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The Worst Salesmen

By looking at the actions of a poor sales person, we can become a good salesman

Recently, my husband and I were shopping for appliances.  Following are a few examples of what we experienced.  After we went into the first store, the salesman immediately told us that he could help us finance our purchase.  That was interesting, but it was the furthest thing from our minds considering that we planned to just pay for our purchase.  The salesman then told us that we can use the washer to sanitize my cocktail dress before I went out drinking.  Drinking? Who said I liked to go out drinking?  This salesman never asked what our needs were.  When I pointed out that the washer and dryer the store had paired didn’t have similar features, he went off to find a match from another brand.  He then again told us that we could finance our purchase.  When we reminded him that we weren’t interested in financing, he walked away, obviously bored with us.  That’s when I got my inspiration for this article.

Our next stop proved equally interesting.  The greeter at the front of that store was friendly, welcomed us and pointed us in the direction of the appliances.  That was great.  When we got to the right area, we started looking at the washers and dryers, and had some questions.  That’s when that experience became annoying.  It seemed that the group of three “seasoned” salespeople were much too busy in their private conversation to notice or even look over as we tried to get help.  As I walked out of the store to get something from my car these salesmen just continued their very important conversation.

But all was not lost.  When I came back, my husband was talking with a young, but very knowledgeable salesman.  In contrast to the first salesman, this helpful sales person asked us about our needs and wants, and steered us to the best choice for us, and he even told us why it was the best choice.  He was friendly and helpful – he got the sale.

Although selling appliances is obviously not the same as selling services, there are some very basic similarities.  These similarities are key to successful sales.  I think we can all agree that we would prefer to do business with someone who is friendly and who cares enough to find out what we need and want.  The successful salesman made us feel comfortable.  He asked enough questions to understand our needs. And, he never tried to steer us to the most expensive option.   Because we had done some research before going shopping, we knew we were getting the right answers.

The first salesman just assumed that we wanted financing and liked to go out drinking. His approach was geared to people who wanted or needed financing.  He wasn’t willing or able to adapt to someone who had other needs.