The term salesman is something that can send shivers up a spine.
Images can evoke of pushy real estate men, used-car salesmen and even worse, pyramid selling people. However it doesn’t have to be like that at all.
Phoebe Garland co-owns Garland & Garland Fashion, a leading fashion agency based in Sydney. which also offers business mentoring & project management of marketing to the fashion industry. www.garlands.com.au
The best sales people are people who won’t even appear to be selling to you. You will believe that the person honestly cares about you and your business and here’s the thing – they actually will. Instead of a dodgy sales person you will see a person who has thorough product knowledge and who is passionate, not pushy.
A good salesperson will be all the things they appear and they will mean what they say and have complete integrity.
For example, the other day we turned down a 100k+ order. Yes you heard right. We turned it down, didn’t even attempt to sell to her. It wasn’t easy, but it was the right decision.
Why? Because we are deeply concerned about this retailer’s business and their mounting debts and we are very keen to keep them in business for the long term, even if that means turning away large orders for the short term, we are prepared to do that. Sometimes the best sales strategy is actually not to sell, developing trust in sales is imperative.
To gain consistency in sales in any industry, your long-term goal is obviously repeat business and there is no point in taking one order if they aren’t going to be around for the next one. One of the best lessons I learned in my early days of sales was to build loyalty, credibility, trust and to help people.
I had a wonderful ex-boss who became a great friend, and she gained a lot of loyalty and love from her clients through her nurturing and caring approach. Through helping people (it doesn’t matter which industry you work in) you gain trust and credibility and in the long term sales will usually follow.
Here are my top sales tips:
• Understand the product you are selling, gain knowledge of it so you can sell to others.
• When you get the sale, ensure you keep a good relationship with that person afterwards.
• Help people, give them your time, gain trust by acting with integrity, don’t be a rookie.
• Don’t speak badly about your competitors – it reflects badly on you and is bad salesmanship.
• Empower the person you are selling to, make them feel confident in what they are buying, don’t be patronizing or bully them, understand their business to tailor sell the right things to them.
• Be honest about certain shortcomings in a fashion range, if something is a better alternative for the price or suits them better, suggest it, they will appreciate your honesty.
• Be courteous about rejection, the biggest sales mistake is to dismiss someone when you don’t get a sale. They will remember you for being nasty to them, and this applies to retail and wholesale.