I love to write about sales. It was something I did, and I was good at it. I thought I would re-visit this topic with advice for would be sales people in retail or cold call sales.
Now, some of what I write may seem like old ground, but I added a few new twists. One reason for repeating old ground anyway is this is how we learn. Also, good sales pretty much doesn’t change. You sell you in sales.
Therefore; first, you have to look the part. Now if you are not equipped with startup capital to buy nice clothes, go to thrift stores for your clothes. It's a great place to find new or gently used professional clothes for a very small fraction of the cost. A nice suit can be bought dirt cheap that a tailor can make look brand new. Retail clothes like slacks, shirts and blouses can be had on the cheap there too. But make sure you buy really nice shoes no matter where you have to go for them.
Shoes are something that people notice even if they’re not looking. When police first did undercover in the old days when a professional police officer made much less than today, they couldn’t figure out why they had such a dismal success rate. Finally it dawned on them that their undercover agent’s shoes, which were what an honest cop could afford, were giving the undercover agents away. Criminals had more money and bought better shoes.
Now that you are dressed right, make sure the rest of you is maintained. How you look affects sales. Do you bite your fingernails, then manicure them. If you get a 5 o’clock shadow, invest in a good electric razor.
Remember also to go easy on perfume, cologne or aftershave. Use modest make-up, unless you work at a really wild place. Also keep in mind that in sales, tattoos and piercings are a no-no. I know it impinges on personal freedom, but you can be free at home. If you have tattoos already, by the way, it can still work for you. Tell prospective clients when the moment’s right that you sure were wild as a youth, but now you have a spouse and a kid and are all mom and apple pie. It will be endearing.
Remember who your clientele are also. My Dad drove a Lincoln and went into union plants. (A side tip here is drive an American car when you sell to plants or factories.). He needed a nice car for the bosses but If the plant people thought he was a “rich” sales guy, they would think he was “ripping them off” and it would hinder him from getting the sale.
Remember people may like making money, but they don’t have the concept in their heads that a sales person that is well paid is really good at his or her job, thus he or she will save them money by fixing problems before they blow up. The concept most people have, therefore, is that every penny you make is a penny they don’t save.
My Dad told people at these plants that he won the car in a bowling tournament. (Did he lie? It wasn’t their business so who cares). It made him look even more regular because of his winning personality. This is because sales is show business. Again, you sell you, not the product.
It is a well known fact that you need to make twenty sales calls in cold calling to make a sale. You need to suggest products in retail in a positive way to sell. “A perfect bag for that dress is right over here. I’m not pushing it, but I think you’d hate me if I didn’t show it to you.” Be honest too. Don’t sell an ugly bag. And suggesting a product may keep a customer from having to drive seventy miles round trip tomorrow to buy a purse she forgot to purchase with that outfit.
Also, don’t forget the internet. Creative search engine use can find you customers to call on.
But most of all, the “sales” you is an outgrowth of regular you. It’s like putting on make-up to act in a play. You may be still Joe or Sara Smith, but to an audience you are that character. And please, when you sell, have fun.