Attack Of The Sales Zombies

by Kenrick Cleveland

I’ve been updating my computer system (again!) lately and have been making periodic trips out to the local super computer chain store in my area for this or that. A fair amount of the time, I’m able to find what I need, get in and out, without much hoopla. But when I’m looking for a more expensive piece of equipment, I have experienced a little of what I’m calling the Attack of the Sales Zombies.

This is a pretty common experience which most likely we’ve all experienced: being confronted with a sales robot, someone unable to go it without a script or pitch, someone with no personality, asking the same questions or regurgitating the same thing over and over regardless of what you want.

I can tell you. . . if I’m in a store or looking for a new vehicle and the sales zombie comes up and starts in on me, I either determine a) will this be worth helping them out or b) where’s the closest exit. There have been times where I’ll try to steer them, kindly, into an arrangement that will benefit us both, but there are some sales people so dead set on their ‘by the numbers’ tactics that I just have to walk away and find the next person.

There are a few very simple things sales professionals can do to understand the true power of persuasion. The first step is to create rapport with prospects and clients. Old fashioned sales training, for the most part, glosses over rapport with a brief ‘how’s it going?’ sort of greeting. Rapport is a deeper than that.

Rapport is pausing briefly on how the client/customer is doing, but really getting to the heart of the matter . . .”So why are we here today?” Why are they in the store? “What will having that do for you?” What will the product or service you provide do for them? “Ultimately, what will having this do for you?” The key is to really listen. LISTEN. Don’t push your agenda. Don’t try to give them whatever it is you need to sell that particular day unless it will truly fulfill their needs.

If you’re in real estate and you understand your potential client is selling their house move into bigger one because their family is growing, well, you’re not going to sell them a smaller house, are you? No. You’re not going to sell them a condo with one bedroom. You’re going to keep their needs in mind, combined with their values and criteria and view the inventory that you have with these in mind. It seems obvious, doesn’t it? And for higher end sales professionals, it is obvious. But for some, it’s not.

The experiences I’ve had lately in retail have been so incredibly frustrating that I want to give sales trainings at the stores where I shop. So if you’re ever in the Seattle-Tacoma area and find yourself receiving extraordinarily persuasive and helpful service at a huge computer store, you’ll know why. . .

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