Margarett DeGange, M.Ed.
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." ~ Leo Buscaglia
Today is my dad's 78th birthday. To celebrate, a small group of our family gathered at my house for dinner. I made baked ziti, spinach salad, and garlic bread, and served it with fresh fruit and red wine. For dessert, we enjoyed a lop-sided homemade vanilla cake with strawberry icing, topped with country vanilla ice-cream, while we watched football-Miami vs. Florida State. We had a good time.
During dinner my dad shared memories of when he was a little boy, and how he bought a "dingy" boat for only $3.00 from a nice old man on his block, and he shared other fun and interesting stories. The conversation, the food, and the evening were all so simple, yet we had such a good time.
It did not take BIG BELLS and WHISTLES to entertain us, or to cause our evening to be special, because we all felt cared about by one another, and we felt connected. We all knew-we felt-that we mattered to each other, and that made us happy.
It is good to reflect on the fact that it is never the "things" in life that bring us joy and happiness. Of course the foods we experience can be delicious, and some of the "toys" we like to buy and play with are loads of fun, but they are not the root cause of our contentment, and they are not, on the most basic (and the deepest) level, what give our lives meaning.
O.K., O.K., but how does this relate to our customers?
Here's how. No matter what you sell- and this is especilly important for people who sell home furnishings - you sell to PEOPLE, and people are emotional, relational, and dare I say spiritual beings. You cannot take the human component out of selling and expect to be a success. Likewise, you cannot focus on the human component just to be a success (bad motive here). The ONLY way to success in sales is to genuinely make a meaningful connection with prospects and customers as people first!
When you sincerely open up to your prospects and customers as people, they begin to matter to you. When people matter, the sales process takes on a new dimension, one in which a connection is being made between two or more people. With this approach, there is opportunity for you to care, and for others to feel cared about. Suddenly, your prospects know-they feel-that they matter, and that makes them happy. Gaining sales (and new friends) for you becomes so much easier. It's really that simple.
As a sales professional your goal is to do what you can to help your customers get what they want or need. The first step is making that human (emotional, relational, and even spiritual) connection, thereby letting them know that you have their best interests in mind. This comes well before the presentation portion of the sales process. Then, when you finally do present your offer (assuming you sell a service or product you believe is truly a benefit to others) you will do so with such amazing confidence, people will find it easy to buy.
It doesn't take much to be an amazing salesperson. The bottom line is caring. Keep it simple and show you care, from the heart. Become fluent in kindness, connection, and wanting to help others, and over a reasonable amount of time (no "get rich quick") your sales will skyrocket.
Here are a few examples of ways you show you care.
- You show you care when:
- you are respectful, kind, and polite
- you really listen to what the customer is saying they want or need
- you are attentive, supportive, and responsive to the needs of your customer
- you allow your customer to complain without getting defensive
- you ask your customer what they want or need
- you determine to be a problem solver
- you take the time to help your customer find and see their vision
- you are willing to be flexible by offering more than one solution
- you offer customers options they may not know they had (yes, add-on sales)
- you do more than the customer asked you for
- you go the extra mile without bragging that you are going the extra mile
Embrace this caring approach in life and in business. In doing so you also care about yourself, and you are able then to take care of your family, too. It doesn't take much to be an amazing salesperson, and an amazing person to boot. It just takes a little caring. It's that simple.
Margarett 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. She is also a contributing editor for FURNITURE WORLD Magazine's "Decorating School Crash Course" series.
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. Questions about performing in-store seminars and related design topics can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Furniture World is the oldest, continuously published trade publication in the United States. It is published for the benefit of furniture retail executives. Print circulation of 20,000 is directed primarily to furniture retailers in the US and Canada. In 1970, the magazine established and endowed the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library (www.furniturelibrary.com) in High Point, NC, now a public foundation containing more than 5,000 books on furniture and design dating from 1620. For more information contact email@example.com.