You enter a shop; you make a call, you write an email, you start a chat thread; if you are intention is to buy some stuff, you will for sure will be greeted by a pleasant, cheerful, and curious (with some amount of artificiality, though the effort is to hide it):
‘How can I/We help you?’
I – if the person is from junior level, We – if the person is mid/senior level.
Even with your limited experience in sales and with salespeople, you can make out the mask talking to you and the honest salesperson hiding behind the mask trying to sell their product. True salesmanship is the ability of the salesperson to break this paradigm, the spontaneous pattern by which a customer is forced to make a sudden judgment, effortlessly and by default, on the superficiality of a sales pitch.
There are three kinds of salespersons when it comes to their service to their customers:
- The first kind, who knows their products and services. They are aware of their offer’s strengths and efficacy and possible alternatives. Above all, they are ready to suggest options (which are their apparent competition) based on customer requirements and priorities.
- The second kind is those who, too, know their products and service. They are neither willing nor aware of suitable alternatives, failing to educate customers about possible plan Bs.
- The third kind is ignorant of their products, services, and alternatives. These salesmen can and will mislead their customers dangerously.
Out of the three kinds, if the customer approaches the first kind of salesperson, they will get trustworthy information that will help them make a prompt decision. Even if the salesperson cannot sell their offerings in the first go, they win the customer and build a long-term relationship. If the customer reaches the second kind of salesperson, they can buy what the salesperson sells, which may not be the best solution to the customer’s requirement. Once the customer learns about possible alternatives, they may not prefer the salesperson next time. When customers reach the third kind of salesperson, they neither get the product nor the information that can fulfill their needs.
In the first kind, the salesperson and the customer wins long term. In the second scenario, both win in the short term. And in the third instance, both of them fail.
Sales are the process of enabling the transaction. The transaction is performed through the exchange of commodities for money. But, the decision to make a transaction is performed based on the quality of information gathered during the process (of selling and buying), which tells salespersons are not only the individuals who are capable of persuading and convincing, they are the ones with helpful and guiding information to their customers.