I’m quite assertive when it comes to sales and never want to leave empty-handed. But I’m worried that I sometimes give the ‘hard sell’ too much to clients and scare them off. How can I tell if I’m going too far? Should I have someone come with me to act as good cop to my bad cop?
It’s a really good thing to be assertive as a sales person, as it is in life, but we do need to use our emotional intelligence to know how assertive we need to be.
I really don’t like these words ‘hard sell’. Frankly, I find them very off putting and if you feel they describe your sales style, some re-adjustment is required!
Hard sell reminds me of used car salesmen selling shonky cars to innocent victims. If you don’t believe in your product no one else will and you will need to hard sell.
What an unhappy way to spend your days.
If you feel you need the hard sell to sell your product or service then re-think what you are selling and how you are selling it.
Make sure you are selling a product or service that has genuine benefits and competitive advantage, understand clearly what these benefits are and focus fully on the benefits that relate to your customer when you are selling.
So how do you do that?
Well firstly understand your client and their needs. Do your research on their company and ask questions that can connect them to your product.
I will give you some example. When I do store visits (for griffin+row) and speak to potential customers I ask them these sorts of questions:
- What skincare regime do they have at the moment?
- Are they seeing a difference from using their current products?
- Do they like the idea of no harmful chemicals in their products?
- Do they have time to do a really easy and effective regime each day?
- What are they paying for their current products?
Basically, I am asking them questions that lead me to a sale but at any time they may say ‘no’ along the way.
I don’t want to waste time with people who have no potential interest in my product, but I do want to be assertive about my products’ benefits.
You need to tune in as you ask questions and really observe the real interest or lack thereof.
You can practice listening to your friends more carefully and becoming more observant of people around you.
You can practice on someone you trust. Let them give you objections, there are always some, and answer those objections.
If you believe that selling is about relating, as I do, you will learn to know when to stop!
I want to encourage you to practice and be prepared to make mistakes and lose customers along the way. That is inevitable because each sale is as different as each person. You will make mistakes.
When you do lose a customer, ask yourself how you could have done better.
The best way to learn is to listen to a master. So if you know a great sales person, find a reason to spend a day with them.
Most people who are good at what they do will be happy to pass on their knowledge. There are dozens of great books about sales, such as the One Minute Salesperson.
Treat each sale as a special event and each person you speak to with respect and listen carefully.
In the end, as with every other skill, nothing works like practice!