Strong economy, bad economy, we spend money in every economy. We have to eat, run our offices, manage our teams and that takes money. The question is, are we spending it with you or some other company that’s more attentive?
It’s clear to me that how you talk makes the difference and how you listen can make or break the sale.
How do you talk to your guests?
While browsing in a local computer store, I noticed the difference between two salesmen. One was attentive without overcrowding. He took my questions seriously and you could tell that he was excited about and deeply familiar with the product. This made him a pleasure to talk to.
When I shop local, I shop with him and I refer others to him. But when he’s not there I encounter another man who likes to tell you what canNOT be done—and it’s not often true. He doesn’t seem to know the product intimately. On top of that, there’s a quiet but clear pressure to buy right now or leave. However, large purchases don’t happen that quickly for me and when it is time to buy, my team — family, clients, friends in business — tend to follow suite.
Here’s the problem: that kind of atmosphere makes me look for a new place to shop. It causes me to reevaluate my own sales processes. Can people browse as long as they want and ask the questions they need without feeling like a nuisance? Am I a barrier to the purchase? Is your sales team a help or a hiccup?
At the end of a day, your guest (potential customer) wants the chance to see if your product has the answer to their problem. That tends to include browsing and questions. Are you and your sales team prepared for both?
Quick Tip: Use your website to create a great space for browsing. With a smart site that tells:
- who you are
- what you have
- why it matters
- how to get it
Your visitors can take their time as they move through your information and images. A smart website is good for business.
Do you listen to your shoppers?
I’m upgrading my accounting system (because it needs to be more fun and still accurate and effective). In the process I’m testing and contacting a lot of companies and interacting with multiple sales teams. I ran across an attentive agent at Shoeboxed.com  who answered a series of questions through their instant messaging system.
She made me feel as if she came to work just to help me find my answers. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t my best friend or anything like that, she just took the questions seriously and provided the kind of answers that assured me that she knew her stuff. Which was a far cry from the sales team that tried to close me while I still had questions on the table.
In this friendship economy where we probably share too much about ourselves with strangers, the truth is most of these connections are temporary and a means to an end. What lasts is real answers to real problems delivered as graciously and simply as possible.
Quick Tip: Your shoppers want you to be attentive to them and not your list and agenda. And in order to do that, you have to listen to those questions and provide real answers.
Shopping  Photo via Shutterstock