Making connections and bridging the trust divide between sales professionals and their customers is the first, most important goal in every intersection. The retail sales zeitgeist is buzzing with the idea of cultivating human to human, or H2H, connections. Unfortunately, there is no set formula for moving from suspicion to the customer’s trust side of the Great Divide.
New sales professionals need to learn to make H2H connections during the Magic Minute™ – those first 30 to 90 seconds that set the foundation for the interaction. If the “Customer/Salesperson” paradigm is not broken, a sale will be executed from an adversarial, zero-sum stance. By building an H2H connection, trust and consultative selling has an opportunity to exist.
To be successful in that Magic Minute™, we recognize there are 5 sales truths that can pave the way to building that human to human bond with your customers:
A customer’s favorite word is his own name. Use it early and often and encourage them to use your name as well! Using the Law of Reciprocity, offer your name and the client will respond in kind.
A customer’s favorite sound is her own voice. Encourage them to use it! This is best done by asking open-ended questions and encouraging the client to expound upon the answers.
ASK MORE QUESTIONS! This way you speak 20% of the time and listen 80% of the time… Again, let them hear their own voice. In the history of sales, no sale has ever been lost by asking too many questions. Ask. Ask some more, and then ask again!
If it doesn’t matter to the customer, then it doesn’t matter. Stop talking! All those great questions will yield answers that will provide a roadmap to what is important to the customer. The moment you veer off the path created by the client you are moving further from the sale.
Take the “Off-Ramp” when you see it. When there is something important to learn or know about the customer and/or their situation take the few minutes to engage them. There will be time to get back to selling merchandise, so relax and listen to the information the client may be anxious to share.
All salespeople are taught some version of the retail sales process: Open, Qualify, Present, Overcome Objections, Close. The Top 20% have learned to engage the customer throughout the sales process. Building the Human to Human connection will disarm the most defensive customer and land you securely on the customer’s side of the Great Divide!
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