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The Traveling Retailer's Bedding Sales Tip #9: Don’t ask them to BUY!

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by Gordon Hecht

There are probably a few of you, like me, that learned to SELL in the mid-1970s. The sales process was based around three letters A-B-C which stood for Always Be Closing! We learned that every phrase, question, and demonstration we did would lead to a CLOSE, mostly meaning we ASKED people to BUY!

Now, when I do a comp shop for our retail partners, or even shop for myself, it is rare that I find an RSA who asks me to buy. I was quite encouraged last week during my trip to North Carolina. I thought I had found a whole chain of stores that worked to close the customer, so much, that they named the stores ABC! I walked in to check it out, only to discover they sell whiskey and ABC stands for Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Having experienced so few RSAs who ask for the sale during so many comp shops, I realize that we may not be able to do business TODAY, the same way we did business YESTERDAY and still expect to be in business TOMORROW. Let there be no mistake; in my own retail stores, I would have “ask every customer to buy today” as my first non-negotiable condition of employment. But, being a realist, I understand that we need to work a little differently with our shoppers and associates then we did during the Days of Disco and Leisure Suits!

You probably heard the old saw about “it’s twice as important to listen as it is to talk”, or “that’s why we have two ears and one mouth”. In fact, your best and most successful RSAs may be the ones that are the best listeners and NOT the best talkers. And, if you listen hard enough, you will find that your shoppers are asking you to close the sale many times during your sales presentations.

Take the simple question “How much do you charge for delivery?” That is a CLOSING QUESTION by the shopper. Why would they ask, unless they want something DELIVERED! Same thing goes for “Do you have any finance/credit specials?” They never ask those questions unless they want to BUY…TODAY!
Your sales team can close-and never play ABC (or need to shop the ABC after a bad day!) by simply using the reflexive responses below:

Shopper: What credit cards do you take?
RSA: Which one did you want to use today? (while holding out his/her hand)
Shopper: Visa. (and places the card in the RSAs hand)

Shopper: (What) do you charge for delivery?
RSA: Where do you need delivery to?
Shopper: We live in Rollerrinkerton
RSA: Great, we are out there Wednesday, and on your purchase, it is no charge! What’s your address?

Shopper: Do you have any finance specials?
RSA: How long did you need to pay this off?
Shopper: About a year
RSA: We can do that, just fill out this fast application.

You may have noticed that the RSA answered every question with another question. And every answer the shopper gave helped to close that deal! It’s a little unnatural for us to do that, we want to answer a question with a statement. But, with practice (and do practice this) you and your team can turn each shopper question into a close.

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Read other articles by Gordon Hecht