Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Art of Selling

by June T. Bassemir

The world of selling was taught to me many yrs. ago at a lovely NY department store called Arnold Constable.   This was before the meg-a-stores of today but the same principles of selling still apply. 

The first thing you must learn is that everyone that comes through your door is paying your salary.  It doesn’t matter if they buy something or not.  How you treat them is vital to your business.  They either go away with a good feeling of: “I like this store.”…. or “Well….. I’ll never go there again.”

Here is an example:  Recently, I visited a small organic farm store on the eastern end of Long Island. The dirt driveway leading to the building gave ample warning to the salesperson within, that a customer was driving up, but as I opened the screen door the attendant was seated behind the counter reading a book.  There was no greeting. Vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and onions were neatly displayed on the short counter.  I asked the price of the tomatoes to the seated lady.  “Four dollars”, she said but no smile framed her mouth and after a wordless minute I paid her and left with a plastic bag of cherry tomatoes.  What had just happened? She received $4.00 for the pint size box of tomatoes but did I feel like coming back for any other vegetables she had to offer?  No.  Was the book she was reading so important that she couldn’t put it down to greet me or even thank me after I paid her?  No.  Will I tell anyone in my social circle what a great place it is to find organic food?  No. 

Now take the same experience and apply good salesmanship to it.  The long driveway alerts the salesperson (who may be reading a book) that a customer is coming.  She gets up before the customer comes in; puts the book away and straightens the boxes on the counter to show she is busy.  A happy greeting is made to the customer as she enters the door and light conversation follows.  “Yes, the cherry tomatoes are $4.00 a pint but they have been organically grown and are tasty.”  Four dollars is given to the saleslady and then the customer looks at the other vegetables mentally noting what the place has to offer.  “Do you need any onions or lettuce” asks the lady?  “Not at the moment.” the customer replies …”but it’s nice to know that you have them and I may get them in the future.”  As the woman leaves she is thanked by the attendant and expresses a wish that she have a good day.  Yes, it is an oft repeated phrase but it’s appreciated.  Now what has happened?  Was there a good feeling between the two women?  Yes.  Will the customer come back for other purchases?  Yes, because you see, there is more to selling than exchanging money for products and most salespeople do not know this or if they know it they don’t care. 

If I were looking for a job, I would like to be the one to teach The Art of Selling to new employees.
copyright June T. Bassemir, 2012

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