Great sales people aren’t great because they know everything possible about the products they sell. They are great because they have the ability to transfer the excitement for the product to the customers interested in the equipment they are selling. While it’s important to know as much as you can about the equipment you sell, that alone won’t help you increase your sales. You goal is to present your products in a way that creates excitement and enthusiasm from your customers and motivates them to buy all they can from your dealership.
Both the image you create and excitement you generate are important elements in creating sales. The more confidence you have in yourself and knowledge of what you have to sell, the more customers will be drawn to do business with you.
Conveying a Professional Image
Let’s start with image. Take time each day and look at your sales area from an objective viewpoint. Is your showroom clean and inviting? Is your desk cleared of all clutter and mess — allowing plenty of room for only the items necessary when meeting with a customer? Are chairs available for customers and is your children’s play area clean of stains and dirt? Are the restrooms clean and fresh? Every day, you need to make sure the area where your potential customers walk into isn’t cause for them to walk away. Your store is an extension of you and your brand and it makes a quick and lasting first impression.
Now let’s take a quick look in the mirror. I realize this may be hard and you may have to get some help from someone with a “discerning” eye for this. Be sure that your shirt is ironed. You don’t need to overdress, but you must look professional, clean and approachable.
Professional image also includes language and manners. And if you might be driving a customer somewhere occasionally, then it includes your vehicle. Do all you can to make a great first impression.
Next, let’s focus our attention on your materials. Do you have your brochures and printed materials located in an accessible and visible area? Your excitement for your product lines will be evident in how you display materials and products. Make sure that you have displayed information that is up-to-date and reflects the products that you carry. Also, make sure that your printed materials, including order forms or note pads, are not stained with grease or coffee.
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Once you have your showroom and work area in great shape, take a few minutes to walk outside and make sure it is also ready to showcase your products in a way that will invite potential customers to come and take a look. For instance, is the outside area free of trash and clutter? If I were driving by, would I be enticed to pull in and take a look? If not, get busy cleaning.
Are the products shined up and looking good? Are the tires aired up and the batteries charged? Is there gas in the equipment that you might start up and demonstrate? You should feel confident in walking customers through the outside display area and demonstrating the products each day of the week.
Know Your Brands
Once you feel that the first-impression aspect of the sales area is ready, it is time to focus on your knowledge of the brands. The truth is you can’t get excited about something you know only a little about. Your next task is to invest time in learning about the line of products. During a portion of your downtime, read through the materials provided to you. Go out and fire up some of the products on your lot and learn everything you can about them and see how enjoyable they are to operate. The more hands-on experience you have, the more that will translate into the excitement you share about the products.
Finally, think about how you will communicate the brands to the customers you encounter. In sales, it is important that you incorporate what we like to call “glamour words” in your presentations. Instead of using the word “good,” use descriptive words like “exceptional,” “unique,” “solid” and “proven.” Other words you should incorporate include: exciting, cutting-edge, innovative, distinctive, recognized, established and outstanding.
The words you say really do make a difference and communicate a message that says you are excited about the brands and what they offer your customer.
Demonstrating the Product
As you begin to think about your time with the potential customer, it’s important you make sure they are going to be investing in the product that best fits their needs. Many sales people tend to believe that price has a lot to do with whether or not a customer will buy and so they steer customers to what they think the customer will buy. Yet, based upon studies, price has less to do with the decision the customer will make than does the perceived value that they are going to get from investing in and owning the equipment. This process of uncovering the needs and wants of a potential customer is called the qualification process and is vitally important if you are truly interesting in helping the customer purchase what will be the best equipment for their use.
As you move customers from qualification into the presentation process, it’s also important that you determine the most effective way to present your products to them. People primarily buy based upon one of three ways: what they see, what they hear or how it feels to them. With that in mind, I like to ask customers a quick question such as, “Would you prefer I showed you few of the features on this mower first, told you about the mower, or let you just grab hold of the handle and get a feel for it?”
By asking that question before I begin my presentation or demonstration, I am making sure that what I do from the very start is going to have maximum impact on the individual’s buying decision. Customers responding with “Give me a quick overview,” will most likely make a buying decision based on what they see, not what is said.
On the other hand if they say, “Tell me a little bit about how this mower would work on the hills on my property,” I know that what I say will have more impact on their buying decision than the actual equipment itself. Finally, they could say, “I would like to give it a quick try. Would you mind?” In that case, they will base their decision upon how the equipment handles and feels to them, and the verdict will have very little to do with what I show or tell them.
Based on their response to that question, I will take the information that I gather during the qualification process and begin to position the equipment in their mind to match the criteria they shared with me from the very beginning.
Of all the tools that you have at your disposal in sales, one of the most overlooked is the “lowly brochure.” Most dealers have a wall or a rack that is packed with beautiful and expensive brochures that are drooping over from lack of use. That is because most sales people have never been shown how brochures are actually supposed to be used. When customers come to your dealership to look at equipment one of two things will happen. They are either going to buy or they are going to leave. There is absolutely no middle ground. I don’t care how good or slick you are as a salesperson, it happens all the time.
That’s where your brochure comes into play. It becomes that tool you use to jot down notes, highlight, or draw on it as you work customers through this piece of the selling process. If the customer decides to buy from you, then you can toss out the brochure, no harm, no foul. On the other hand, if the customer decides to leave without buying, you have created a customized take-home sales piece, highlighting the key points both parties agreed on. When the customer goes home or talks to other dealers, your brochure serves as a reminder about you, your dealership and the equipment.
Next Installment: Building Customer Rapport and Loyalty
In Part 2, Clements looks at how one sales conversation can help establish the tools for a long-term relationship with a customer.