Boy, oh boy, oh boy. What a tough day. I made my calls, visited with customers and no sales. It does sound a little like a complaint but it is simply a frustration. In between calls to customers that have been in and at RV parks I showed a few RVs to different customers. When I started selling used RVs I was selling at least one a week which as you can agree with, is not much. The other sales people have done the same.
Here is a little background on the retail center I work at. This retailer has been in business for over 30+ years. They basically were established when customers came from all over and bought just about every day. They do not advertise at all but simply been word of mouth to four different RV parks in Florida. They had a website, Facebook and an RV trader page but none of it was up to date. Since I have been here I have updated those online pages and have kept up with them. Because of this we have had a lot more phone calls and visits from customers. Everyone who works here is family. I am the only outsider because they knew me for many years when I sold them as a wholesale salesperson.
I simply used my own personality and sales skills I have developed over the years for the sales I have but recently I have listen to and (Supposivly) learned from Grant Cardone and Joe Girard the sales experts. I have been trying to use their techniques over mine but for some reason my sales have been even more down. I am assuming that when I learn to balance what I learn along with my own set of skills things will be better.
I do not know how long you have been in sales or what kind of sales position you are experienced in but for me and my 18 years of selling I try to improve my chances of making a sale by listening and learning. One of the hardest thing new sales people do is talk too much. It could be because they are testing out what works or does not work or it could be from where they came from. I am not talking about where they came from as from where they were raised and the family that are genetically attached to but rather what industry and position they came from. One of the industries I have been a salesperson in was the manufactured (mobile) home business. It was a wholesale business selling to retailers on a continuous basis. I had come from positions in the factory including purchasing so I knew the product front and back. I hadn’t noticed at first but when I prospect for new retailers I was telling everything I (passionately) knew about the homes and the company I was selling for. If it weren’t for a sales associate who became a good friend of mine’s advice, I might have wasted many months or even years trying to sell by telling.
It is good to feature and benefit a product or service you are selling but it should be after you find out what the customer’s interest is or what need your product or service can fill. Once you find out what the customer is looking for then you can present those particular features that conform to what the customer wants. It is amazing how selling wholesale or retail, how many times you can be led to telling (talking) too much. Many times it comes when I am relaxed and not focused. Sometimes it can be when I get too comfortable with the customers. Either way I tried selling by telling it has not led to too many sales.
Credits of this picture went to an unknown artist. Cartoon came from http://goo.gl/10XIGL
The last few weeks there have been a countless number of customers who were sick (pretending not to be) along with coworkers being sick in and out of my office. It finally took its toll on me as well. The interesting thing was that when I knew I was sick I indistinctly tried to cover it up with over the counter medication and nose spray. When my voice started changing some coworkers noticed and asks me if I were sick. I immediately told them that I felt I was coming down with a cold or had a cold.
I started to wonder what the etiquette was as a salesperson being sick and continuing to sell to customers I brought into my office. I am sure (Unless they were totally stupid) they knew I was sick or at the least suspected that I was coming down with something. The only benefit of being sick is that it makes me a better listener because it is hard to talk. I am amazed how many customers still want to shake my hand after leaving the office. Even though I feel a little bad about this issue I realize if I am up front with my customers it gives them the opportunity to do business with me or the get back to me at another time.
When the ball is in their court I do not feel as bad. I wonder how other sales people handle this issue while selling BSB or retail. Either way it is something we as sales people have experienced for thousands of years. I say thousands because the first sales person was Adam and Eve selling the idea that the apple (Whatever fruit it really was) was good to eat.
In my past I have had very limited experience in a retail setting selling big ticket items. I will not mention the terrible company I had worked for but they treated all of their customers as if the customers had no meaning or worth. They sent me to training telling me to sell their way or take the highway. I’m sure you can tell that this was not the place for me to be. This company eventually ended up closing all their retail locations because of the way they did things (No Surprise). I had come from the wholesale business in which I traveled to sell a higher priced product anywhere I could find a customer within a 3 state radius. I learned quickly it was a relationship base selling. Sometimes it could take several months before a buyer trusted me and wanted to buy from me. After my bad stint at retail I went back to where I was comfortable but with a different company selling a similar wholesale product.
I am not going to bore you with why I am currently selling retail again and I assure you it wasn’t because I was not doing well in the wholesale business. Anyhow since I have been back in the high-end retail business I swore I would learn everything I can to be very successful and to learn my craft. I am very pleased with the company I now work for and they are pleased with my results so far. The wonderful thing about this day of age is that there is so much information online in which you can read or listened to. I have spent the last month watching many videos on Youtube. It is amazing how many salespeople or so-called sales people make a “how-To-Sell” video for you to watch and listen to. Because there are so many I started wondering which ones have actual sales experience, not just a few years, but for many years.
One of the videos I have enjoyed was an interview of Joe Girard. If you are not sure who he is then search him on Youtube. He was put into the Guinness book of world records for his sales accomplishments in selling cars. One of the things he said was he is not ATANO like others are. ATANA means All Talk and No Action. This got me thinking further on whom I am going to actual listen to or read about in order to improve my sales in the retail business.
After listening several times to Joe Girards interview in my car and at my home I decided to invest in his CDs. One of his tips in selling is what he calls bird dogging. This is where he asks customers who buys from him to pass out his business cards and refer him. He hands them a stack of business cards wrapped up with a rubber band. He also gives an “I Like You” pin or “Your Number One” pin. Now he has not sold cars in a retail setting since the 1970’s but he does go around the country lecturing on exactly what he did to sell so many cars. The reason why I tell you this is because when I received his CD packet he did the same thing with his business cards and pin. This made it personal and rememberable to me.
This is the experience I received from an expert salesperson who is not ATANA. I will now research more into who has actual experience in selling before I take their advice.
The retail center I work at sells Park Model Homes, pre-owned RVs and manufactured homes. One of the reasons for its success is the opportunity to take a trade for another RV, Park Model or manufactured home. With this, comes finesse. People for some reason wants more for their RV than it is worth (according to the NADA book value) and at the same time wants another RV, Park Model or manufactured home for next to nothing. Of course the “next to nothing” may be an exaggeration but you get the idea.
I enjoy when I can give the most I can for their RV and still make enough to feed my family. It is a win-win situation for both people involved. When I do a good job I always ask for a referral which has helped me for many years to be successful in what I do which is the profession of selling. Sometimes I have to tell the customer I cannot do it. This saddens me but I know it is the right thing. I had a customer that still owned $56,000 for their RV and the NADA book said it was worth $47000. They wanted to trade it in for a Brand New Park Model home we were selling for $62,000. Just because the NADA book value showed $47,000, it is not what I can trade it for. The $47,000 is the most I could personally sell it for if (and only if) it has the original furniture and all appliances along with the air condition working. Also it should not have any leaks which many RVs do have after years of travel.
I usually have to spend some money to make sure it is detailed and all equipment is working and labor/parts cost money. When I deducted the trade-in value I was willing to do plus adding the extra $9,000 they still owned on top of it, the customers did not like the final price. Business owners like my boss has done similar deals in the past 50 years which is how long he has been in business. Because of this I took it to my boss to look over to see if I was overlooking something. He said we cannot afford to lose money on a deal like this so apologize to them and let them know we could not make the numbers work. He also mentioned to keep them in my contact file (Which I usually do anyways) in case they sell their RV themselves and may still want to buy a Park Model in the future.
I enjoy selling RVs, Park Models & Manufactured Homes but sometimes taking a trade for a new item is a little tricky. If you are interested in an RV, Park Model or Manufactured home or even have questions about these, you can visit my website for more information. www.scottinterdonato.com
I was listening to one of Grant Cardone's Youtube Video lectures last night and at one point he mentioned that customer's objections were actually customer's complaints. I had to stop the video and think about that. I am currently a salesperson selling at a company called Harveys RV in Summerfield, Florida. I have been a wholesale representative, advertising salesperson and now retail salesperson. For the last 10 years I had to slightly conform my selling style to meet the type of selling required for different sales positions. I do believe that some skills in selling is the same but I know being in different situations can also be different.
In the sales arena I am in today I decided to really look at the customers coming unto the retail center when it was my turn. I listen intently to their objections to see if they were actually complaints. I do not know yet if I was conforming what they said as a complaint but several comments the customers made sure sounded like one. I really enjoy my position at this retail store in which everything we sell is a higher ticket price product and I would like it to be the last career move I make for another 20 years. That would make me 70 years old.
I will parctice learning to address the complaints (If they really are one) and answer what Grant said by saying, "Just Sign Here!".
Since I have been working at Harveys RV & Mobile Home sales in Summerfield Florida the retail experience has been great. I came from a wholesale selling business where the sale consisted on my customers (Business to Business) consistently buying my product through-out the year. On the retail side I do hope my customers come back to buy again but that may not be for several years when they want to trade-in their older RV for a newer RV or Park Model Home. Anyways the retail environment at Harveys RV has allowed me to use my own experience and skills to comfortably sell the way I want to. And its working.
Life has thrown me a few curves since I last posted to this blog. Because of circumstances of home life I have switched companies I work for. My homelife is Great and my family is doing well, it was something else I do not wish to share at this time. I am glad to be back and to give some insite to the profession known as sales. For the last 10 years I have sold small to high priced products wholesale. This kind of selling takes a lot of patients because building business relationships does not happen over night. Some companies I did business with took 6 months to a year to get in with them.
Customers who are not always unhappy with their current suppliers are infact harder to get into then someone who would buy from anyone. Now I am in a situation of selling retail to customers coming unto a retail center. It is still a higher price product but not overly high. I currently sell pre-owned RVs, New Park Models and Mobile Homes. The RVs and the Park Models are usually seasonal buys so I had to prepare myself for the season I am in. I am currently working to see if I can't influence customers to buy when they are not in season. Within the 3 months I have been with Harveys RV & Mobile Home Sales I have sold 4 RVs and 4 Park Models. What I work the hardest to sell is myself.
I enjoy working there and enjoy the customers that come in. I am looking forward to a long career here.
Sean Parker is a name that many people have different reactions to. Every video interview I watch seems to ask him questions that seem to point him to dishonesty or lying. One interview I watched showed the interviewee asking him if he was really an investor in Napster. Of course he was. Not only did he have his own money he raised the initial $50,000 that launched Napster. There is a documentary on Netflix that actually showed how much Sean Parker did for Napster and his involvement. The documentary is called,” Downloaded” and I would recommend anyone in sales to watch it to see what it takes to be successful.
Even though Shawn Fanning was the initial idea and programmer of Napster it was Sean Parker’s salesmanship and negotiating skills that made it a name. Shawn Fanning had once said that all he wanted to do at Napster was to be a programmer. I agree with many writings that Sean Parker is a great serial entrepreneur and has what it takes to be financially successful but I see Sean Parker as a great negotiator and salesperson.
Sean Parker has everything a salesperson should work to obtain. He has passion, persistence, takes rejection well, listens carefully and can read people. I do not know where he learned these skills but I have a feeling he was born with them even though his mother was a TV advertising broker. It is important to see (visualize) the big picture of the sale like Sean does with start up companies.
Another good trait I noticed that Sean Parker has is he goes after the things he wants and not sit back to wait for people (prospects / Decision makers) to come to him. Some examples are:
1. The people he raised $50,000 for Napster start-up
2. Peter Thiel investor for Facebook
3. Daniel Ek the founder of Spotify in Sweden.
All these people are the ones Sean parker took initiative to contact and connect with. If you are sitting back and waiting for sales to happen then you are in the wrong business. Even if the company you work for spends thousands of dollars to obtain customers you still have to pick up the phone and prospect. After all being a salesperson is a business in its own right. If you want your business to succeed you need to do whatever it takes to be successful.