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.
I have previously worked as a personal assistant where I manage my boss’s office and to a certain extend, gets to make a decision on the company to choose for certain products. A simple product that we always use was toners for our printers because we print a lot of documents daily.
To illustrate my point on what makes a good salesperson, let me give you an example of 2 salespersons who sold toners to my office. Both their names have been changed to protect their identity.
1. Lack of product knowledge and had to refer to an A4 printout in her bag for every question that I asked her.
2. From the dressing, I could see that she is quite poor. She wore an old imitation Crocs sandals (somehow, I had a feeling that was her best shoes)
3. 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.
4. She could not provide me with any name card or the details of the company
5. And finally, she played the pity card to elicit sympathy with the hope that I would buy from her. She said the fact that she needed to feed her son. I do feel sorry for her but I will be more sorry if I run into difficulties with my boss on unreliable service. She just did not give me the confidence that I could rely on her for help and technical issues that I may possibly run into.
In order to be more effective in sales, we need to improve on our appearance and master the products that we are selling. Let me now talk about another salesperson:
1. Good product knowledge and speak with confidence
2. Down to earth with a relaxed and friendly disposition.
3. Always return phone calls promptly, even when he was on leave
4. Can remember what type of printer that I am using in office and therefore can quote price offhand
5. Dresses in neat office attire and have name cards to pass around (he must be doing such a good job that even though it is not a permanent position, his boss still print name cards for him)
6. 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)
7. Can show up at short notice if really urgent.
8. Make frequent office visits- even when we did 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 decide for my office to order toners 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.
Like all clients, I have not seen or heard about the company. Neither have I visited their office. But I buy from the company because of the the good impression their salesperson has left on 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 was not cheap that he had to make the trip and pay for the expensive parking in our building.
One more thing I am impressed with Alan is at that point of time, he was only 19 years old and was actually studying part time. He worked to pay his tuition fees. The company basically paid him a fixed salary (and of course cover all his parking and petrol as well) and he was not working on commission. Hence, logically there may be less incentive to sell more…. and yet, he still went above and beyond his duty which translates to good sales.
But the company offered him certain flexibility to accommodate his study schedule. He told me that he was 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. In fact, we were engaging a previous company but stopped doing business with them because they only hired an in house telemarketer and not an on-site salesperson.
In fact, initially I remembered I was not really that friendly to him- 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.