And what this has to do with putters & drivers.
Idon't know how many books there are on closing sales. Hundreds? Thousands? And if you figure in the videos and audiocassettes, it could number in the tens of thousands, if not more. Most of these courses on closing involve selling styles or sales methods using the right words or tricks to get people to buy. And most of these courses and sales advice systems still perpetuate old myths from the turn of the century, when snake oil salesmen, carpetbagger pitchmen, and Professor Harold Hill were in their heyday. That won't work today.
Drawing a line on a page and quoting Ben Franklin, or committing 27 textbook closes to memory is not going to work any more. Now closing is about relationships, ambiance, atmosphere, presentation and product suitability not to mention whether the purchase is seen to be a good deal.
There are some very basic rules for selling today:
If they want it, they'll buy it... but value has to supercede price.
If they don't want it, they won't buy it... no matter what the price.
If they like you they are more likely to buy from you.
If they don't like you they won't buy unless they are desperate.
People buy on feelings more than on logic. But if they only buy on feelings, logic soon makes them regret their decision. Either that, or their neighbor, family member, or friend will.
Selling is a transfer of emotion. You should be excited about the furniture you sell, but the above rules will always override. Let me give you a case in point; the golf club business is having a tough time. They sell clubs on emotion. Check out Calloway. They sell oversized drivers that could double for battering rams. The rationale is that the larger club head and spring-like effect give the player a better chance of hitting the ball longer and straighter. That is, unless you are an average weekend hacker. Then logic tells you all the club does is allow you to slice the ball a little further out of bounds. I'm sure the single-digit golfers get some additional distance on a straight drive with that kind of driver, but they still have to putt. And that's about half of their total shots. Statistics show that both professionals' and amateurs' scores haven't changed much, despite the use of the high-tech, state-of-the-art products. So why don't the sales of these drivers plummet? Because people buy emotionally. They buy products to keep up with the Joneses, to define themselves for their peers, to feel better about themselves, and to create their world.
It's easier to close on emotion and feelings first, and logic second. But you can't have one without the other. If you sell a customer a dining room set by getting her all hyped up but the set doesn't work with her space, or is more expensive than she can afford, it will only make her an unhappy customer when logic sets in.
Those oversized, tri-metal, titanium-shafted $300 clubs are sold on emotion, and many times when logic sets in, the customer takes it back to their pro and finds he'll only give them $50 for it. And that's killing the golf club business right now. There's a glut of clubs on the market.
It's a lot easier to find a customer's need and fill it, rather than to slam-dunk him with some over-hyped tricky words and phrases from a slick course on closing. Customers know the "if I could... wouldja" and "better get it now 'cause we can't guarantee this price later" systems of selling. When you sell "the hot, new, designer trend in sofas that everyone is buying", and the customer comes back in a week to find a newer, more stylish model at a lesser price, chances are you're not going to do a lot of repeat business. And one dissatisfied customer will tell a whole bunch of people, who also may put you on their personal blacklist.
Be careful with your closing skills. Emotion can be a wonderful thing. But logic remains long after the romance of the sale is gone.
Bob Popyk is the publisher of Creative Selling®, a monthly newsletter on sales and marketing strategies for high-ticket retailers. His sales meetings and seminars are presented nationwide to major companies and industries. Questions on any aspect of sales education can be sent to FURNITURE WORLD at firstname.lastname@example.org.