I was recently looking for a product to use and being a staunch advocate of Direct Sales, I thought I would look there first! What an interesting and educational experience that has been! So here are some tips we might all want to keep in mind when given a sales opportunity:
Build the customer first. It was shocking how many people tried to recruit me before I even tried the product! I wasn’t looking for business (my plate is fairly full as a coach, speaker and corporate trainer). I was looking for a product to fill a need. Perhaps if I was blown away enough by the product, I might become interested in the business.
Discover my needs. I got a lot of canned sales pitches and a lot of people telling me what I needed without even finding out about ME. A good sales person asks questions! The good ones asked about my goals, my anticipated usage…. some even asked me about my favorite flavors. One even told me which flavors to avoid because SHE didn’t like the taste! It moved her from a sales person to a friend making a recommendation.
Listen to what I am looking for. I am the slightest bit of a granola consumer. I believe that artificial sweeteners are not good for us. As a matter of fact, I gave up soft drinks (I was a diet coke junkie) for lent and never went back. There is quite a bit of unflattering research on artificial sweeteners and I think that if God had intended for me to ingest it, it would grow or breathe. I am not saying I am right, but it is MY belief system.
My desire to avoid artificial sweeteners is called and “inherent objection”. That is something about the product that can not be changed. As the sales person, you have two choices: 1) step me to another product or 2) acknowledge that you don’t have anything to meet my needs. There is a third option, try to convince me that I am wrong. Several went that route. I would not suggest this approach, it is destined to fail as it is combative and hostile.
Soft sell me. I happen to be a commander/driver. You can not bully me or cajole me. Telling me that I am wrong or uneducated is fuel to the fire. And regardless of a person’s personality, a very ineffective sales strategy. A good sales person is an adviser and a friend. They make recommendations based on their knowledge of the subject AND your needs. Two reps sent a hand written notes in their sample pack… it gave me a warm fuzzy!
Know your Product. I got a lot of interesting answers and found that many people simply do not know what is in their products. I got a lot of pseudo science and crazy answers. But there were some who did a beautiful job of telling me what was in their product but how it compared to others on the market. Very impressive.
Care about me! I am not a walking dollar sign. I actually had someone friend me for the sole purpose of selling me something. The message wasn’t “Hey a friend mentioned you were looking for X. If you’d like I would be happy to share with you….”. It was more like “Here is my website to order”.
Make it personal. Before/Afters and personal testimonials sell product! Why else would we as a nation buy things like the Flowbee, pajama jeans and the shakeweight?!?! Before & Afters and testimonial captivate us. Be sure yours is strong and utilize your companies literature.
Respect my time. Plese do not send me a 10 minute video to watch. My time is valuable (as is everyone’s). YOU take YOUR time and answer my specific questions. That is YOUR job if you want my business!
All in all it was an interesting experience. There were some standouts who did a beautiful job out of the dozen I dealt with. As a sales person YOU represent the DS industry… make us look good!! ! Kuddos go to:
Sharpen your skills at http://directsalesinstitute.com/
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