Last weekend my wife and I toured a showcase of homes. I was struck by the approach of a realtor. His discovery was to ask if we were considering a different home and whether we were “represented”. He immediately jumped to offering to represent us – read “Lock us in so he gets a commission.”
He did not introduce himself, ask our names, ask what might appeal to us or even determine if we wanted to live in an area that he was familiar with. He was only concerned with his commission.
In case my tone isn’t obvious, I was put off by his sales technique.
Successful sales require that you build rapport with the client. The seller needs to establish credibility and show sincere interest in understanding the customer’s needs and desires.
In his book, Integrity Selling, Ron Willingham tells how he was very successful selling new homes at a multi-vendor show by asking the potential customers what they need and desire. He asked about family size, needs and the family’s dreams. His competitors started with glossy pictures of their homes. Ron took the time to get the customer with a blank sheet of paper, he then pulled out photos of likely solutions.
If your style is to jump to products and services and do a “data dump” on the customer – slow down and get to know the person you are working with. Develop rapport and discover their needs and desires. Demonstrate that you can meet their needs with your solutions. If you aren’t a viable solution for the customer, take the opportunity to refer them to an alternative. If you provide a solution, even if it isn’t your solution, they will remember how you treated them and be motivated to reciprocate.