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Business Strategy What Sales People Shouldn’t Say

One of the things that we all like is to go shopping. Shopping gets us out, it fulfills our need to explore, and acquire things that we may want or need. In reality when we go shopping we enter stores for a purpose, either because we’re curious or we’re searching for a specific item. Every business has a salesperson in one form or another to assist the customer in making a purchase. Yet, in many cases they actually cause the customer to leave by asking them the simplest question, “Can I help you?”

I don’t know about you but when confronted by this question I become tense. I begin to feel like maybe I don’t look well and need assistance or maybe I look confused and need enlightenment. All I know is most of the time I answer with a standard statement, “No, I am just looking.” With that said I typically have no choice but to leave since now I feel like I am wasting time or I don’t have a good enough reason for being there.

What is actually happening is that an innocent question is driving away customers. How many of these standard questions are being asked every day, and every day potential customers are walking away from businesses establishments? These customers may have wanted to buy something but are now gone.

Another example comes from the automotive industry. Have you ever stepped into a car dealership? (I think for many people just the thought of car dealerships makes them tense.) Like clockwork a salesman appears and approaches you. As they arrive they say some version of, “Are you looking for a car?” Well I don’t know about you but I can’t think of another reason why I would be at a car dealership! So I guess the standard retort should be “No I’m looking for a dishwasher? Do you have any?” This makes me feel like all I want to do is leave. My mind has been made up. The only thing this salesperson is interested in is selling me a car; they don’t even care which one. Here again my first inclination is to head to the exit.

How many times have we been in businesses, and the first feeling we get from the salesperson is that all they want is for us to buy and they don’t care what it is as long as we buy. The customer senses that, and wants to exit the building or the relationship. The questions may come in different forms but, none the less, imply the same thing.

A true sales person should come across like they are genuinely interested in the customer and will help them buy the right thing. If the right thing can’t be found then there won’t be a sale but the potential of a sale still exists because the pleasant experience will bring the customer back.

Businesses should re-examine what their sales people are saying and make sure that they are not driving away potential and existing customers. The first impression is often given by the question asked. Make sure it’s not the wrong one.

Please send me your feedback and any questions that you have heard sales people ask and shouldn’t have.