I was working away and listening to the Conversation Hour on ABC radio this morning and ended up stopping and taking notes on what the businessman Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman had to say about what makes for a great sales person.
Anyone who is building their own business knows that being good at sales is vital for growth and success but many are daunted by doing the selling.
Gerry thinks there are far more people out in the world that would be great salesmen and saleswomen but just don’t know that they are because they haven’t given it a go.
He told the story of employing a young woman straight out of university after completing her degree, achieving at extra curricula endeavours and ready to start her corporate life. Gerry said he would take her on, mentor her weekly as long as she did what he said and that she would have to start on the sales floor for a year. This she initially baulked at but agreed to.
She was assigned to a store with some of the best sales staff and with months she was top of the sales and had Gerry and the store manager stumped how a young person with no sales training could beat other experienced and talented sales people.
So they checked out her method and it was the same tried and tested way that Gerry developed for himself. Like him, she had figured out how to sell the natural way. So how did she do it? Easy, by:
* being genuine with customers so people feel comfortable
* listening to what the customer is saying so to figure out what they want, why the want it and what needs looking after as this makes it easy to offer the right product (or service).
* good communication skills so customers understood the information being given to them and felt heard. This also includes approaching people to offer service and being available to help.
* reasonable product knowledge level – knew enough to answer questions and when to get more information but not too much so that customers were inundated with too much information.
* looks people in the eye so comes across as honest and reliable.
People become customers when they trust what you, what you say and the product meets their needs. Being pushy creates distrust, being genuine and listening builds trust.
The other interesting point Gerry made was that she had an open and trusting face. The specific facial features that communicate this will vary from culture to culture and is not really something you can learn, except for your facial expressions.
So you can be a successful sales person without formal training, just by being open and genuine with customers.
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All the best,
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