I did 17 radio interviews starting at 4 a.m. and ending around noon today for my latest book, Masters of Sales. While doing one of the interviews, I was asked by a talk-show host whetherI had any ideas that her listeners might apply during the holiday season to “help consumers who will most certainly be attacked from all angles by commission-hungry sales reps who refuse to conform to the needs of the shopper!” I came up with some thoughts that I thought would be good to share here on my blog.
I called the process the “Three R’s” of buying, which are:
- Referrals: Whenever possible, do business by referral. Go to stores where someone has recommended the service provided by the company.
- Research: Do some research. Google is great. Get information in advance about what you want. The more you know about the products you are looking for, the easier it is to shop with confidence.
- Relationships: Get to know the sales staff of places that you shop. The stronger the relationships you have, the more confidence you have that you will get what you pay for.
When you are actually working with a sales representative, keep these things in mind:
- Are they asking relevant questions or are they just trying to sell you what they want to sell?
- Are they listening to what you are telling them that you need?
- Are they knowledgeable about the products or services they offer?
If they are not doing the three things listed above, find someone else. I told this to the host of the talk-show and she asked, “How do you bow out gracefully with a salesperson when you don’t want to work with them anymore?” I responded that I simply tell them, “I’ll find someone else who can help me.” She didn’t like that answer at all. She said that it was “such a ‘male’ approach” and that women won’t generally be that direct. When I later asked my wife what she does in a situation like that, she gave me some great advice for those people (men or women) who don’t want to be so “direct.” She explained that she gives her first name to the salesperson and asks for their name. When they give her their name, she says she plans on possibly buying something but needs some time to browse the floor for a while. She thanks them for their help and tells them she will find them if she needs any assistance. So tactful… I love her. I’m afraid I’m more direct.