September 14th, 2020
Customer Satisfaction Selling
“Customer Satisfaction Selling” identifies ways to build rapport and turn the sales call into a cooperative exchange of information. This can be accomplished with modern sales techniques, which require thought and guidance in preparation, training and coaching to make them operative.
Here is a common example of inept practices: A “couple” goes shopping at the mall. This is often done grudgingly by the male. (Men don’t usually enjoy shopping.) Their intent—usually—is to get it over with ASAP. Once in the store the female spots a rack of clothing marked as “close out,” or discount prices. As she inspects items on the rack a salesperson (often referred to as a customer assistance person) approaches and asks, “May I help you?” to which either one or both of these shoppers respond, “No thanks. Just looking.” The statements and responses are as predictable as “getting wet” if you are in the rain without an umbrella. They are a combination of misguided intent and protective responses that create “failure to sell/failure to buy” outcomes; however, both parties, the shoppers and the salesperson, get little or no satisfaction from that outcome. They have in fact become adversaries.
Converting Adversarial to Cooperative
Now, let’s view the potential outcome through the prism of “Customer Satisfaction Selling©”, a concept my company created and taught to in-store retailers in the 60s and 70s. In the trained scenario, the “customer assistant” person asks a question of the female perusing the clothes, the basic structure of which is, “Pardon me, are you looking for yourself or as a gift to someone?” (an open-ended question). The woman shopper answers, “Yes, it’s for me.” The customer assistant then asks, “What size are you looking for?” The answer given is, “I am a size seven.” The customer assistant responds (valid in this situation), “These items are mostly petites,” then adds, “Let me show you where your size is available,” then leads the shoppers to actual racks (which may include several manufacturers with various styles and price ranges). The moral of this little vignette is, instead of saying, “May I help you?” the customer assistant helped the shoppers. She sped up the process and she was on the road to building rapport. It is important for the reader to reread this last scenario and then apply it to how this method would affect a customer’s feelings. Our next article will further examine this as it applies to selling in the home and your specific business. Buyers and sellers lean on outdated sales methods and fail to fulfill the prospect’s goals. “In-home” sales practices, in step selling, relates to the “walk around” or inspecting the project.