Back when I started selling high-end product to designers (in the mid-80’s), I was taught to sell by throwing more and more stuff out there. The more I threw, the better chance they will buy. The reoccurring theme was “YOU NEVER KNOW” or “WHAT IF?” And I was considered a top performer doing this. This is the exact method I was constantly encouraged to do:
Call on as many people as you can, show them as much as you can and give them all the sampling they want.
This is what we were expected to do. We showed all kinds of product from fabric to stone tables and talked about their origin, what made this fabric glow, what made the furniture the best you can buy, hand tied, bench made…the benefits of how this product worked, blah blah blah.
With these methods, we really did not have the client’s interest in mind, because if the client has no need, why bother? It may be fun, but aren’t you wasting lots of your and their time? That’s old school..
Fast forward thirty years later, 2016. I am now working with and training sales people in the design industry and unfortunately I am finding those same methods are still in use all the time. I consistently hear salespeople tell me that they are encouraged to make lots of calls, show lots of product and leave just enough time to get to the next appointment. (Old School)
Sales are slow, appointments are more difficult to get, showrooms are closing, product companies are pulling out of showrooms. Those are the facts. Se we ask ourselves:
Did business dry up or are these methods dated and no longer working?
Business has NOT dried up and there’s a better way! How do I know? Because companies that are changing up their approach are flourishing. Yes, I said flourishing.
So as a sales person, as a product company or as a showroom what do you do?
Continue on the same path or do what you’re doing BETTER!
If you put aside all the reasons why what you’re doing is the only way, you’ll find there’s an even better approach. Here’s only ONE idea of how to begin those changes. It’s # 5 in my Seven Core Principles for Optimized Selling
This has the CLIENT’S interest in mind when you qualify first and…
5. Give them what they need FIRST
What I mean is to find out what they NEED first..not only what they like and want samples for their library; that’s secondary. What they NEED will get you a sale! What they like harkens back to those old-school methods of randomly sampling them and seeding the territory.
What designers or clients like and what they can use can be and typically are two different things. One leads you to be a solution and a sale (what they need), one gets you liked, you’re doing what they like. But aren’t you out there for a sale?
I love being well liked, but I don’t think that will pay my bills, will it?
Try it and see. Let me know if it works. Here’s exactly (scripted) what you can say to get to the needs!
I am an industry insider. I have 30 years of experience in sales and management with high-end showrooms and product companies that sell to A&D industry. I help companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources.
This is one of many solutions that I offer for sales people, product companies, and showrooms to increase sales in today’s changing marketplace.
Keep reading my blogs for more tips. Or better yet, email me @firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time to chat about these.
I work in many different ways. My ecourse, (read about it here), one on one, very affordable coaching packages (coming soon) and a do-it-yourself pre-recorded video package. All live venues are totally customized to your needs, but all are based on the 7 core principles for reaching optimal sales performance.