Change your approach when selling to interior designers from product to value

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I am asked all the time by sales people, “How do I close more sales?”, “How do I get more appointments?”, “I work so hard, why am I getting less than stellar results?”

With the ever increasing competition in the world of interior design, you are sitting on a potential gold mine, as a sales person. However, people want value. That does not always mean ‘cheaper”. We’ve just conditioned to think less expensive is usually the answer. I know that’s not true, because in my 25+ years of sales, management and training with luxury brands, cheaper just didn’t exist. Yet I sold to the A&D market, mostly large A&D contract firms.

What designers want to know is the best solution to their problems and if that costs more, they are willing to pay. Haven’t we all done that? That’s just the way the world works. If it brings value to our lives and work, we will pay more.

But before you even go on a sales call there are some basic skills you need to adopt. As sales people that sell to architects and designers we have to change from our current way of selling of just show up and show product to a more effective way. That can be wrapped up in two words: Analyze and Solution.

I know change can be tough, but the two options are: (1) remain the same, get the same results or (2) Make small changes, be open to new ideas and get different results…that’s it!

Strategize thoroughly

Know what the current problems and concerns are on each project they are working on and bridge the gap from need to the solution you provide. How much time will you be saving for the designer? That’s VALUE! Be confident in your solution (know your product). Designers are more inclined to listen to a person who is confident about their work and can ask and answer questions diligently without missing a beat.

Not a “show and tell”

You are not giving a live demonstration of a product. You are not selling vacuum cleaners, are you? Presenting an item randomly without knowing exactly what that client needs are TODAY and hoping it will catch their attention is a huge no-no. There is way to much competition for that sale. Product cannot be the focus. It just gives designers another job.. thinking about what they can use it for (unlikely if they have not immediate need..just more mind noise) remembering what you showed a week later (more unlikely, they’ve moved on). This can be a major loophole in your strategy – value and solutions are a must. If you just talk about the product and leave the meeting, you have more or less sabotaged your chances.

Accentuate usability

The designer you are meeting with should understand exactly how a particular product will be useful to them. For example, if you are talking to someone who specializes in geometric patterns and abstract walls, floral themed wall paper (no matter how much they LOVE it) will not be of any use to them. The item is likely to be mentally discarded in a few minutes (or NOT which is even worse!). Remember, you are taking up their time, so make it count by showing them something that is actually beneficial. (that’s really how you get more appointments and close more sales)

Gauge their needs

It is a misconception that designers get irritated with questions – you just have to ask the right ones relevant to their area of expertise. Random questions will just make the designer angry and that becomes a detriment instead of a value. It lessens your credibility and the designer just thinks of your attempt as insincere. So you should be careful and only inquire about what they need. Every sales person has a different approach to work, so you have to tailor your presentation with knowledge, confidence and always thinking about the value to the client.

You are here to sell, so don’t leave an opportunity on the table.That’s exactly what causes sales to cycle up and down If you have a very strategic approach, your sales will be much more consistent. Your focused on projects not products. Offer your solutions before the meeting ends by politely asking if they have immediate requirements, and stress on how you can make their job simpler.

It a great idea  to know more about the interior designer’s work and their criteria even before the meeting takes place. That’s VALUE!

Deborah Flate started Dialogue Consulting with a vision to make to-the-trade product companies overcome any obstacle that hits them. And with her 25+ years in the industry including the 14 years owning her own business focusing on training, marketing and branding she has achieved that vision.

She has been a sought after keynote speaker delivering clear, innovative and powerful techniques to dramatically increase sales at NeoCon, IIDEX, IIFMA, Brentano, Innovations as well as many other venues.

She now has a four part sales course based on her ebook: 10 proven strategies that will POWER UP YOUR SALES NOW! You can download the ebook it at Dialogue-Consulting.com and sign up at the top of the page.

If you want more information on what works better with sales training or speaking at your sales meetings for product companies or showrooms selling to the trade or to find out how she can help your or your company please log on here, call at 773-281-9448, email me at deborah@dialogue-consulting.com or fill out this contact form for a complimentary strategy session to see if we are a fit and how I can help you.

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