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Weekly Furniture Message From Margo - Hey, You Do Business Like a Girl! - Part 2

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This week let’s continue the conversation about doing business like a girl, with a focus this time on selling.
Many women are great at sales because most are naturally good communicators, and selling has so much to do with communication. Of course, that’s not all that makes a good salesperson, but it sure helps—a lot!
Today, we’ll touch on some important factors of selling like a girl. I won’t go into too much detail though, since I'll do that in an upcoming issue of Furniture World Magazine, where I’ll get really serious about gender-selling, looking at the differences between how men and women approach business and selling. That way, you can take on the best of both worlds and benefit from the general selling styles of both sexes. I'll keep you posted when that multi-part article comes out.
In the meantime, let’s look at how to sell like a girl, with all the softness, sensitivity, and connectivity of that wonderful gender!
Start off Seeking to Make a New Friend
Be friendly and heartfelt from the beginning, leading more and more to engaging in a friendly and lively dialogue. That doesn’t mean your goal is to have lunch on Tuesday or golf next Saturday, but the essence of salesmanship is making a sincere and friendly connection based on a genuine interest in another human being. Girls totally get that.
Help Just to Be Helpful!
Women have a wonderful way of connecting just to connect, and helping just to help, and people can feel it. If you are concerned about others, you will want to help them. The motivation is intrinsic—it is there regardless of the promise of material reward or commission.
Let the Customer Tell You What They Want
It’s o.k. to dialog and ask questions, but telling the customer or client what they want is NOT o.k., and it is especially dangerous to do that before you even hear from them what they want. Picture the cocky sales-guy (o.k. — or the cocky sales-lady) who has the attitude of “Tell ya what I’m gonna do”. I’ll tell YOU—you’re gonna be sitting down at the unemployment line by next week if you’re not careful.
Respect the Customer’s Comfort-Level in Purchasing
Here’s where the pushy salesperson comes in. Of course you should help the customer to see all of the available options. Of course you should help the customer to see the many wonderful ad-ons that will increase the value of their purchase, but being pushy is different.
The customer must be in control, and yes, the customer must lead. THEY tell you what they want and need. Even if they do not know specifically what they want or need at first, you should dialog with them and ask meaningful questions to help them in this discovery. It is always done through respectful communication. You are there as a facilitator, guide, point of information, and in some ways a motivator, but you are never there to push the customer into a sale that they are not fully comfortable with.
Sure, you can charm, B.S., or manipulate your way into a sale, but you will lose a lifelong customer and all of their friends! The value of the life-long customer is so much more important that actual amount of the padded sale. When customers feel respected and in control, they will respect you and continue to do business with you. Today, prospects and customers have way too many options for us to be screwing around with pushy, selfish tactics. People will read them and run, or if they do purchase, they will likely never buy from you again. It’s just too much pressure for them to deal with.
Tell the Truth-ALWAYS
Little white lies—no such thing. A lie is a lie, and if you are ever found out, the distrust is permanent. There are few things more embarrassing than being caught in a lie, and few things worse for your career (unless you are a reality t.v. star).
You tell the customer the shipment didn’t come in yet (that it is back-ordered) because you sold the lamp to someone else, but another employee doesn’t know you said that, and reveals that the lamp was in fact on the shipment. Your customer may never let you know that they caught you in a lie, because most people prefer to avoid confrontation and conflict (I am not one of those peeps by the way). Most people will just never work with you again.
So the next time you are tempted to say “I sent you an email” when you didn’t, or, “I tried to call but it just rang and rang”, when it didn’t, FORGET ABOUT IT! Better to say, “Oh gosh, I am so very sorry, I dropped the ball. I got so tied up at work that I forgot to call. Please accept my sincerest apology”.
Everyone likes to be seen and feel supported, even the tough guy on the Harley (my older brother)! Many salespeople won’t even go here because, “that’s not my job”. Oh, really? Then that’s not your big hunk of money in the savings account, either.
Giving customers a little emotional support is another arm of respect.  It is in effect saying, “I care about your world”. In many industries, the bulk of the shoppers are women, and women love emotional support! It’s how many of us navigate through life. It turns out that men really like it too, they just bury it a little bit deeper.
Here’s a Great Example of “Selling Like a Girl” from My Childhood:
As a young kid on Long Island, my mom took us (my sisters and me) to Jerry’s Shoes every year to get our school shoes. The store was small, niche, upscale, and the shoes were INCREDIBLY UGLY—every last pair of them. We begged and pleaded with my mom, “PLEASE mommy, we don’t want to buy our shoes from Jerrry’s, they’re ugly”, but mom wouldn’t hear of it (even though we had free rein to buy ALL of our other school clothes from anywhere we wanted, just not the shoes). WHY?
This made NO SENSE, but really it did. Jerry was wonderfully friendly and incredibly supportive of my mom. He was upbeat, kind, and wanted to know how things were going in our family. He helped my mom with us kids when we were all in the store. He asked how my dad was, and he measured all of our feet on a fancy foot measuring stool, leaving my mom to sit in a big chair and watch, as if she were the queen.
He told my mom how good the shoes would be for our feet, and how the shoes would help us in our bone development. He educated my mom and made her feel that she was a very smart shopper, and he always gave the kindness and the information, and left the decision up to her with no pressure. Jerry took care of it all, and we all really liked him, and even we kids liked the white-glove and friendly service (we just hated the dog-ugly shoes).
Jerry had figured out how to become our FAMILY SHOE GUY, and once you have a FAMILY SHOE GUY, you JUST CAN’T go anywhere else because YOU choose not to go outside the FAMILY. By the time we left Jerry’s shop each time, mom had purchased way more shoes than we needed (or wanted), each kid dragging out about three pair of shoes (and some candy), but mom felt great and she believed that to Jerry, she mattered. She also knew that her kids felt very much cared about by Jerry the shoe guy. We went back every year without fail until my sisters and I finally revolted as we approached our fashion forward Jr. high school years, but mom still bought her own shoes from Jerry!
Selling Like a Girl is a Real Man’s Work!
It’s easy to skip all the “fluff” and get right to the sale, but life doesn’t work that way, so man up. Sell like a girl if you want to do business like a man. That way, you get to keep your customers and your big bag of money, too!
Have a Wildly Selling-Like-a-Girl Week,


Margarett (Margo) DeGange, M.Ed. is a Business and Design Coach in the Home Fashions Industry. She creates and delivers custom training programs for managed businesses and their sales consultants to help them communicate better with customers and increase sales and profits. Margarett is a Writer and Professional Speaker, and the President of The DeGangi Group and The DeGangi School of Interior Decoration, with both on sight and on-line courses in Interior Decorating, Marketing, and Redesign. For almost 20 years she has helped individuals and managed business owners in the interior fashions and decorating industries to earn more while fully enjoying the process.

Two of Margo’s popular products for furniture store owners and their sales professionals are The Decorating School Crash Course Power-Ed Pack (9 design lessons on video/audio with 12 hours of content), and the matching Decorating School Crash Course Learner Files to measure learning, provide added interactivity, and motivate sales consultants to own their opportunities for growth.

Visit Margo DeGange’s website at www.DecoratingForProfits.com  for more information. Send email and questions to her at Margarett@furninfo.com.

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