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Dead End Selling Techniques

Furniture World Magazine


Start each day counting the things you don’t have. Doing that will render the things you do have useless.

2. When you arrive at work, be sure to start out the day by bringing up or thinking negative things about your company and co-workers.

3. As you approach customers, make sure you don’t greet them with the word, “Welcome,” even though that is the second best loved word in the English language. Instead, use the words, “Hi, folks.” The folks will love you for that.

4. Always greet your customers with the words, “How can I help you?” or, “How may I help you?” Keep on using those words even though one study found that what customers hear in those words is, “How can I sell you?”

5. When you hear the phone ring, let it ring about ten times. That way you will be sure that the potential customer on the other end of the line really means business.

6. Don’t pay attention to your voice quality on the phone.

7. Make sure that you don’t make your last words to the caller, “Thank you for calling,” especially if the customer called about a problem.

8. On the sales floor, if your customer starts out with the words, “We’ve bought all our furniture at your store,” give him or her a wry smile and be sure to omit any acknowledging statement. That way the customer will know you didn’t fall for a gratuitous compliment meant to get you to offer a lower price. Avoid acknowledging that statement by saying something like the following: “Thank you for sharing that with me. I am going to do my best today not to spoil that record.”

9. When the customer greets you with the words, “I’d like to look around if you don’t mind,” let your body language show the customer you do mind. Above all, be sure you do not use something like the following professional three-step opening: “Nothing pleases us more than having you feel comfortable as you look around our store. If after you’ve been in the store a while, would you mind if I showed up to answer any important questions you might have?”

10. Instead of using the opening given in the previous example (#9), share the dog and pony show you’ve memorized.

11. Use only closed probes with your customers so you have complete control over them. Do not use any open probes that may spoil your sales pitch. If, in spite of your best efforts, the customer states a need, make sure you do not acknowledge that need with a closed probe. Instead, rush in and overwhelm the customer with as many features as you can. Don’t give any credence to the saying, “Features tell, benefits sell.”

12. If despite your directive approach, the customer still manages to express feelings both verbally and nonverbally, make sure you do not specifically acknowledge those feelings. Instead, limit your acknowledgments to words like Uh-huh, I understand and You betcha.

13. If the customer raises an objection, look upon that as an invitation to get into a debate you end up winning. Forget to consider that all objections are implied needs. Instead work hard to overcome every objection. Always have the “last word”. The sooner you win the argument, the sooner your customer will know who’s in control.

14. Never ask for the sale. Simply remain silent and wait the customer out. In that way, you will add your name to the list of the eighty percent of retail salespeople who fail to ask for the sale even once.

15. Do not spend any available down-time you have at work learning more about your products. You already know more about your products than your customers will ever know.

16. Do not buy into the concept of side by side buying. Any one with an ounce of common sense knows you are there to sell, not to help customers buy.

17. Believe that all customers come in two sizes: those who buy and those who don’t buy. Your professional attitude, your lack of specialized product knowledge, and your professional selling skills have little to do with it. Every time you loose a sale, blame store management, selection, pricing, etc.

18. Don’t listen to those sales trainers and educators who believe the customer is the pilot and the salesperson is the copilot. Instead, believe you are both the pilot and the copilot. The customer is only a passenger who has no idea where he is going.

19. When the customer says, “That’s too expensive,” don’t use any of the replies those successful salespeople of yesteryear used, such as, “It is expensive, and worth it. When you buy quality, you cry only once!” or “When you rely only on price, you’re rolling dice.”

20. When Customers say something negative about your competitors, do not reply with words like the following: “I am sorry to hear you had a negative experience with that company.” Instead, agree with the customer by saying something like the following: “We often hear negative things from our customers about that company.”

21. Make sure your clothes advertise your last meal. Never shine your shoes. Dress casually. Do not be overly concerned about personal hygiene. Believe that the smell of cigarette smoke, your last cup of coffee, or your most recent meal does not linger on your breath and clothes.

22. Never thank a customer at the end of a caller’s call, especially when that customer gave you a tough time. Instead, leave the caller with a distinct distaste that leaves him or her convinced never to call with a problem again.

23. If you are alone in the store, never ask the customer you are working with for permission to answer that call. If you ask, they will just about always give permission, but not asking may leave them with the impression that they are not valued.

24. Don’t demonstrate your product’s features. Forget the saying, “Not shown when told remains unsold.”
25. Read as few books on selling as possible. The only way to get better at selling is to rely on your experiences and winning formulas for success.

If you follow these twenty-five suggestions, congratulate yourself. You belong to an exclusive group of salespeople: The Dead-end Club of Selling.

Remember Zig Ziglar’s formula for getting all the things you want in life: “You can get all the things in life you are looking for if you will help enough other people get what they are looking for.”

Corporate trainer, educator and speaker Dr. Peter A. Marino has written extensively on sales training techniques and their furniture retailing applications. Scores of his articles are posted to the "Sales Skill Index" on furninfo.com. He is available for in-store training, and speaking.