I love killer salespeople.
You know the type – they sneak up on you and sell the sh*t out of you, leave you standing there, empty wallet in hand, “I ain’t mad at cha” playing in your head. I have mad respect for killer salespeople. The aesthetician who did my facial and sold me an expensive facial package before the one I was getting was complete? Killer salesperson. The massage therapist who sold me an annual membership to the massage studio even though I secretly loathe getting massages? Killer salesperson. Though not what most would consider salespeople in the traditional sense of the word, there’s a common thread linking these everyday sales ninjas together; they understand why their customers buy and that understanding keeps them counting greenbacks all the way to the bank. But, If understanding why customers buy is so important and can drive sales, how come it’s so often ignored? And, what is ignoring it costing in terms of lost sales? Here, a quick story of how a killer salesperson at the Chanel counter’s understanding of the why increases sales, creates happy customers, and pads her paycheck may illustrate it best.
A quick trip to the Chanel counter for foundation usually goes something like this:
Salesperson: “Welcome to Chanel. What can I get you today?”
Salesperson: “Which one are you using?”
I respond, they get it for me, transaction complete.
But every few months I have a run-in with their killer salesperson (cue theme music from Jaws here):
Salesperson: Thick accent, “Welcome to Chanel! It’s so good to see you again!” Immediately, a look of concern crosses her face. “Oh.” She sounds disappointed. “Dry skin (as she touches my cheek)? The weather has been so unreasonable, no?”
Me: My shoulders slump.
Salesperson: “Mmmm.” More disappointment. “Anti-aging (as she taps under my chin).” It’s not a question, rather an order.
Me: “Well, my skin is kind of dry…” She smells blood in the water.
Salesperson: “I know, darling, I noticed right away. Not that you’re not stunning, of course, but I have somesing that will make you so radiant, so beautiful, take years off your face…I will get it for you right away.” She rushes away leaving me in her Chanel-scented wake, desperate to be hydrated and young, wallet open, credit card poised.
We eventually get to why I’m there (the foundation, remember?) but that’s after I’ve agreed enthusiastically to the $450 worth of products she slathered onto, and massaged into, my face, and I wasn’t even mad. In the words of Salt n Peppa
, “I give props to those who deserve it.” She recognized my need
(to feel good about my skin, cover my imperfections, look hydrated and young, and spend money),
and my problem (my dry skin, my aging skin, my lack of foundation) and satisfied both. #winning
Okay, so how can understanding why the customer buys translate to the salon? Let’s consider the service desk coordinator’s role in the client’s purchasing decision. Oftentimes, the receptionist has the opportunity to interact with the guest before the stylist, but the average service desk coordinator looks up from her magazine at the guest looking at products in the retail area and then goes back to her magazine. After looking up a second time, she may ask (halfheartedly), “Did you need any help finding anything?” to which the answer is usually, “No.” Now, based on the Chanel counter sales experience I shared, what could the service desk coordinator do differently? How about walk out from behind the desk and approach the guest? “Mrs. Jones, it’s great to see you! I’d love to help you choose a product today. Tell me, what is it about your hair that you’re not in love with right now?” The service desk coordinator’s dialogue with the guest creates opportunities to discover how she can a.) satisfy a need or b.) solve a problem. A tiny change in what she does can actually increase sales!
This weekend, brainstorm some ideas on how you can up your sales game and become a killer salesperson. Rehearse the examples of sales dialogue, record yourself or role play with a colleague or friend, then pick one thing to implement this week. After you’ve tried your strategy, let me know how you did. I’d love to hear!