Monday, December 12, 2016

Remedy Reluctant Salesmanship

In the years just prior to World War II, comedian Al Pearce regaled radio audiences nationwide playing a character named Elmer Blurt. The story of Elmer was that each time he’d approach a residence, he’d nervously chant, “Nobody home, I hope, I hope, I hope.” The laughter from the radio audiences came because the rest of the story was that Elmer was a door-to-door insurance salesman. Not a highly successful salesman, we would conclude.
     I’ve encountered employees in retail stores who are equally reluctant to initiate a sales transaction. They’re more comfortable with their backs than with their bellies facing the shoppers. Some are simply very shy. They certainly don’t belong on the sales floor unless and until they overcome their introversion.
     I’ve also encountered store owners who show little enthusiasm about initiating a sale. These retailers seem burned out, and whatever momentum is keeping their business going is winding down. Protect your business by heading off burnout in yourself. Findings from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and University of Hong Kong support techniques like these:
  • Encourage shoppers to give you feedback 
  • Remind yourself of the importance of your store to the community 
  • Rearrange your tasks to add novelty 
     And sometimes the reluctance to sell well comes from a failure to genuinely believe in the sales claims you’re making. Recognizing this issue as important, researchers at Princeton University, University of Sydney, and McKinsey & Company-Paris outlined questions sellers can ask themselves to check for subconscious, potentially slippery bias. Here’s my version:
  • What information that you don’t have would you like to have in order to help you make more accurate claims for the product without losing what could be valuable selling opportunities? Get that information. 
  • Is your recommendation to a shopper based on what you’ve recommended to others? If so, check how those other recommendations worked out and that the situations are sufficiently similar. 
  • Are the numbers and stories you’re using in recommendations overall averages which mask a wide range? Are they extremes that mask typical situations? If either of these, come up with more representative numbers and stories. 
     Business researchers at Harvard University and University of Notre Dame analyzed instances in which retail businesses cheated customers. The researchers concluded that in many cases, the owners/operators did not intend to do wrong.
     Bring to mind the retailers you respect. Honor them, honor the best in yourself as a retailer, and honor salesmanship.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Shy Away from Frightening Off Introverts
Prefer Order Getters to Order Takers
Burn Out Resignation of Skilled Staff
Inform Consent in Shoppers & Yourself
Impassion Yourself to Arouse Shoppers
Honor Salesmanship

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