Wednesday, 15 June 2016

What do customers and people in sales need to know?

Lately I have been searching for a new bike, okay lets not get this confused, what I mean is a new bicycle. I love riding, especially in the city.

I never thought I would ride my bike as much as I have since I moved into Vancouver. It has become my main form of transportation. Not only do I get great exercise but I avoid all the traffic jams and I contribute less to the excessive pollution that our cars pump into the atmosphere.

This is not a post about how you should stop driving your car and ride your bike to be environmentally friendly. In this post I want to get inside what goes on of the purchase of the bike itself, of course another business post. Why I am purchasing a new bike, what have I learned and the how to's.

The process turns out to be more complicated then I had anticipated. I love to compare the competitors pricing, customer service (being in the service industry myself), quality, branding, and knowledge.

Are all sales people, or in this case floor sales men (surprisingly there is not many women selling bikes from what I have noticed), bike enthusiasts? I would have to say yes. All the stores I have entered I was greeted with a warm smile and the smile only grew larger as the sales men began explaining the intricacy of their product.

Just to briefly explain, there are different type of sales people. The floor sales greet the customer when they walk into a store. They provide the expert knowledge about the product that they sell. There are also telemarketers, door-door, B2B (business to business) and many more.

The mass of knowledge the sales men have is obtained from their personal experience of owning bikes. Are the bike sales men biased? I would also have to say yes on this one. Now you may not agree fully with me when I say we are all biased one way or another, but it is true.

We are biased because of our beliefs. What has worked for us we think should work for other's. There are very few people who can pass no judgement and keep an open mind on other people's opinion if it strongly disagrees with theirs.

Why do I think that the sales men are bias? Not because they are wanting to sell some of the more expensive product in the store, okay maybe that has something to do with it. Yes, they work on commission so if they sold a higher price point product they would ultimately get a larger reward. You see how this is selfish thinking.

Also because when you lean towards a bike that is not one which they recommended they would tell you all the disadvantages about the bicycle of which you are leaning more towards.

"Always think about the customer first, business second, yourself last." The best sales men are the ones who listen to the customer and who react appropriately to the customer's needs.

They identify your pain point, in this case needing a bike for transportation. They understand the factors you are looking at, cost versus quality of the bicycle. They act honest, empathetic, persistent and optimistic, and they create a solution for you by making you think about your problem differently.

What do I mean by my last statement? Let me give you an example. When I come into the store and I explain what I am want and what my pain is (most times the customer doesn't even know what their pain is, if you are a sales person reading this I will explain in more detail another time), because I am not an expert on bikes, the sales men are able to shed some light the pains I will have with the type of bicycle that I choose.

This builds trust and credibility.

The sales men are people and the clients are people too. We need to understand that humility plays a major role in the relationship building. Understanding that and challenging the customers pain by revealing something that the customer wouldn't have originally thought of.

The reason why I am looking for a bicycle is it turns out someone else needed my bicycle more than I did, that's a nice way of saying it.

The message is for the sales man and the customer. Neither of them is right at the same time they are both right.

To the sales man one must build trust with the customer by being vulnerable, having the expert knowledge, and applying it considerably. Making it about helping the customer, not just making a sale. Most importantly being specific about the solution to the problem.

Instead of asking the customer what the problem is, identify a problem that is more likely to occur and explain the repeatable solution that you offer. Remember you are the expert.

To the customer, understand your pain, do your research, and be direct with the sales man to your must-haves.

Thank you for reading this post. To be continued....

This post also appears on Medium and

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