*Warning: I ate some snark on my flight home today. Then, this happened.

1. Lead with, “What brought you out today? 

Any sales person who begins with this question pretty much deserves the lukewarm, vague or sarcastic response it begs for. Say you sell cars and you lead with this phrase. I’d just love for a potential buyer to respond with “Oh, well I wanted to go for a run…that’s why I am here in your dealership.”

2.  In your well-meaning desire to get to know your customers quickly, start by peppering them with rapid-fire questions, interrogation-style.

And of course, don’t allow yourself a “tell me more about that” moment. Instead, like an auctioneer on a timeframe, get through those Who, What, Why and When questions like a boss! People aren’t complex and neither are their problems. All you need is a pre-formulated list of questions answered in record time and BOOM‒you’ll be hitting the top of the sales record chart in your office.

3.  Make sure the first thing you always say is, “May I Help You?”

This is, at best, an unspoken agreement between customer and salesperson to ignore each other. At worst, it is a type of passive-aggressive behavior: it puts your workload immediately onto your customer as it requires them to not only respond, but also to explain why they are there and what they specifically need. C’mon people, you don’t sell anything, you sell something! People are not in a shoe store because they need a new car. Do your customers a solid and cut to the chase a little by losing the archaic “May I help you?” line. Of course you may help them, by virtue of the fact that they are there!

4.  Lead with, “So, did you hear the news about our sale/price reduction?”

Nothing says “I believe in my product, as should you,” like introducing yourself with a 30% off fact. First of all, that’s not an incentive; it’s a price apology. More importantly, this method offers a dual dehumanizing feature: it reduces you, as a salesperson, to numbers and it also subtly conveys to customers that you may not see them as real, live people as much as walking, talking wallets. Win-win!

5.  Try to instill panic into your customers as soon as possible.

The best way to do this is to combine fear with cost in a handy two-for-one combo. Something like: “This sale isn’t going to last so if you don’t want to be stuck paying a lot more, you’d better buy today. Nobody else is going to give you a deal like this.” For extra fun, you can tack on a critical and stress-inducing P.S. about the crummy customer service your competitors give. A little under-the-breath comment along the lines of “Good luck finding anyone who knows what they’re doing over at _______” is the perfect cherry on the cost-n-fear sunday you’ve served up for your now totally stressed out customers. And, as we all know, stress always leads to sales.

6. At the end of your sales presentation, let the customer know that you will “wait to hear from them.”

People in need, who have just listened to what you have to offer, should of course be put in the position to then sell themselves on an actual purchase. That makes sense, right? Right?! That is in fact what “waiting to hear from you” conveys to your customer, whether that is your intention or not.

Snarkiness aside, all of these tried and not true methods need to go away forever. Deep six these six and you’ll be that much closer to changing someone’s world.

One of the most important, yet overlooked skills of communicating is this: 5 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: tuis via photopin cc

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