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Last updateSun, 01 Mar 2015 8pm

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Demonstrating value

Product knowledge is one of those things that you have to have, you just may not need to use it in every sales presentation. During the demonstration you should describe your merchandise using features, benefits and agreement questions.

A feature is something that the manufacturer has made available in the merchandise. A benefit is what the feature will do for the customer, and an agreement question is getting them to say “yes.”

It is interesting to note that most salespeople are very feature driven. In other words they talk exclusively about the features of the merchandise. For example: It has this and it has this and it has that and it also has this.

However, customers don’t buy features, they buy benefits, or what the feature does for them. In many situations I have heard salespeople rattling off features in terms that the typical customer cannot and does not understand. Many salespeople talk in a foreign language using industry jargon. The customer then gets confused or won’t admit that they don’t understand and then make up an objection. Something like “I’ll be back” or “I need to think about that,” when in reality, we, as salespeople, confused them using words that only we understand.

Therefore we need to talk in terms of features (what it has or our industry jargon), benefits (what the feature does for the customer in easy to understand words) and agreement questions (getting them to agree with how important the feature and/or benefit is to their decision making process). For example: “One of the spectacular things about this ring is that it has a 6-prong head, meaning your diamond will be extremely secure, that is terrific isn’t it? Another nice thing about this ring is that the ring is white gold, meaning the ring will perfectly match your other jewelry, as you mentioned that is an important consideration, correct?”

In order to create the perception of value salespeople need to speak in terms that customers understand and using words that give a descriptive definition to the customer. Saying words like; exquisite, gorgeous, beautiful, spectacular, etc. will increase the perception that customers have of the value that they hold for the merchandise. Saying this jewelry is pretty or functional, or this chain will match, and last a long time, don’t do enough to increase the perception of value. Look at the examples in the previous paragraph and eliminate the adjectives that give value and you will hear a mediocre presentation at best. Keep the adjectives in and suddenly you are describing a valuable piece of exquisite jewelry that anyone would be proud to own.

As a sales manager the greatest help that you could give to your salespeople is to take the time and actually listen in on several of their sales presentations every week. Listen to see if they are asking the correct questions, hear if they are selling based on the reasons that the customer wants to buy. See if they get the customer to open up and reveal valuable information that will help the customer close themselves. Listen for descriptive words that add value to the presentation.

Being successful in sales does not necessarily require a gift of gab, it requires an ability to ask questions, really listen to the answers and react to the answers. Selling based on the customers’ perception of value or your ability to increase their perception of value will make all the difference in the world when it comes to selling higher priced merchandise. Selling items that the customer will be proud to show and that will last for years to come will increase your personal trade, repeat business and referral business substantially.

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Mr. Huisken authored the books “I’M a salesman! Not a PhD.” and “Munchies For Salespeople, Selling Tips That You Can Sink Your Teeth Into.” He also developed the PMSA Relationship Selling Program, the PSMC Professional Sales Management Course, The Mystery Shoppers Kit, “The Employee Handbook” and “Policy & Procedures Manual,” The Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703, www.iastraining.com or fax 303-936-9581.

Selling Value!

Years ago, when I started my career in retail I was required to read a book titled, "Successful Shoe Salesmanship," by Dr. William Rossi. One statement from that book has stood out in my mind for over thirty years. The statement was, "Give your shoes a reason for being and you give your customer a reason for buying." In other words, it is up to the salesperson to create value in the merchandise they are selling,
whether the item is shoes, jewelry, electronics or space shuttles.The first thing that salespeople need to understand is the definition of the word "value." I believe that value is simply "perception." I know the value that I have for a hundred dollar bill is totally different than the value my children have for the same bill. They think, "let's party," and I think "let's hide it from them." I am sure that Bill Gates has a very different perception of a hundred dollars than I do and so on.

Sale Growth Expert: Facts about opportunity

Fact: The one that jumps at opportunities is the one that is most successful

Young salesperson: “Would you mind telling me your secret of sales success?”

Wealthy sales professional: “There is no secret. You just have to jump at your opportunities.”

Young salesperson: “But how will I know when these opportunities come?”

Wealthy sales professional: “You can’t. You just have to be AGGRESSIVE and keep jumping at all your opportunities.”

Fact: Your opportunity to close a sale is greater when you “get on the other side of the counter.”

Counters in a store, or a desk in an office, are an obstacle to closing the sale.  When there is an obstacle between you and the customer it becomes you against the customer for their money. When you are beside the customer it is you and the customer against their problem, need or want.  Get on the other side of the counter.

Fact: When you use the opportunity to be the Super Hero for customers, your sales increase.

As I grew up watching my dad interact with customers, I noticed everyone liked him.  Even the customers that did not make purchases liked my dad.  I remember asking him once, “How come everyone likes you?”  He replied, “When I help someone solve their problems, I become their hero.  After I solve two or three of their problems, I become a Super Hero.”  The neat part about being a super hero to your customers, other than everyone likes you, is you make a lot of money.

As I grew as a sales professional I adopted what I call the Mighty Mouse attitude.  Mighty Mouse, a cartoon super hero of the ‘60s flew through the air singing, “Here I come to save the day!!!” as he swooped down to help others against the villains.  The customers’ problems are the villains, and when I become Mighty Mouse and solve those problems, I save the day for them and make the sale.

The Mighty Mouse attitude does not just happen, you must practice it. I actually sing the song, to myself, when I am on the way to a sales call or as a customer approaches me.  Okay, to some of you that sounds silly, but it has always worked for me.

Put yourself in a proper aggressive state of mind and always remember the Number One Rule In Selling is, “The one who solves the customer’s problems the easiest for them will get the sale,” and you will become successful.

Fact: When you take the opportunity to give a pleasant greeting your business grows.

As I hurried through the showroom one day, passing by customers and employees without pausing to recognize them, my father grabbed my arm and said, “Slow down, you are losing sales.”  I had just returned from giving a large truck tire customer a proposal which he did not accept, and I was in a hurry to re-run the numbers and get back with him.

“I am about to lose this tire deal if I do not find a way to give them a better offer,” I said to my dad.  He replied, “You are about to lose much more than that deal.”  As I am sure I looked at him puzzled, he continued, “You know the old expression, ‘everything starts at the top’?”  I nodded yes.  “When you rush by your employees and your customers without acknowledging them, you are damaging the very thing that has made us successful - Relationships.”

I knew he was right, and from that day on I always took the time to pleasantly great every customer I came in contact with, and I went out of my way to talk to each employee every day.

Bob Janet - Sales consultant/trainer, speaker, author of “Join The Profit Club” combines 40 plus years as owner/operator of professional, retail, manufacturing and service businesses with his unique teaching and storytelling ability to motivate, educate and inspire business professionals of all levels and all industries for increased sales & profits. Contact Bob at 704-882-6100, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sale Growth Expert:There is more than one way to get the job done

Sell your higher end jewelry and gifts by daring to sell differently

An old gentleman lived alone. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,

I am feeling pretty sad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.

Love,

Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried.

Love,

Vinnie

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.

There is more than one way to sell! Be aggressive and Dare To Do It Different with your marketing and selling!

When I opened my jewelry store I shopped my competition to discover how they sold. They all sold the same way and most are still doing it. The customer comes in, they ask, “Can I help you?” and if the customer happens not to say, “Just looking!” and tells the sales professionals or clerk what they are in the market for, the sales professional or clerk waits for the customer to point to a product, gets it out of the case and hopes the customer will buy it.

In our jewelry store we completely made the buying experience for the customer different than they experienced at our competitors’ stores. No matter what quality (price) item the customer was looking at we would first show them (by putting the jewelry on them) a more expensive piece (for example a bracelet) and we would challenge them by saying, “If I put this bracelet on your wrist you will never want to take it off.”

No more words were needed. They have now, if they were not there, moved into a higher range item. Oh sure, some would ask to put on a lower cost item, but we never took off the original margin maker. If they said they could not afford the more expensive item, we did our best to show them how they could. Very few times did the customer move down more than one or two price points.

Gain more referrals by daring to ask differently. I do not mean by having a program that offers them a cash or credit reward. Most sellers have them but don’t really use them. Are you and your staff really pushing the program? The referral program I see work best is simply asking your satisfied customers over and over again (5-6 times a year) for referrals. If you have built a relationship with them, it works. Even if you only ask every satisfied customer for a referral two times a year I am sure you will receive enough referrals to reduce your marketing costs.

There is a lot more than one way to sell.

Bob Janet - Sales consultant/trainer, speaker, author of “Join The Profit Club” combines 40 plus years as owner/operator of professional, retail, manufacturing and service businesses with his unique teaching and storytelling ability to motivate, educate and inspire business professionals of all levels and all industries for increased sales & profits. Contact Bob at 704-882-6100, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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