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It’s December

Since the best sales people think like buyers, take advantage of December to work on self-awareness.¬† Most of us will be doing holiday shopping, if not personal shopping.¬† Here’s a good awareness exercise while shopping: How do you like to be treated by sales people, even at retail?

I wasn’t Christmas shopping (no, I’m not the Scrooge, in this particular moment I wasn’t Christmas shopping, but trust me,¬†Ghost of Christmas Future, I will be soon!), I was¬†looking for a new suit.¬†¬†I walked into

one of my favorite men’s stores and up to the suit department.¬† Several salespeople asked if I needed help, and I politely declined — for I like to get in to my zone, eye out a suit (or any piece of apparel), then, as I start to sell myself, begin asking questions in which, yep, I hope the the salesperon does the right things to help me buy!

But not¬†this salesperson.¬† Soon I was in a scene from the movie¬†“Platoon” shouting, “Incoming!¬† Incoming!”¬† A sales lady was launching one shell after another — showing me jacket after jacket, telling me how good¬†one (very expensive)¬†jacket looked on me, pulling matching trousers off the hanger and insisting I try¬†them on.¬† She also began pulling the pins out of a very nice business shirt, since I was in a Saturday sweater, and I didn’t want to see the store squander their inventory.¬† I was beginning to feel indebted, without having even enquired, merely by walking in to their place of business.¬† I retracted a bit.¬† So she grabbed another suit, and said, “And how about this?¬† A great suit for important meetings”

I had to run for cover.¬† I had apparently strayed in to enemy territory.¬† I politely declined, smiled, strolled to the other side of the section (near the stairs, my foxhole,¬†to depart) but she persisted.¬† I was still polite (I think) when I evasively asked, “Until what time will you be open?”… even though, I had no interest in coming back on her shift!

This sales person wasn’t helping me buy, wasn’t going at my pace, and didn’t read my polite (really I was, you know, polite) signals as objections.¬† She was trying to sell me product.¬† I didn’t want to be sold to.¬† I only wanted to buy.¬† If she were thinking like a buyer, she would’ve backed off and allowed me to… sell myself on something, before helping me work through the details when I was good and ready.¬† Instead, she lost the sale.

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  • Good point and we all know that you must think from perspective of the customers when selling but in real life, its hard to imagine what the customer is thinking, until… you receive this cold call at home from someone else and he/she goes on and on about her product for at least 5 min without giving me a little space to tell: “I dont speak your language and did not understand a word.” And then, when you are in the customer seat, you finally understand…
    The example in the shop is a very good example and I think its important for every sales person to put yourself in the customer seat (really!) before making a pitch.

  • You’re right, Irina. Putting yourself in the customer’s perspective is not always as easy as it sounds, but thinking of your-SELF as the buyer often helps the process.
    Thanks for the comment… more posts to come!