Head’s Up From the Battle Front

Filed Under (OP Sales Training) by Don on 12-05-2008

It has been several weeks since my last post and for that I apologize.  Even though business as a whole has slowed I have been working hard to keep my reps motivated and focused.  I’ve made a conscious effort to stay away from the fiasco going on among several of the big boxes.  Frankly, I’m tired of reading and listening to the same news over and over and seeing basically no attention being paid to it by the national media.  There are plenty of good news sources available regarding those subjects so I will remain hopeful that the popular media tents will decide to stand up and take note.

While being “in the trenches” that last few weeks seeing customers and prospects my first goal being that of observation and listening I followed that carefully with a few questions to see where business was heading and what was important to people.  Obviously most everyone spoke with regards to the general slowing of business with reports of as much as 30%-40% declines in business.  One prospect was forced to lay-off 19 employees due to the mortgage and banking problems.  On the other hand I see some segments showing good growth and I see that commercial furniture sales are increasing as I predicted some time ago.  I recently received a lead on a furniture prospect where the potential business was estimated to be $10K but now several weeks later the job is coming in at over $140K (Retail).  A lot of things transpired during the course of this job and we competed with eight other major competitors to win the business.  Why did we win?  Personal service. Other competitors wanted to do quotes and discuss issues on the phone and via email.  My reps spent much time on premise reviewing potential layouts and most of all taking the time to talk to the employees that were going to be affected by the new furnishings and asking lots of questions.  By asking questions we were able to determine what the prospect really wanted and needed.  It is all about the customer/prospect, not just making the sale.

The last few weeks have shown that personal service and genuine concern about the customer wins the day.  I asked people about “green” products and was actually quite surprised that nearly 70% of the people I talked to wanted to purchase more “green” products and were comfortable with the additional cost related to those products.  People want to feel good about their purchases which should remind us that this is a primary reason why we buy.  Buying is an emotion and every time someone buys a product from you an emotion is involved.  When you come to a point that you understand how to reach that emotional trigger then selling just became much easier.

The last word:  “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”  -Brian Tracy

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