All you have to do is be aggressive in gaining and using the information
At the end of my high school commencement speech given by the head of our school district, Dr. Hoy, I heard what has helped me be successful in business all my life.
Dr. Hoy said: “To be successful you do not have to have all the answers, no one can, but you do have to know where to find the answers. And the one with the most information will be the most successful.”
In all my business selling ventures - retail (including the jewelry business), wholesale, manufacturing and service selling - knowing how to find the information I needed about people and knowing how to use that information has always given me the edge over my competition in selling more to my customers, keeping my customers and taking customers away from my competition.
All you have to do to find the information about people that will help you attract customers and close sales is ask them. (It’s the #2 Secret of Selling - asking questions)
Using the information is a bit more complicated, but not hard.
To build a relationship with customers and prospects use the information you discover by asking them questions to talk to them about what they want to talk about most...themselves. More specifically their problems, needs and wants and how you can solve their problems, needs and wants with your products and services.
To increase sales and close sales faster use the information about them, their problems, needs and wants to show them how you are the one that will solve their problems, needs and wants the easiest for them.
To take customers away from your competition use the information to build a better relationship with them than the competition has. The more you know about them, the more you can stay in touch with them. Stay in touch with them more often than your competition is doing.
I believe that out of all my retail businesses - tires, electronics, appliances, furniture, rent to own, video rentals and jewelry - gathering and using customer information in the jewelry business was always the easiest and most profitable.
There are so many occasions for which people purchase jewelry: birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Grandparents’ Day, graduations, commencement, just to mention a few. And because jewelry purchases are a purchase people want to make, unlike having to buy a refrigerator, television or tires, they are more than happy to give you all the information you need to sell them, if you ask.
Ways to gather information about your customers
- Ask them. People like to talk about themselves, family, work, business. Let them do most of the talking.
- Ask your customers/prospects’ friends.
- Ask the customers when they refer you to prospects.
- Goggle your customers.
- Look for them in trade magazines.
- Have a contest (drawing) to sign up for. Have a weekly grand prize winner and everyone else wins 2nd prize. This gives you another chance to sell them and build a relationship with them when they come in to pick up their prize.
The more information you gather about your customers/prospects the easier it is to:
- Discover what products and services they need and want. What products and services you sell that will solve their problems.
- Build a relationship with them. The retail business is a relationship business.
Keep the information in a form that you can easily access. Before computers I used file cards I called Gold Cards. Not because the cards were colored gold, but because they made me so much money. Of course today we use computer programs such as ACT, Goldmine, etc. But the system is the same. Every customer I had a Gold Card on was a Gold Card Customer.
- Record everything you can about your customer/prospect that is pertinent to selling your products and selling your services.
- When business is slow, look at your Gold Cards. If you have the proper information you will find customers with special days about to come to whom you can sell your products.
- When a Gold Card customer comes in, look at your Gold Card, you will know exactly what you last sold to them and what products and services they want or need.
- Telephone them and invite them to your store. They will come if you give them a compelling reason to do so. A compelling reason may be a fantastic sale on a piece of jewelry they told you they wanted to purchase.
Dr. Hoy was right. The one with the most information will be the most successful. You can, as I have, put his words into aggressive actions to increased sales and profits.