There are reasons why we buy products from certain companies instead of others. Most potential clients would form the first impression of your company via the salesman because the salesperson is usually the only person that they will deal with. To illustrate my point, let me give you an example of 2 salespersons selling a toner product for the printers used in my office. I’ve changed their names to protect their identities.
- Lack of product knowledge and had to refer to an A4 printout in her bag for every question that I ask her
- From the dressing, I could see that she is quite poor. She wore an old imitation Crocs sandals that is sold for RM20 in the market (somehow, I had a feeling that was her best shoes)
- Uses self pity to elicit sympathy with the hope that I would buy from her. She said the fact that she needed to feed her son. Everyone one of us need to feed the family, that’s why we work. But in order to be more effective in sales, we need to improve on our appearance and master the products that we are selling (more on that later…)
- When I checked with her on a pricing of toner for my printer model, she did not know- she tried to call somebody to check but no one picked up her call.
- She could not provide me with any name card or the details of the company
- Good product knowledge and speak with confidence
- Down to earth with a relaxed and friendly disposition.
- Always return phone calls promptly, even when he was on leave
- Can remember what type of printer that I am using in office and therefore can quote price offhand
- Dresses in neat office attire and have name cards to pass around
- When asked about prices of product he is not sure of, he calmly tell me he will find out and the next day, faxes the quotation straight to my office (he need not ask me for my office fax number- he already have it in his record)
- Can show up at short notice if really urgent.
- Make frequent office visits- even when we do not order- he will ask me if there is anything wrong with my printer or toner that needed help.
- When I asked him some questions because I was thinking of getting my own printers, he offered very good advice free of charge. And for everything he said, he gave a detailed explanation and good reason. As the result, even my colleague also buy the toner from him for her own home use.
I am sure by now you can guess from which person I bought the toner from. Not only that, I’ve also made the decision to buy everything that Alan’s company sells instead of getting it from different suppliers. In fact, we stopped doing business with a previous company because the company only engages an in house telemarketer and not an on-site salesperson. Like all clients, I buy because I felt the company is reliable- because of the good impression that Alan has given me. Yes, some of the items offered are slightly more expensive compared to the competitor- but for only a few dollars, I can be assured of good service. After all, it is not cheap that he has to make the trip and pay for the expensive parking in our building.
One more thing I am impressed with Alan is that he is only 19 years old and is actually studying part time. He worked to pay his tuition fees. The company only pays him a fixed salary (and of course cover all his parking and petrol as well) and he is not working on commission. But the company offered him certain flexibilities to accommodate his study schedule. He told me that he is not crazy about printers and computers but he learned it as part of the job. I could see that this guy would have a bright future ahead of him because he started off at such a young age. If he left the company, well, I may just consider switching back to his competitor.
The thing is, as a salesperson, you would normally not make the sale and gain customer’s confidence overnight. It is something you constantly need to work at, on small little doses. I did not start buying everything from him the first time- but over few months, he gained my confidence. And I remembered I was not really that friendly to him initially- it took a few of his visit and his willingness to clarify things about printers- that won me over. My boss agreed when I told him that what’s a few ringgit extra per order when you get good service.
Now, many salespeople would give up when they face initial rejections or cold treatment from their prospects. By giving up, they unknowingly lose out on a lot of good prospect. A lot of rejections are not personal, by the way. It’s just that most people are naturally cautious and reserved in nature, especially the decision maker. Salespeople would need to find a way of putting their face and presence in front of the prospect a few more times before finally able to close the sale.
Personally, I’ve had a few friends who never fit in the typical salesperson mould. And yet today, they are a full time salespeople selling service based products or solutions. What I realize now it is just that they would not just push any products to customers. If it is something that they believe would add value to lives and benefit others, only then they will sell with conviction and passion. They are not motivated solely by the money but by the fact that the job fits into their core values. They’re never into it just to make a quick buck but they view their career as long term. They are very service orientated and have been extremely loyal and caring friends. And they are willing to overcome their personal limitations (in dealing with the typical high rejection rates in the sales profession) in order to earn a living doing something that they believe in.
This is the mark of a true sales person.