Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Show Them That You Care

Our Premise: Remember, every person you meet is wearing an invisible sign around their neck that says, “MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT!”

Perhaps you’ve heard the old adage that says “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I’m not certain who originally made that statement, but it rings true today more than ever.

During my retail sales days I quickly discovered that many customers were reticent at first to trust me and even acknowledge my existence. Unfortunately, people receive such poor service from the typical salesperson that they develop a thick skin when it comes to being willing to trust any sales professional. They need your help, but they have been burned so many times before by bad service that they are mistrusting and will often clam up and offer little to help you uncover their real need.

I soon learned that it generally takes between two and five minutes to begin breaking down the initial resistance of customers. When I was successful at breaking down their resistance and winning their trust, it was because I asked gentle, soft, focused questions about them, their needs and their desires. I was doing what Steven Covey says to “seek first to understand, then to be understood” (Steven Covey Seven Habits of Highly Successful People). I demonstrated that I cared about their needs, wants and desires. Dale Carnegie says this is one way of “speaking in terms of the other person’s wants and needs” (Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People).

What do people with whom you deal want from you? Are you in sales? Are you in people management? If you deal with people you must understand what makes people tick, where their buttons are that need pressing, and make sure you understand what it takes to make them feel important. Listen intently to the words they use and notice their body language so that you can present solutions and resolutions for their needs.

I remember vividly one couple I assisted. After a few words of greeting and asking some probing questions the wife asked me about a mattress that you flip. I responded by telling her that we didn’t have any mattresses on the floor that were meant to be flipped. She immediately responded by saying to her husband, “let’s go down the street and see what we can find somewhere else.”

I saw my opportunity and seized it. I turned my attention to the wife and began questioning her about her attraction to mattresses that needed to be flipped. She began to open up a bit, allowing me to talk about today’s technological advances in mattress making and how the need for the flipping was of an old style with lesser quality products from a past era. I spoke in terms of her wants and needs.

I was able to successfully get her over this mental hurdle and she started trying different beds. We went from one style to another until we hit on a particular bed with a beautiful pattern in the quilting layer that she fell in love with, and she loved the feel of that particular mattress. Nothing more was said about a mattress that flipped, I sold them this high quality single-sided mattress and she was a happy customer.

I listened, I qualified, I allowed her feelings to stand without challenging them, I presented today’s better systems for making beds, I discovered the exact feel and look that appealed to them and I successfully sold them their perfect bed.

Once a customer begins to look at you when you talk instead of avoiding eye contact, know that you are making progress. Some people will avoid looking you in the eye when they don’t know you and if they don’t trust you. Take a stroll down any street or boulevard and notice the amount of eye contact you receive.

Once you gain eye contact and their body stance begins to relax, continue to probe for more information so that you can better serve your customer. Watch for cues in their speech and body language that lets you know you are winning their confidence. To show a customer that I completely understand their concerns I will repeat to them what I heard them say, using their exact words.

Now you know one more way of how to “MAKE PEOPLE FEEL IMPORTANT!”

Michael Biggs is a speaker, writer, speech coach and vocal soloist. He lives in Edmonds, WA. with his wife Carolyn. His company is called Up-Words, “Offering Hope, Encouragement, and Inspiration One Word at a Time”. Michael’s business experiences include Director of Sales and Director of Marketing for three music publishing companies, Regional Director for Sylvan Learning Centers, and success in sales in retail, insurance and real estate. He is available to speak to your business or organization. Please contact him at 206-349-1888 or email him at

No comments:

Post a Comment