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The Best Sales Techniques in the Worldby Phyllis Sheerin Ross
Consultant and Freelance writer
I hope that you didn't try to call me last week, or expect me to respond to an e-mail. You see, I didn't have time to answer the phone, nor did I check my mail. I was too busy studying what I consider to be the best sales techniques in the world. And it was a very odd classroom setting. I spent the time, hour after hour, night and day, parked in front of my television. I watched, wide-eyed with great admiration, the sales people of the shop-at-home-networks. The absolute masters of sale. This is what I learned from them, and I've provided tips how you can apply their methodology to your own small business.
No matter what the salesperson has to sell, be it a mop, or a diamond necklace, their eyes shine, their voice is bubbly, and they generate excitement over the product. This was the "best," it was a "privilege" to be selling it, and you are going to be "thrilled" when you receive it. The sales setting is that of a private home, be it the kitchen for food products, the den for personal computers, the bedroom for linens, and the living room for all other products. The attractive, well groomed salesperson is referred to as a host. Their sincerity shines through.
Tip: Psyche yourself up at the start of each and every business day by reminding yourself why you're so proud of your product/service. And if you're not proud, fix it to the point where you can't help but be proud. Think of yourself as the host, rather than the salesperson of your product or service.
Get endorsements from your customer.
That clever, clever sales network has a special line set up just for endorsements. Only, they call it a "testimonial line." The salesperson/host does his or her spiel regarding the product, and then people call in with their "testimonials." The caller is so happy to be on the air that they go on and on regarding the virtues of the product, trying for one-upmanship regarding the excellence of the product. Using this technique, they're actually able to sell perfume on the air! Can you picture buying a fragrance without smelling it? Well, millions of viewers do. The "host" describes the smell, and then accepts calls from half a dozen viewers who call in to describe how people stop them on the street to say how wonderful they smell. The compliments go on and on, and so do the sales.
Tip: Include endorsement from customers in your next ad, or sales brochure. Say "thank you" to your customers for their endorsements by providing a mug or tee-shirt with your company logo. Further free advertisement.
Have a 30 day, unconditional return guarantee.
Selling on television is a particular challenge in that the potential customer has no way to personally taste (yes, they do sell food), touch, or smell the product. Assuring complete customer satisfaction obviously brings a level of comfort to making a purchase, sometimes at a cost of a couple of thousand dollars (yes, they do sell personal computers), without personally checking it out. The host promises that there'll be no questions asked regarding your returned item. Heck, they'll even provide a shipping label.
Tip: If you can't offer a 30 day unconditional return guarantee, go for a 14 day return policy. At least offer to exchange the product, or to re-do the service. This additional service might well be all you need to double your sales.
Use the power of imaging.
Probably the most powerful sales techniques of all. When selling a pair of gold earrings, the "host" suggests you picture yourself in a simple pair of jeans and tee-shirt. Pretty ordinary until you add this particular pair of gold earrings. And voila, suddenly, you're stunning! And heck, if you don't find yourself picturing that very image, and can't wait to order the earrings that will make such a difference in your plain-Jane outfit. Next, the host will model a dress. But, not just any dress. It's the dress that you're going to be wearing while you serve Thanksgiving dinner. And my, how everyone will oh-and-ahh over how lovely you look. And don't you worry your pretty little head over gravy stains, because the dress is washable! And, you sir, picture yourself filming your grandchildren with your new video camera. How the whole family will gather round to admire the new videos, and your expertise in capturing the essence of just how much fun everyone had during Thanksgiving dinner. See how it works?
Tip: Be very specific regarding how your potential customer is going to use your product or service. Understand the demographics of your customer base, and paint the picture of how the product/service is going to positively impact their lives.
And now, you'll have to excuse me. I just received my hand-woven straw basket (just $59.76 plus shipping and handling). I want to place the dark green linen cloth (just an additional $19.88 plus shipping and handling) in the basket, before I place it in my den. The host showed me a darling way to use the basket to store my writing supplies. Who knows - - I might even be inspired to write an article about all the uses for my new basket!
Copyright © 2000 Phyllis S. Ross
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