Saturday, December 3, 2016

"We Need To Sell People What They Want, Not What We Want"

So often in sales - whether retail, direct sales, big-ticket items, route sales, and other types of selling situations - the salesperson has an agenda. It might be driven by the company - what they need to sell to improve their bottom line, to reduce inventory, to prepare for a new shipment that is on its way, to move from one season to the next, or something else they desire to do. It may have little to do with what people want, need, or are requesting.

Sometimes it is driven or directed by the salesperson - there is a bonus or spiff attached to selling a certain item or achieving a certain size order, there is a sales quota or sales contest where numbers need to be meet, it means keeping their position or receiving an advancement, or it figures into a company recognition program.

There may be telltale signs that either of these is the case in the language that is used by the salesperson during the sales presentation, the relative aggressiveness that is displayed by the salesperson, and the general lack of concern about what the customer really wants or is interested in having.

This is where the selling profession takes a big hit. This is akin to the classic "used-car salesman" approach where the salesperson comes on stronger than they need to, they don't let up in their attempt to make a sale, and they don't take "no" for an answer very gracefully. They can get downright sullen or nasty when they don't sell what they intend - even if the customer doesn't seem to want it - because it is seen as a battle of wills. They are wagering that their company's position or their personal charisma or sales background is stronger than the customer's ability to know what they want or to resist such pressure tactics. Many times that is the case.

In the aging-in-place business, we must be responsive to our customer base. We have to be customer -focused and only interested in providing solutions that are going to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Of course, there are going to be differing ways of achieving a result that might be indicated, and we might have a a preferred way of approaching a situation. If the client agrees with our approach, that's great, but as long as what they want is going to solve their issue or go a long way toward alleviating it, it is within their budget amount, and it contributes to their overall safety, we should feel good about helping them with it - even if isn't our first or preferred choice for a solution.

There is nothing to be gained except a little short-term income from making a sale that doesn't benefit the client or isn't what they want. We are there to serve them, and it's their money or that of an insurance company, family members, or granting agency, so we need to respect that investment also.

We know that we can make a sale. That should never be the question or issue. The one that counts is whether we can show and sell the client something that will help them remain in their home longer and make them safer and happier in the process? When we can do this, we will have succeeded.

____________

Steve HoffackerCAPS, C,E,A,C, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.