I just wrapped up 15 of marketing mistakes and this might be the perfect time to focus on the number of selling errors that come to mind. I will focus on one sales mistake each day for the next couple of weeks.
The notorious up-sale.
The gift-of-gab has no place in business today. There’s no need for memorizing and rehearsing verbal retorts and proactive sales pitches. After taking the time to understand one’s particular buying motives, your one and only responsibility is to recommend what you feel is in the best interest of your client.
Every sales books I have ever read includes a lengthy chapter telling how it will be in the interest of you and your pocketbook to up-sell people. If the prospect says this, you say that. If they do that, you do this. When they finally do by this, you slide on a few that’s. Sounds pretty manipulative if you ask me. I feel strongly that you should think less of yourself if you ever find yourself implementing these tactics.
Up-selling is not a good strategy unless of course it is in your client’s best interest. The moral of the story: Don’t up-sell. Sell what is right for the buyer given the current set of circumstances.
You are supposedly the specialist. You’re the person who knows about the product. Tell me what I need to know. Tell me what I need to hear. If I don’t ask the right questions, tell me what I should be asking. When necessary, put the right words in my mouth. If it costs more, so be it. If it cost less, I can learn to live with that as well. On occasion, you’ll feel that the right thing to do is to down-sell, or recommend a less costly item. Sometimes it will be correct to make no recommendation at all. At times you may find yourself pointing your would-be clients toward the competition. If you need a slogan to live by, here’s one you can take to the bank: Do what’s right!
A sale for a sale’s sake is yesterday’s news. Your primary objective should be to strive to establish a relationship with your steadily growing customer base based on trust. This calls for honesty and straightforwardness, and it will take time. If you or your boss finds it difficult to swallow this advice, you’re probably running your sales program from the script handwritten by monks on parchment.
Unfortunately, you are still in good company. There remains in our country a plethora of clowns (educated and non) who still demand buying their expensive gold-plated watches with the money they fleeced from customers who have a difficult time saying “no.”
Your job is to look out for your customer’s best interest and to recommend a workable and acceptable solution. At times, this may indeed result in a higher commission. Other times, you may forfeit your commission altogether.
What turns many people away from a career in sales is the misguided mindset that they must learn how to present ideas and solutions that border on fiction or share nonsense. Nothing is further from the truth. To become successful in sales, you must speak the truth in a clear, slow, and orderly fashion while encouraging the customer to candidly voice their concerns.
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.