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What do you Say?

Making a sale by knowing what to say

Your job entails a lot of talking every day; talking to customers that call as well as those that walk into your business. If you are like most of us, your learning experience concentrated more on the technical side of the business; learning how to read manuals, look up part numbers, locate the parts on the shelf, and then write the ticket to complete the sale.

For too many of us, the person to person skills part of the educational experience was little more than being told to greet each customer, answer their questions, be polite, and perhaps that all too common, "the customer is always right". If that is the gist of your experience, then someone, or several people over the years have done you a tremendous disservice.

If you would like to see an immediate and drastic change in the amount that you sell, then may we suggest that you read this article, and then clip it of the magazine, and put it in a place where you can easily and often refer to it. If you receive a bonus based upon sales, you are going to see an improvement in your pay check. Most definitely, you are going to experience more and more customers that are going to ask for you by name and want to do business exclusively with you.

As we first mentioned, you probably have a lot of technical knowledge. That comes from attending classes created by vendors who are providing you and your company with annual updates to the new vehicles year after year. When you are speaking with some installers, you find they have as much technical knowledge as you do. With the majority of installers and do-it-yourself customers, you are the one that has the most knowledge.

When you begin to share this knowledge with your customer, you may think that you are able to complete the sale because you have shared it with them. Oddly enough, this is not true. People do not decide to make a purchase because they understand. They make a purchase because they think you understand. They purchase something because you now know what it is they are working on, and all of the possible problems they can run into as they are making the installation or doing the repairs. They believe that you are genuinely interested in them and with your technical knowledge have prepared them to solve the problem with on their vehicle.

The second step is to know how to control the conversation between you and your customer. As any conversation occurs between two people, there is a substantial difference in the rate at which words are exchanged. The person speaking can do so at a rate that does not exceed 150 words per minute. The person listening is capable of hearing and understanding 500 words per minute. This means that whoever is doing the listening is most likely having their thoughts wander. After all, they do have plenty of spare time as their mind is capable of processing a lot more than the person speaking can give.

Perhaps you have someone that is shopping in your business. They are asking a lot of questions. You begin to give an answer, but within a moment or two, you sense that the customer is not with you. Their mind is wandering. How can you get them back with you?

The answer to this all too frequent occurrence is that you need to stop talking. You need to be the one controlling the conversation, and you do so by being the one asking the questions instead of the one answering the questions. Why did you pick this one? What happened to your old one? What did you like most about the old one? What did you like least about the old one?

As you ask these, and more questions, it is now your mind that has the free time to wander. Except with your free time, you are thinking about the answers the customer is giving. And with each answer you are narrowing in on what it is that the customer really needs.

Most likely what the customer needs is not what they wanted. By asking these questions, not only are you controlling the sale, you are able to focus in on that particular product that the customer really needs to make them happy. Perhaps you have taken many calls, or had a customer in the shop, where the person is asking several questions. One of the questions is, "how much?"

When this happens, it is a sign that the sales person has lost control of the situation. Not only have you lost control because it is the customer asking the questions, instead of you asking them, but the "how much?" question is a sure sign that the customer has placed you on the same level as a competitor. Unfortunately, it is a very low level as neither you or the competition have gotten the customer to see any added value in what you do.

Asking the questions, gaining information, and then suggesting what the customer needs is the one sure way to make sure a customer gets the right item, and most likely the item that is more profitable for you.

Let's look at the situation from another standpoint. Imagine a person calling your business and asking for a part. And then they begin to ask questions about that part. Questions that a qualified person is going to be able to easily answer. A ticket is written and the sale is complete. What did you sell them?

The answer is absolutely nothing! Nothing was sold because all we did was write up the ticket for what the customer asked for. Think about selling any part or accessory within your business. How many related items can you name? If they are selecting something to install, how many and what tools does it take to complete the installation?

If we are talking about parts under the hood that are being replaced, what other parts are likely to be worn out as this part is being replaced? What if we were to sell the customer only the part they had asked for? They will likely call or return an hour later to ask for that other part we just mentioned. If you say to the customer, "Oh yeah. That happens a lot of the time. When one goes, the other is usually not far behind it."

Haven't you done your customer a great disservice? We have caused them to waste a lot of their time and effort. Simply because we did not take the time to share just a little bit of that product knowledge and experience that we have.

One last point. If you are looking for a quick and easy line to use with a walk in or phone customer, look no further. "Say, have you seen the new ...?"

That is all it takes to get a conversation going. We all like to see and know what is new. After all, that is why you look at a newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch TV. You want to see what is new. Don't you think that something that is new in your business is just as interesting as that which is new in the media? Your customer does, and it is your opportunity, as well as responsibility, to share that with them.

Want to make a difference? These techniques surely will. Why? Because 84% of people state they cannot distinguish one business from another. Your competition is probably trying to distinguish themselves with expensive signs, or a slick advertising campaign. It is a lot easier, less expensive, and more profitable to achieve a bigger difference when you do so with the way you interact with your customer.

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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(727) 464-2182
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