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7 Tips For Salespeople

February 18, 2011 · 245 comments

in Misc Tips, Work

The other day, I received a phone call from a local car dealership.  They were calling to remind me that the lease on our car was coming due in a month and we could pull the lease ahead if we purchased or leased another vehicle.  Wow, pulled-ahead one full month, what a deal!

Now I am thrilled that I will be done with this lease payment in just thirty days.  I am not an advocate of leasing cars, but this was a company car and we ended up having to keep the lease ourselves when my husband changed jobs.  I have no intention of ever leasing again unless the deal of a lifetime shows up.

Anyway, the person calling me was saying that the dealership had some great deals going on and I really should consider buying a new car.  I then asked her if they had zero percent financing and she said she didn’t know.  I then asked if there were any particular models that were on special and she didn’t know that either.  At the end of the phone call she said that if I was interested in getting a new car to ask for salesman ‘X’ when I came in to the dealership.  Basically, Mr. X was having this admin-type person call people who had leases coming due and was trying to lure them in to the dealership.

Unfortunately for Mr. X, his ploy had the opposite affect on me.  I personally want to deal with a salesman that truly cares about the customer, or at least pretends to.  Mr. X. just sent this woman out to deal with people and didn’t properly prepare her to do the job he asked.  Don’t tell me there are great deals available and then not know what they are.  I want to be wooed darn it!

This interaction just made me think about selling in general.  So here are my tips for salesman who might actually want my business:

  1. Know your stuff. I want you to know the product you are selling onside and out.  I want you to educate me, not the other way around.  I may actually need your expertise to help make my decision.  I would like an informed opinion and not just facts I could get from reading the box.  Also, please don’t sound like you are reading from a handout.
  2. Don’t act like a vulture.  There is nothing I hate more than being attacked by multiple salesmen when I walk in a store.  Introduce yourself, give me your card, then give me some space.
  3. Pay attention to ME! Don’t take calls or roam away to do something else when we are talking unless something is on fire, or maybe If your wife is in labor.  (Or you are in labor.)
  4. Be honest with me. I don’t want to buy the bundle of useless accessories that go with the electronics I am buying.  I know they are overpriced and that is how your store makes money.  (Of course, following this tip may cost a salesman their job, and I don’t want that to happen.)
  5. Don’t badger me on an extended warranty. Offer it if you must, but recognize that no means no!
  6. Tell me if something is going on sale soon. Again, I don’t want anyone to get fired, but I would love if I knew I should wait a week to make my purchase.
  7. Tell me why you are the best. Don’t just tell me why I shouldn’t buy from company X or Y.  I want to hear why I should buy from YOU.  If you just rip on other companies, I am less likely to trust you.  Have a compelling argument for why you are the best.

What about you?  Do you have any tips that would help all the salespeople out there?

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew @ 101 Centavos February 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

Kris, having spent more than a few years in sales earlier in life, I appreciate some good attention. We bought some new mattresses for the boys yesterday, and were lucky enough to have a professional salesperson. I explained to Mrs. 101 about “ups”, how salespeople get to take turns to take the next incoming customer. Lucky in turn for this guy, we were good prospects: we knew what we wanted, in and out quick, a fast sale.


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I am sure that you would be an example in the mattress salesperson’s blog of what a good customer should be like!


Roshawn @ Watson Inc February 18, 2011 at 7:37 am

These are great tips. I think it definitely would do salespeople well to adhere to such principles. As the highest paying profession, selling is quite important and in some sense, we all do it.


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:35 pm

You are right, we all have to sell ourselves in one way or another. Some people have such unique talents they can get away with basically saying whatever they want. But the rest of us do have to do a good job of selling ourselves.


Deidre @ TransFormX February 18, 2011 at 8:27 am

Great list of tips Kris. Years ago my then husband and I got suckered into one of those deals. I did try and talk him out of it but he was adamate, worse decision EVER!


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Deidre- at least you can blame your ex-husband! 🙂


Deidre @ TransFormX February 19, 2011 at 5:47 pm

LOL so true Kris, so true! 😀


Nicole February 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

I recently read a great book on salesmen techniques, “Influence”… and it was amazing how a lot of the tactics they use that cause me to dig my heels in and be annoyed actually work on most people. I’m totally a sucker for a certain type of salesperson (smooth talking gracious ones who are able to tell me exactly what to get and why after listening to me in a way that isn’t patronizing), but a lot of the tricks that annoy me really do work on people other than me.


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Nicole, that is funny that you recognize that you are not the typical customer. I would probably like the same salesperson as you though based on what you said.


The Biz of Life February 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

It looks like a pretty good list to me. I can’t tell you how many sales people I deal that don’t know their stuff, badger the crap out of me, push extended warranties and are dishonest in general.


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Biz, I agree. It is like many of these salespeople either are not really prepared, or they just don’t care. Either one is bad.


MoneyCone February 18, 2011 at 9:28 am

I bought my first car from a car dealership. I vowed never again! And haven’t stepped into a dealership after that!

Of course, I understand your circumstances Kris, but yeah, I would be thrown off too if someone were to call me without knowing anything about what they are trying to sell to me.


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:32 pm

So how do you buy your cars now MoneyCone? Or do you just buy used?


Crystal @ BFS February 18, 2011 at 10:36 am

It really is like you read my mind sometimes, lol! Spot on!


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Maybe you really wrote the post then?


Money Reasons February 18, 2011 at 10:42 am

Act and be like you care instead of acting like a saleperson desperate to make a sale! I recognize the spin/spill when I hear one. But if you act like you own the product and it’s great and tell me the highlights of the product and why you like it… well, that might convince me to take the leap of faith.


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:31 pm

MR, I agree. When the salesperson tells me they own the product, I usually actually believe them, although they may be lying about it. It does make me trust the product more for some reason though.


JT McGee February 18, 2011 at 10:50 am

I can’t stand salespeople, and it is rare that I can even begin to trust a thing they tell me. I feel bad for the ones who are actually interested in helping people, I’m not always the nicest guy in the world when I get the “tactics.”

One thing I’ve learned is that the best way to beat a salesperson is to tell them you’re a salesperson. Instantly, their salesprocess changes.

Example: Going to a dealership. You walk up, they ask their typical “what kind of payment are we looking for?” and you respond, “well, I work at X in sales and I need something that looks professional.”

Bam! Financial death question averted and the salesperson realizes none of their games are to be played on you. 😛


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Hmm, I had never thought of using the “I am a salesperson” tactic. Interesting!


Deidre @ TransFormX February 19, 2011 at 5:49 pm

JT…that is priceless! Can’t wait to try that one out 😀


Finanzas Personales February 18, 2011 at 10:50 am

Your number 6 reminded me of one I’d like to add:
“Don’t tell me it’s the last day of the sale / the last unit in stock / my only opportunity to buy @ that price when it really isn’t”. I find it really annoying when salespeople tell me this kind of thing in order to close the deal right away and I come back tomorrow to find the same product (so it wasn’t the last one) at the same price (so it wasn’t the last day either).
I think many times salespeople think they have one shot and they must close the deal. And yeah, it might work… but whenever I feel this has happened, I make sure I won’t buy anything from that person again. But when I feel another attitude, I develop some kind of loyalty to the salesperson and buy from him or her again.


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Oh, I hate that stupid ‘high pressure’ tactic. The one good thing about the internet and such is that you can get whatever product in a variety of places, so you don’t have to really feel pressured like you maybe once did. I love knowing that I can walk away from a ‘great deal’ knowing I can use a coupon or something just a week later.


Squirrelers February 18, 2011 at 11:53 am

Really, what’s most important to me is honesty. If I can’t trust them, I will not buy from them. Why deal with dishonest people unless you have no choice? Also, I don’t like being badgered or having them act like vultures. If they apply the pressure, I’m likely to want to turn them down or find reasons to do so.

A sales person that’s honest, friendly, and knowledgable – that’s who I’m likely to want to work with.


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm

I totally agree Squirrel. If the person seems slimy for ‘fly-by-night-like’, then I just can’t waste my time.

I want a friendly salesman, but not one that won’t shut up when I want to be left alone.


krantcents February 18, 2011 at 11:53 am

Normally, I take myself out of the sales situation by using the fleet manager. The most important sales trait or characteristic is listening. I use that against sales people or anybody I negotiate with. Besides listening to the customer, another good sales trait or characteristic is asking questions. Some people call that qualifying the person to see if they are a customer. In a car dealership, they may ask you something like this: If i put together a really great deal for you, are you ready to buy today?


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Listening? But that would stop someone from talking about themselves. (Or hearing themselves talk.)

Very very true point Krant…


Suba @ Wealth Informatics February 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Great list. You might want to add, treat them with respect and accept that they “might” know more than you 🙂 Esp. when they see a single woman. I went into the dealership only to sign. I went once earlier to test drive and didn’t like it.


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Suba, very true. I feel like I must have ‘dummy’ scribbled across my forehead when I shop for certain items based on the way some salespeople treat me.


Financial Samurai February 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Sounds like good tips for those Yakezie Members who’d like to create ad campaigns!


Kris February 18, 2011 at 10:22 pm

I would like to create ad campaigns, and make money from them! 🙂


First Gen American February 19, 2011 at 8:03 am

I’m a salesperson, so I tend to be overly critical of bad ones. I’m the same with waitresses because I used to be one.

Yesterday I had a bad experience at my dealership. My new company car came in over a week ago. I called 3 times before I got a return phone call. Then they were late getting it ready twice. Was supposed to be ready tues, then Friday morning, then finally it was ready last night. Then when I picked it up yesterday, it ran out of gas 30 seconds after I pulled out of the their lot. That actually wasted an extra hour of my day. I hate dealing with car salespeople.


Dmarie February 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

though I realize you’re seeking tips for big-time sales, I read one time that waiters/waitresses make better tips if they say “for you” more. What can I do/get FOR YOU? Seems to me everyone wants to know “what’s in it for me,” so any salesperson would have an easier time getting me to listen if they quickly articulate what they can do for me, what their product will do for me.


Greg McFarlane February 20, 2011 at 3:04 am

“I personally want to deal with a salesman that truly cares about the customer”

Then you might be waiting a while.

Were you really going to respond to a car dealership’s cold call? Come on, you’re smarter than that. Of course the wretches who work in auto sales don’t care if you live or die. And of course they’re going to upsell you, badmouth competitors, and not tell you about upcoming sales. (“Please, don’t buy from me today. Instead, come back next month once you’ve had a chance to research, cool off, and shop around.”)

Be in the driver’s seat, figuratively. Figure out what you want, price it, then engage the dealer; not the other way around. Say no if you have to. There are 18 million new cars out there.
Or just read this: bit.ly/CYCFree


Car Negotiation Coach February 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I alwalys appreciate an honest salesman. Give me a transparent price and no shennanigans and I’m much more apt to buy with you even if it costs me an extra couple bucks. But play tricks and I’m out the door.


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