Whenever we enter the store, the furniture salesman sets his tractor beam on us. In fact, the last time we went, the guy literally ran towards us. After 20 minutes of telling him we needed our space, he finally got the hint and backed off. He was still stalking us though. This guy stayed within a 15-foot radius of us for over two hours. We were so scared to make eye contact with him that we looked at our shoes more than we looked at the furniture.
Have you ever bought something from a hard-nosed salesman and truly enjoyed the experience? My guess is probably not.
Get Ready to Get More Customers
You might not know this about me, but I've been in sales for over 10 years. In my first sales position, I worked for a financial consulting firm. I was up against 150 other sales agents. After 6 months, I was the top grossing agent and the CEO asked me to rewrite the entire sales program. I was 21 years old at the time.
How did I do it? I disobeyed my boss. That's how. They had this script that I was supposed to follow every time I called someone. It was ridiculous. Instead, I actually held conversations with people. In today's post, we're going to shed the salesman, and in doing so get more customers for your business.
Set Up Your Trust Factors
If I don't trust you, I'm not shopping at your store. Period. Trust is established far before you ever speak with your customer. It's unfortunate, but most businesses don't put much though into this. As the customer approaches your business, they need to see the following in order to feel comfortable laying down the Benjamins.
#1 - Craft a Remarkable First Impression
A good first impression is not good enough. It's mediocre. People need to experience your business for the first time and say,
"Wow! This is it. Look at this place!"
If the paint is peeling off the walls of your store, your customers will not come through that door. If your website looks like it was built in the 90's, people will close the browser and forget about you. What's the first impression you're sending? Is your potential customer impressed, or are they scared for their lives?
Honestly, which restaurant would you rather eat at?
Every entrepreneur would love to have a better looking website or business, but few make the investment. The excuse is always the same: it costs too much. I have no sage advice here other than to say pony-up the cash. Invest in your business and it will flourish.
#2 - Get a Few Shout Outs
I love reading through a company's testimonials. It makes me feel a lot safer knowing that someone has voted thumbs up. If I were to go to your website right now, would I see any testimonials? This is a fun one to get creative with. There's a pizza shop here in Salt Lake City that lets their customers write on the walls. Genius!
Let your customer pride shine. Let the world know that your customers love you. It builds a ridiculous amount of trust when you see other customers voting for a company.
That being said, don't fake your testimonials. I've come across a lot of websites that have fake testimonials. They're easy to spot, and I automatically walk away. The moment you lie to your audience, all of your credibility is gone.
#3 - Get Some Trust Badges
People want to see that you're certified, voted #1 and that you have guarantees. Take some time to list out all of your certifications, awards and accomplishments. What organizations have placed their stamp of approval on your work? Have critics tasted your food and raved? Have inspectors approved you for top-tier certification? What makes you an expert? Place those badges in clear view. Let the world know that you're reliable and great at what you do.
A trust badge carries more weight than a million words from a salesman.
#4 - Create Your Magnetism
Some businesses have a passion for what they do. I'm much more interested in shopping with those companies because it's an experience. If I were to call you on the phone right now, would you try and sell me a product and get me out the door, or would your passion surprise me?
A lot of people say "We're in a boring industry. It's hard to get passionate about it." Give me a break! I run an outsourced accounting firm. It doesn't get more boring than that for most people, but you know what? We're so freaking excited every day. If you're ever in town, come hang out with us. You'll see what I mean.
#5 - Admit Your Weaknesses
Thanks to an awesome infographic created by HelpScout, I found this little gem. A social psychologist named Fiona Lee, found that customers were more trustworthy of companies that admitted their shortcomings. Do you ever catch yourself selling something you know you can't deliver on? When you tell people you're not good in a certain area, they're likely to love you and learn about your strengths.
#6 - Show Us Your Face
When people approach your business for the first time, do they just see the logo or do they see the people behind the logo? If I go to your website, do I get to see pictures of the people that work there or not? If I don't know who you are, how can I trust you? I need to see real people before I feel comfortable pulling out my wallet.
At Ignite Spot, we're passionate about this one. After all, getting an accountant has a lot to do with relationships. Here's how we've done it:
I need to be able to trust your company. If I can't I'll move on.
Take a moment right now to do a trust inventory. Do you make a great first impression? Are there testimonials and trust badges where potentials customers can see them? Do you have passion for what you do and does it ooze out of your entire staff? Speaking of staff, who are they. Are their pictures up on the website?
Get Likeable & Get More Customers
Once I trust you, I really need to like you. This one gets down to a personal level for both you and your potential customers. How do you get people to like you and your business? I'll tell you how right now.
#7 - Get Some Social Proof
If you're not actively working on social media, you need to start right now. Every business needs social proof. In full transparency, we were pretty bad at this one 6 months ago. At that time, we decided to really start caring about our social community. I'm so glad that we did. I've met a lot of amazing people through our Facebook and Twitter channels. It's been awesome.
Let me ask you this, when you're thinking about shopping at a store and you see that they have 20,000 Facebook fans, how does that sway your decision? Be honest. If there's a lot of people following a company on social media, that's a signal to me that there's something going on here?
According to an infographic from Hubspot, 81% of people say that posts from their friends directly influence their purchase decisions. If you're not on social, you're not in the game, people.
#8 - Make People Look Good
It's unfortunate, but human beings can be a little selfish at times. That's good to know though. So here's the question: how does buying from you make me look good in front of my friends and family? Does it make me look wise? Conservative? Fashionable? If not, you're going to be harder to like. In fact, if your business makes me look bad, that's an issue.
People won't admit it, partly because it happens in their subconscious, but they want to look good when they spend money. They don't want other people judging them.
So help them out. Give people an identity when they buy from you. Decide right now what that identity will be and then craft every experience around that.
Here's a question for you? What does Victoria Secret do to craft an identity for their customers?
#9 - You've Got Passion, But Do I?
In phase 1 we talked about your passion. If you have it, that's great but is it contagious? As your customer, do I care? A lot of entrepreneurs craft a mission statement or a vision without asking their customers one important question first,
"What's important to you?"
If you asked your customers that, it would be life changing. If I can get passionate with you, I'll like you a lot more.
#10 - Consider Raising Your Prices
This sounds counterintuitive. I know. Why would customers like you more if you raise your prices? There are several reasons.
I love buying from companies that have made the quality-trumps decision. They take pride in getting it right. They've dropped the Walmart mentality and are focused on wowing people. Building the kind of product or service that is top notch is not only gossip worthy, it's fun. There's nothing better than stepping back from your business to see people really get excited about it. People don't get excited about low-cost leaders. They get excited about cool stuff, and they are willing to pay for it if you've put your heart and soul into it. Cheap products and services don't inspire. Niched quality does.
Who doesn't like a business that does that?
To be liked has a lot to do with your customers psychology. Give them social proof. It tells them that others like you so it's alright for them to do the same. Make them look good when they buy from you, include their passion, and give them a quality product or service. Now that has "like" written all over it.
If you want to explore this further, check out one of our recent posts titled "How to Charge More and Be Worth Every Penny".
Stop Selling & Start Helping
Sweet applesauce... People trust you and they like you! But are they buying from you?
If you're bombarding them with hard-nose sales tactics once they walk into your store, then everything you've done up to this point has been wasted.
In the days of the door to door salesman, people put up with "closers". Not today though. People can smell a salesman a mile away. Once you have someone's trust and they like you, don't ruin it by saying something like "You look like the kind of guy that could benefit from our 346 Model Z. Lets get you into it today and see how it feels."
Why are you and your sales people saying stuff like that? You hate it when people do it to you, so stop doing it to others. When I started this blog post, I told you about my experience on the sales floor becoming the top sales agent over 150 others. If you want to do that, this section is for you.
Before you cry mutiny on me, hear me out. I'm not talking about all sales books. But honestly, I've read a lot of them and they're pretty "forced". They're all the same. Chuck full of closing techniques, one-liners and tactics for getting the deal. Hear me now.
Your customers are not "a deal". They're real people with real feelings and needs.
Burn the sales books and pick a few titles on how to relate to people if your social skills are less than average. When you approach a customer as a human that cares, you win. No one-liners. No bait and switch. Just care about them and the shut up. Let them talk.
When I was selling financial services, all 150 of my colleagues would read their sales scripts word for word. The average script lasted nearly 7 minutes and the poor guy on the other end of the line wasn't allowed to get a word in edgewise.
Here was my script:
Me: Hello, is John there?
John: This is him.
Me: John, my name is Eddy. I work with company ABC. We create a plan to get people out of credit card debt.
John: Alright. And?
Me: How would getting out of debt make you feel?
From there, a conversation would start. The key word is conversation. John would share his feelings and I would take notes. Once he was done, I would ask another question and take more notes. John and I would become friends and the ball would get rolling.
On any given day, our sales agents were signing up between 1 - 2 people day for our program. My average was 15 accounts a day. I wonder why?
#12 - Personalize the Experience
People like to see and hear their name. A lot. If you can, try to personalize your customer's experience with you. For example, don't send out an email blast to a general group of people. Figure out a way to make that email personal for each reader. Technology abounds for this kind of thing.
Train your sales people on how to remember names and faces. I go to the gym every day. When I decided to start going to the gym, I found a local spot near the office and signed up. The next day I went and the lady at the counter said "Hey Eddy! Good to see you today." I was completely shocked. Are you kidding me? How did she remember my name? Because of her, I signed up my whole company and we go there everyday for lunch. She got my business (no pun intended).
#13 - End the Commissions Please
You can tell instantly when you're working with a guy who's getting paid a commission. In that situation, it's never a conversation. It's a presentation. I don't want a presentation. I want a human that cares about me. Is that too much to ask for?
Do you like talking to guys who are trying to get a commission out of you? I didn't think so. Pay your sales guys a healthy salary and let them do what they do best. Help people succeed.
You want more customers for your business. In fact, you need more customers. If you do this right, you'll find that your customers need you just as much or more. People are starving for businesses that get these 13 steps right. Figure it out and you'll build a vibrant tribe of followers that buy from you again and again.
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