You know that feeling when you pop into a shop with the full intention of buying something. You might have even carried out research beforehand and know the specific item you wish to buy. Other times, you may know you want a particular type of product, but you are unsure which one to choose. So, we rely on the salesperson we meet.
Yet, we don’t always get exactly what we need. And sometimes we don’t realise it, until it’s too late.
Very often I find that sales people vary greatly in how they help us to find exactly what we need. Many will warmly open by asking us “how can I help you?” before falling into the trap of immediately asking “how much do we have to spend?” and bringing us straight over to the assigned product range.
So, whilst some of the questions above are certainly valid, out of sequence they can hinder the sale and blind-side both parties preventing them from unravelling the customer’s true needs and in finding the right fit.
Let’s use an example when we decide to buy a new mobile phone. We go into the shop, explain we want an upgrade and the sales person asks how much we have to spend. We agree a figure of €50 and they proceed to show us different options, explaining a little about each. We make a decision and purchase our new phone.
Two weeks later, we meet a friend who tells you about their fabulous new phone they cannot live without. They tell us about the amazing battery life, memory or perhaps camera. We ask what it cost and they tell us €60. We sit there and think that is exactly what I need and wonder why the sales person did not recommend that phone, claiming we would have spent the extra €10.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to “quit selling and help people buy”.
As a salesperson, I believe it is our job to help customers work out what they need, so they can make the right decision.
Just importantly, we need to assure the customer we are there to help them, explaining to them why we need to ask questions before launching into what otherwise could sound like an interrogation.
With the right questions and in the correct order, the mobile phone sales person could have established how much we knew about the phone and what we needed. By focusing on asking questions such as what is important to us in using our phone, our preferences or even priorities, they might just have realised we needed something completely different. And who knows, we might even have spent more (as it’s not just about the price but in proving the value).