THIS IS NOT A GAME, THERE ARE NO TRICKS. That’s right no games and no tricks, anyone that ever tells you otherwise should be avoided. Tricks and games remove all integrity, respect and trust in the sales interaction and only serve to piss people off. Wait a second though, the title says The 7 Steps, doesn’t that imply some kind of game or system and there fore tricks? Nope, the 7 steps are there to help guide you through making sure your customer makes the right choice, has a great experience and refers more business to you, it’s a path that the two of you need to walk together.
Step 1 – Greeting. Sounds easy enough right, greet the person, it can be that easy but there is a problem. As consumers we are pre-programmed for some odd reason to always reply to a sales person asking if we need help with “just looking”. Don’t ask me why, I’m sure there are a number of explanations for it but the truth is we do this, even if we actually need help. Listen to yourself the next time you walk into a store to look for something and someone asks you for help. You automatically respond with, nope just looking, but wait you went in there to look for something and actually NEED help. So, here’s the way to make the greeting simple and effective, be happy, be clear and use something other then can I give you a hand/help you.
Wait a second though, your reading this and maybe your already a sales person and you already have a habit of using “can I give you a hand/help you”. No problem, truth be told, I catch myself doing this all the time. The way out of this is to simply ignore the automatic response of “just looking” and ask something like “was there something specific you where looking for” or make it product specific “did you maybe have some questions about _______?”.
Step 2 – Qualifying I’m only going to say this onetime, this is the most important part of the entire process, screw this up and you are setting yourself up for failure. This is where you need to find out the hopes, dreams, expectations, reasons for, shape, size, color, configuration, power, etc that the person standing in front of you is looking for. This is the part where you through open ended questions and careful listening find out what the person is looking for. Allowing you to determine what you have that best meets or exceeds their expectations. Get used to the word expectations, it’s going to come up a lot in a bit.
The goal here is simple, get as much information from the person as possible to be able to narrow down your presentation to two or three choices at the most. If in your mind you aren’t down to two or three choices then you aren’t done qualifying. If you don’t do this and instead move on to presenting choices to the person you are simply going to confuse them and make things more difficult for you both.
There is a brilliant gentleman named Dan Ariely and if you are involved in sales or customer service in any way then you need to read his books, Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality. He’s a Behavioral Economist and the books look at decision making processes and are incredibly interesting. One of the chapters called “Keeping Doors Open” looks at how we make decision when presented with different options and the take away from it is this. When we are presented with two options it is fairly simple for us to weigh out the pros and cons and make a decision, as soon as just one more options is added the decision becomes infinitely more difficult for us to make. Another of the chapters in Dan’s book talks about imprinting and this reinforces the importance of also finding out what else the customer has already looked at.
The other goal of qualifying is to build a rapport with the customer, it’s about them getting the feelings of trust, honesty and integrity from you. By listening, asking lots of good questions and genuinely showing interest in the other person you gain rapport. The fact is that you could write an entire book about qualifying and again I emphasize that is because it is the most important part of the process. I’m not going to do that here though, this is a more compact conversation we are having dealing with bigger picture ideas. On that note, that’s enough for today I think.