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Salesmanship: What’s going on?

by Warren Tyler

Driving anywhere with my wife is sure to turn into a “Do you mind if we stop here for a minute?” times 10. The stops may include Walgreens, Target, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks and/or Macy’s. If a man needs something, he drives to the store, enters, goes directly to the needed item, makes the purchase and moves on. Women, on the other hand, when shopping for something specific, will walk through a store and look at more than her intended purchase.

If you’ve been in sales for a while, you will have noticed that even if she sees the exact flooring she wants immediately upon entering your store (of course you have to be perceptive enough to know this), she will still want to look at everything you have just in case she sees something better. These and the dozens of other distinctive shopping behaviors of men and women are explained in my new book, “Yes! No! Maybe So!” Failure to recognize these behavioral differences will cost you sales.

Just recovering from surgery, I am not allowed to drive so I have been subjected to several of my wife’s “Do you mind if we just stop here for a minute?” The point of this column is that as Tara and I make these stops, I am overwhelmed by the fact that every shopping mall parking lot is overflowing. People seem to be out spending money. My wife’s clients of property managers, real estate agents and remodelers seem to be busier as well. One of David Elyachar’s (a.k.a Big Bob) Kansas City stores is up 35%. Several of my clients have reported increased sales. I have noticed that some of the old style chains aren’t doing as well, but those who have adapted to the electronic revolution are having noticeably better results.

Whatever is causing this uptick in business, I question not. The health care program will cost Americans higher taxes, increased premiums and price increases across the board. You and I have created more jobs than government. The only factors for an increase I can see are:

1. Three years of pent-up demand

2. 90% of us are still working

3. The indominitable American spirit.

Getting better

Because of my obsession with sales training I had put off needed surgery to fulfill some training dates, primarily Surfaces, which I wouldn’t miss for anything. Another date was a two- day session at Pospisil’s, a $3 million-plus client who has used my training materials for years.

Driving from Omaha to Norfolk, Neb., was nothing but beef farms and a few rural towns seemingly made up of huge grain silos. Entering Norfolk, a sign states the population—23,000—is the biggest town in the area. Todd Pospisil owns his building, also housing a furniture store and an interior design center. His own store is both sophisticated and beautiful, no doubt due to his staff of intelligent women. It’s always a thrill to work with professionals.

To many of you who operate in much larger population centers his sales may seem improbable, but Todd’s sales are up and he looks for more increases despite the economy. His people realize that attitude isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.

Get attitude

This month I will be at Coverings, the premier tile and stone show. These products are among the strongest sellers in the industry. Even if you already offer tile and stone, you need to attend. Check the education schedule so as not to miss my session. Learn how attitude can change your life.