I still have no clue as to what that is), record cleaning solvent, and a host of other items that really never made it out of the bag. Why did I buy all this stuff? In short, because the salesman was great. Actually, I walked out with a lot more; something that would stay with me the rest of my life.

I remember, going over in my mind what had happened in the store that caused me to plunk hard earned dollars down on the counter when I went in with no intention of doing so. I recalled the introduction (friendly and personal), the questions (insightful and probing as to what my needs were, not just my wants), the presentation (with features, advantages, and benefits that were personalized to his perception of me), the wrap up (he assumed the sale), and the close. In between there were a multitude of techniques and tactics that he used so effectively, I was completely unaware of them as such.

My point in this little story is not really the process and its components that led me to buy. The point is just this: There are some great salespeople in every industry. Selling, to a large degree, is selling, especially at the retail level, particularly with ‘big ticket' items and given a proper level of knowledge about the product one sells. Highly effective salespeople tend to be able to sell anything, given appropriate knowledge of the product; not always, because individual interests enter into the equation, technical knowledge and the like; but, to a significant degree. When a sales person is away from the job and out and about in his/her normal daily life, he/she should always keep ears and eyes open for other salespeople that may be encountered and that has something to teach. It may be startling what one can learn by analyzing what another really talented salesperson does to make a sale. If that can be translated to the product one sells, it becomes another weapon in the selling arsenal. Consciously, being aware of other salespeople's skills requires awareness, discipline and the intention of doing so; but it can pay big benefits.