Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sales Skills 101: Give Customers an Option

A few months ago I joined a DVD rental club called Vclub located in the San Gabriel Square. The idea of the store is pretty simple:
  • The DVD renting machines operate 24/7
  • You use their machines to return DVDs, browse the catalog and get DVDs. No human is involved in the process
  • There's no limit on how long you can rent a DVD, but you can only keep 1 or 2 DVDs (depends on your plan) at one time
  • There's no limit on how many DVDs you would like to watch in one year (or one month, depends on your plan)
  • You can reserve a DVD using their website
When you sign up as a member, they also give you some credits so that you can use them to trade for their gifts, such as a DVD player (not sure if this is still true though). One bad thing about it is that they don't really have DVDs for TVB's series and those are usually the ones I like to watch.

So, I thought to myself,

"Hmmm what should I do? On one hand, I really would like to get a region free DVD player. On the other hand, I'm not really interested in TV series other than the ones from TVB, so I may not end up watching that many of them, which is not worth the money..."

"There's no hurry! You can go home and think about it and come back anytime if you're interested," said the salesgirl with a sweet smile on her face.

So I left the store and thought about the deal as I wandered around the plaza. At last, I went back and signed up as a member.

And it turned out that TV series produced by mainland China were pretty good too :P

As good as the TV series from China can be, however, I would not have signed up if not because of the excellent attitude that salesgirl had when she tried to sell the membership to me.

I'm a very detail-oriented person, so you can guess that I have asked her quite a lot of questions about the plan. She patiently answered all the questions and explained to me until I got all the details right. When I was about to leave, not only didn't she give me any pressure, she greeted me happily and welcomed me to come back if I was interested.

If you are/want to be a salesperson, remember this: always, SINCERELY, give the customer an option to say no to your product/service.


This is perhaps the No. 1 rule a salesperson should abide by, and it's so obviously true, right? Believe it or not, MANY, MANY salespeople that I encountered before have absolutely no idea about it. (Or, they know about it but choose to ignore it, which is like knowing that studying will improve you grade but you choose to be lazy)

When you try to sell something to a customer, the customer isn't merely buying the product/service. S/he is also buying your attitude: the tone of your voice, your facial expression, your body movements, your smile, basically everything the customer can perceive from you. No matter how tiny it is, the customer can feel it.

You want to sell something to earn a commission, trust me, the customer knows about it (Duh, you're a salesperson). There's just no need to convey any additional message about how much you want to sell (such as frowning when the customer says no).

What the customer cares about is whether s/he needs the product/service, and, actually even more important, whether s/he is happy buying it from you.

Frown at me when I say no to you? Even I need it, I won't buy it from you; there're always some other people selling the same stuff. I'll probably ask my friends not to go to your store too.

Sincerely give me the option to buy it from you or your competitor? Even if I don't buy it from you this time, I'll definitely visit your store again and perhaps buy some other products and refer my friends to you.

If you can't even do this simple thing, that is, giving customers an option, don't be a salesperson, do something else. Both your boss and customers will thank you for your decision :P