Partake of these powerful points to polish your presentation and pump up your sales production
BY GERRY MORRIS
WHY DO WE LIKE ALLITERATION? It seems the repetition of consonants has a mnemonic effect–a memory hook–that has been proven to help us retain information.
So let’s have a little fun, with a purpose, and eat some “P” soup–my version of the popular book Chicken Soup for the Soul. There is something intriguing and uncanny (pun intended) about the number of Ps that apply to mattress sales. Peter Piper would be green with envy. (Sorry, puns can be groaners, but I still like them.)
The process of selling
I frequently use alliteration in sales training seminars to identify and help teach the three phases of the selling process.
Preparation, presentation and “phollow-up.” (It’s called a literary license.) These are things you do before, during and after the sale.
Think of these three separate sequential actions as having equal importance. Like the analogy of the three-legged stool, each leg is dependent on the other. Be sure to spend appropriate time and effort on each one.
1 Preparation. This includes the many elements prior to the sale, beginning with physical appearance. Each day should begin with a visual check of yourself, your store, displays, models and point-of-purchase materials. The key is to use preventive maintenance. Don’t wait until something looks like it needs cleaning, straightening or replacing. By then, shoppers already will have noticed.
Prior to hitting the floor, equip yourself with all the information you’ll need about promotions, pricing, inventory and delivery schedules. Don’t get caught flat-footed.
Preparation also includes mental and emotional readiness. Allow enough time for internal preparation. Calm and reassuring confidence, competence and compassion instill trust with shoppers.
Sales training is the most vital element of preparation. We take a closer look at that later in this story.
2 Presentation. Focus on and adapt to each shopper. Partner with her to discover her unique circumstance and needs, and then be able to guide her to models that satisfy her needs and enhance her quality of life. Presentations should be directed toward and lead to goal-oriented conversations.
3 Phollow-up. Writing up the sale is great, but remember the sale isn’t complete until the mattress set is in the home. Even then, there is an adjustment period and, for many, the comfort-guarantee period. Always follow up and stay in touch with customers to make sure they truly are satisfied with their purchase. Conclude with a thank-you note, along with reminders on what to expect and how to take care of their products.
Be sure to seek testimonials, referrals and notes on possible future needs.
The three Ps of sales training
Sales training is the foundational tool of competence and confidence. All the other issues won’t make up for being underprepared. “Just lookers” most often are empowered shoppers who keep shopping until they find a trustworthy retail sales associate.
To be truly effective, you must take a balanced, holistic and integrated approach to selling that considers the three components of the whole person along with their corresponding training components. Guess what they start with?
1 Perspectives–What you know. The key element, of course, is product knowledge, which is not simply a memorization of specifications. It is an ongoing quest to truly and objectively understand what makes products feel and perform the way they do.
2 Practices–What you do. Selling skills are the practical application of your knowledge. It’s a separate discipline that necessitates understanding shoppers’ motivations and attitudes toward mattresses and the shopping mission. RSAs must acquire the ability to combine the two to communicate with shoppers in a language they can understand and in a manner they find reassuring.
3 Principles–Who you are. This includes how you see yourself, your job, your products, and other people, including co-workers, shoppers, customers and competitors. There is only one way to go–total honesty, integrity, transparency, confidence, conviction and compassion for others.
If there is a secret to sales, it’s the combination of product knowledge, selling skills and a genuine concern for the well-being of others.
Let’s add some spice to the soup
• Patience. Take the necessary time with each shopper, regardless of her needs.
• Perseverance. Close the sale. Objections are often requests for more information. Not closing the sale is a waste of your shopper’s time–not to mention yours.
• Practice. Keep a journal of successful sales and disappointments to analyze for future encounters.
• Productivity. Use down time to clean, organize and prepare for the next shopper.
• Punctuality. Always get to work early to be fully prepared to hit the floor.
• Pillow-tops. Be sure to ask why your shopper wants a pillow-top. Many say because they have a friend who has one. Uh oh, a return waiting to happen.
• Protectors and pillows. A must for every sale–for the customer’s benefit, not your quota.
• Proper support. Most people think they have it. You must ask them to describe it or get ready for a warranty complaint.
• Promotions. Make sure you know what’s being advertised–by your store and your competitors’.
Pass the Ps please! Eat heartily and watch your sales sprout.
Gerry Morris is an author, consultant and training coach with more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry. Morris’ Inner Spring training company recently formed a strategic partnership with The Furniture Training Co. to offer a premium online training course, “Sell More Mattresses with Gerry Morris.” To view the course, visit www.furnituretrainingcompany.com.