By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
What’s your customer really looking for?
The quick-and-dirty way to find out is to ask how you can help, then trot out the standard solution and make a quick one-shot sale. But if your goal is to create a long-term relationship, you’ll need to take the next step.
While traveling around the world, I’ve identified three sales approaches that deliver increasing levels of success
First is the Yes Guy. “Yes, we have that, let me ring it up for you. ”They might offer the customer an extended warranty, but “yes and thank you” is about as far as their imagination will take them. What’s to discuss? A sale is a sale.
Second is the Method Guy. He’ll invite the customer to look at various options and accessories that might add value. Maybe he’ll mention delivery and installation and ask if there’s anything else he can help with. It’s a step in the right direction, but how far has “working the sale” really taken Mr. Method toward letting the customer know he’s on their side?
The big winner when it comes to sustained, long-term sales success is the third sales approach: the Customer’s Friend. He’s genuinely interested in learning about their needs. He’ll ask how they’ll be using the product, and whether they’ve owned previous models, and if they were satisfied.
Maybe they came in because they’re really desperate for advice. Maybe they’ve heard good words about you, and maybe they want to avoid the big, impersonal warehouse outlet. Maybe they’ve heard that you’re an expert who takes a genuine interest in your customers.
In sales, nothing is more satisfying, and fun, than making repeat customers. And it isn’t complicated or hard – all you have to do is genuinely care and let them know it.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
People ask Bill Aris, over and over, how his Fayetteville-Manlius High School (NY) girls’ cross country teams have managed to win the Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) an amazing ten times. (NXN, where the nation’s forty best teams compete, is the de facto national high school cross country championship.)
Bill graciously shares his methods. He patiently explains how he trains his runners. And other coaches suspect he’s signifyin’, as they say in the Ozarks.
Coaches fall off their chairs when Bill explains that he spends relatively little time designing his runners’ workouts.
“I spend 80 percent of my time on psychological and emotional considerations of each kid,” Aris says. “I put 20 percent of my time into designing the training. I spend most of my time thinking about and trying to get to the heart and soul of each kid, to both inspire them and to understand them. I’m always trying to figure out what keys unlock what doors to get them to maximize their potential.”
Other coaches believe there’s no way Aris can produce national champions without huge numbers of kids trying out for the team, and without recruiting.
In fact, Fayetteville-Manlius High School has 1,500-2,000 students, yet just 25 runners turn out each fall for cross country. And Aris doesn’t need to recruit, because his methods turn talented kids into champions.
Aris’s boys’ teams consistently place in the top five at NXN. To put this in perspective, it’s a tremendous honor to be among the forty teams invited to compete at NXN. Scoring in the top five puts the F-M boys in the absolute stratosphere of high school cross country.
The lessons for retailers are clear: if you want to be a champion, it might be a good idea to start investing a significant portion of your time in getting to know your employees’ and customers’ dreams – then do all you can to help them realize them.
Here's to investing in your dreams!