Don’t Be Like Joe!

I recently observed an experienced sales person make a presentation to a couple looking to buy several rooms of carpeting. I’ll call him Joe. He did many things correctly. He rose to greet the customers. He offered his name and asked theirs. He was both dressed and groomed professionally. So far, so good. Then Joe made a too often repeated mistake – he began to “educate” the customer.

He proceeded to tell these poor folks everything that he wanted to say without asking what it was that they were hoping to hear. Joe sure knew his face weights, twist levels and cushion densities. He seemed to be on a mission to save the poor misguided customers from themselves.

The problem was that these folks, who by now are glazed over, didn’t come in looking for a 40 oz. nylon carpet with 4.5 twists per inch installed over an 8 lb. cushion. They came in looking for a beautiful floor that would be a joy to come home to. They came in looking for a carpet that would be easy to maintain. They came in looking for a floor that would be comfortable for both the children and the family dog to lie upon. And while they may not have admitted it, they likely were also looking for a floor to impress their friends and neighbors when they entertained in their home.

Instead, what they got was an “education”.  Always remember that customers really don’t care what it is that a product does. They want to know what it is that a product will do for them. It is imperative that we all sell with emotion. Great sales people are masters at painting a virtual picture for their clients to envision.

As these customers predictably left the store without purchasing, Joe actually stated to me that “they will be back when they see that I’ve got everything that they need right here”. As far as I was concerned, Joe had everything – except a clue as to why people buy. Don’t be like Joe!

Tom Jennings

Tuesday, February 28, 2012