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Retail education: Match maker

by Kelly Kramer

The television and radio stations are flooded with commercials telling you that you need to pay them to find you a mate. My personal opinion on this is so many people have made poor choices for mates/spouses in their past they feel they need guidance the second, third or fourth time around.

I got very lucky the first time around when I married my wife Anne. But I was a bachelor until I was 30. Not that there weren’t a number of would-be candidates willing to marry before that time, there was just never the perfect one.

You might say I was a little too picky, but to me a lifetime decision needed to be just that. But I can certainly see why so many people rush into such a decision based on just love or infatuation. Maybe a trained counselor service is wise for them.

To me it is like selling flooring. A few of our customers just jump at the first fancy thing or low priced item that catches their eye, while some over-study the situation and perhaps never find the correct match. Both of these scenarios happen because we as salespeople do not properly do our job.

I’ll give you a couple of examples. Before a training class I conducted for a very large chain, the company owner introduced me to a young salesman. He then explained in front of this up-and-comer that his dollar volume was high but his profit was too low. As he continued to explain his situation, he said he sold only the leader items.

I thought about it and then I said to him, “You remind me of myself when I first started selling. My numbers were always at the top and that was something I was proud of. But the problem was that I was selling on price only and that meant I had no concern for my buyer in the long run. Just because low-end junk does sell, it does not make for return or repeat buyers.”

I went on to tell him, “If you plan on selling for more than just a few years you need to put each and every buyer in front of the right product for the amount of time they need it to look nice for them. Sure there are some buyers who only need short-term junk to fit their needs, but most want something that will perform for a longer time.

“Plus,” I added, “you’re preying on peoples’ ignorance to make your living. If you want to make even more money, learn to make your buyer want to refer you for years to come. To do that you need to learn about my customer interview process and how to properly tie product knowledge in with the interview.”

I wish someone had taught me this when I was still the age of that young salesperson.

The next example concerns the over thinker. This is a person who desperately wants knowledge and to make a wise decision.

She bounces from store to store to get what little information possible, then she tries to price shop with that little bit of information and simply becomes more frustrated.

When I get this kind of shopper and she asks for a comparative price I never give it to her. First, because burning a price helps no one. But more importantly, a person who continues to shop has yet to be shown the right product. Without a good customer interview, no one can explain to her why you are showing her the best product and deal for that matter.

So be a thorough sales advisor and that will make you a matchmaker.

Thanks for reading.