Episode 2: Salesmanship Without The Pushy feeling
RUN! IT’S A SALESPERSON! The pushy salesperson is the worst fear of both customers and most salespeople and managers of various industries More often than not, people are not pushy but rather passive. However, Salesmanship is about taking your trade seriously, creating a welcoming and professional sales environment and having the training and accountability to provide an excellent experience during any sales presentation.
*Disclaimer: This transcription was automatically generated so we would like to apologize for any misspellings or grammatical errors in advance
Today we are going to talk about how to create a sales culture without being pushy or coming across as pushy and the reality is, pushiness as a salesman is just bad manners. you’re prematurely closing the sale, you’re trying to get after everybody and asked them to buy buy buy, but the reality is the reason why cultures have created a pushy environment is because if you ask enough people, someone’s going to say yes. so really it’s like rewarding bad behaviour. This is all a result of management allowing salespeople or salesmen & women to be pushy. if management holds their sales teams accountable and if management trains their sales team, you can create a sales culture without anyone feeling like they’re getting pushed on or that their sales culture is pushy.
Justin: Welcome back guys. today we’re going to talk to Harry about how a company can create a sales culture, their sales team, without being pushy or without the customer feeling like the salespeople are being pushy. Welcome back Harry, thanks for joining us.
Harry: Justin, always a pleasure.
Justin: So talk to me, talk to me. pushy salespeople, It’s almost like everyone’s fear, right you go into a place someone’s being pushy but the reality is every company wants to sell and so how does a company or organization create a sales focus culture or customer engagement culture whatever you want to call it without their sales staff pushing or being pushy to customers that walk in.
Harry: well this is fun. I mean, you know this is once again my whole ten thousand but you are supposed to be right in it or my washing machine example instead of being in it let’s take a look at it.
So pushiness and aggressiveness. First of all it’s just bad manners. It’s just bad manners. It has nothing to do with anything other than just that. People who are aggressive and push people outside of their comfort zone are just people with bad manners. Now let’s talk about how bad manners come about. First of all, you could just have bad manners in life. I mean you could just meet people were just never taught? Yeah that’s part of it and they’re also not aware that they have bad manners. Which is I suppose partly due to training as taught or just the awareness you have as a person in any event, in any event let’s talk about what the common beliefs are. The first common belief is, is that sales people are paid commission therefore they’ll be pushy. Okay. There’s just no question about that. We know that it manifests itself in people saying well I don’t want to be a salesperson, I don’t want to be pushy. You’ve heard that, you know what I mean. You know I don’t like sales, I don’t like pushing things on people, and I don’t like manipulating people. We hear that all the time and we also hear retailers that say look you know we sell like a team we’re a family we don’t you know Pay Commission, we don’t want our customers abused! Well I just absolutely detest those answers, it’s ridiculous. It’s not true. What is true is that management has allowed people to behave a certain way regardless of their pay. Some of the finest retail stores I’ve ever been to in my life and some of the great presentations that have been made to me and I never stop to think About how the person’s going to get paid it doesn’t really matter to me I mean probably a little too young but back in my day you know we had paper boys & paper girls I was one for a while and you drive around the neighborhood and throw papers at people’s front yard and Then once a month you would get off the bike and get the money. Right! It’s like, Mr Smith you owe me ten bucks and Mr Smith doesn’t stop to think I wonder what Johnny’s cut is in that 10 bucks. You know, I wonder if one of those guys get too much juice you know maybe I can get this thing for nine bucks about ten bucks you know. You know Johnny is making too much money. These aren’t even considerations. It never dawns on anybody. So when things are done well, There’s never a thought of how the sales person gets compensated ever let’s get that straight there’s no excuse for bad behavior no matter how anybody gets paid. I mean, do you ever think of your doctor and think of what his cut is after the insurance? I don’t think we think about people’s cut when things are you know they share, when things are done right.
Justin: I don’t think we want to think about it in certain situations like the doctor.
Harry: Yeah but we don’t think about doctors being in business that they are a business And so our dentist dentists feel a lot more comfortable adding on like crazy than doctors do and chiropractors are like wow they’re like the used car people of the world when it comes to selling additional stuff. you know I went to my dentist, this is funny, I went to my dentist last week and I got the guy starts pulling out the left radiation cover because he was going to do some X-rays and I looked at him and said How often do you like to do X-ray? He says, you know, every year. So I said well you know I actually looked at your records because you just did me six months ago and I don’t really see a need, nothing has changed radically. He went and checked and said you’re right but he was so willing to do the X-rays and they’re not free.
Justin: No. I get sold on that fluoride treatment every single time and I keep forgetting to say no but every single time like do you want to fluoride to strengthen your teeth? I was like, who doesn’t? This guy doesn’t but I always do.
Harry: Yeah and that has a little bit to do with credibility the salesperson having credibility and expertise and you just go Yeah well if you recommend it I’m going to do it which is a whole other subject. so if we want to talk about, in truth Pushiness generally comes from organizations that have a sales culture now it’s not always the case but let’s talk about what is a sales culture a sales culture has some attributes to it that are absolutely essential. Number one, sales people are held individually accountable for their sales. That begins a sales culture. Number two, we identify sub metrics to understand their performance either successes or failure. For example, we know what their average sale is; we know what their sales per hour is. If you’re a high performance retailer we even know conversion rate, in other words we know the batting average of the sales person. We know that if he talks to ten people and he sells two, he has a twenty percent conversion rate. That’s two out of ten, twenty percent or in baseball, we would say batting two hundred. We know these things typically in a high performance retail Environment. There might even be a turnover, meaning that if you can’t make the sale we might call in for some extra help and turn it over. We might know these things and help salespeople perform at a higher level as a result of having this data. so these are high performance stores.
When you have a high performance store and the sales person is earning their income by sales; as the sales go up, their income goes up. There’s a lot of attention paid to their success. The sales manager is probably paid a percentage of the sales some way or another, either based on what the sales people do individually or as the group and he says well wow I mean if I if I get these guys to sell more I can make more right And a lot of times these organizations are top down managed not bottom up managed meaning that the sales person the sales manager gets real cranky when sales goals are not hit. it’s real cranky and it goes up to the sales person says Hey Bob you need to sell more right you need to sell more you’re killing me man you need to sell more. How could you let that last customer leave I mean you need to sell more you need to sell more and this guy keeps swinging. Right! He just keeps swinging and swinging and swinging and that swinging often times is what the aggressive or pushy attribute looks like. That’s a salesperson swinging so we know some things; in retail we know that out of a hundred presentations typically, twenty percent of the time the customer actually says I’ll take it! I love those kinds of customers. Right! Even you can’t stop them from buying. They’re on a mission.
Harry: I love those people. Right! So twenty out of a hundred times the customer’s on a mission or they say I’ll take it. Twenty times out of a hundred the sales person actually gets around to saying would you like to buy it? Now we’re not even talking about how we (00:10: 15) right! So there are a million different closing techniques but somehow or another it gets around to saying hey would you like it and the most frightening statistic of all is sixty times out of a hundred no attempt is made to close the sale, no attempt! Forget about it, Forget about swinging and missing no attempt. So if we believe that stat, I actually think it’s worse than that. if we believe that stat that say sales people aren’t even closing, if we run a sales organization where we actually asked people ask our staff to close the deal ask But they’re not very good at it they would appear to be very very pushy and particularly with customers who are so used to not being asked if this guy asks at all even in a nice way sometimes it could be perceived as pushy or pressing
Justin: so just take a step back so everybody listening understands and so I understand; the six percent that don’t actually try to close the sale at all, how are you defining closing the sale Or is it literally just making a suggestion, is it even engaging with the customer? At what point do you determine that they’ve made no attempt? How do you define no attempt?
Harry: Well no attempt is no attempt! I mean this is not, we’re not a library you know the librarian comes by and you’re looking at a book and they say wow that’s really a wonderful book I read it a couple of years ago I really enjoyed it and then they keep walking you know. That’s kind of what I’m saying. It’s an action! It’s an action! there’s a lot of different kinds of closing techniques I mean it could be as subtle as taking the item and start walking to the register and the customer (00:11:56) close I mean it’s crazy but yeah you would know the difference between someone who close the sale and someone who just makes a presentation and leaves it at that and the customer can say things like, Well thank you very much for showing it to me I appreciate it and the sales person says no problem and walks away. Think about how many times that’s happened to you. Do you have any (00:12:23) and the salesperson, yeah absolutely? Walk over, shows the (00:12:29) doesn’t engage and the presentations over and the sales person walks back to the sales manager says they weren’t interested. Well that’s not what happened. So getting back to our theme for the day which is pushiness and aggressiveness, I’ll always defined it as a lack of technique and a lack of understanding of the sales process and there’s two parts to a sales process. There’s greeting a customer, opening the sale through to a demonstration, where you’re actually presenting the merchandise. And we call that the front half or the front end of the sale. And the second part of the sale is after the demonstration, Through the collection of money, right through closing the sale and thanking the customer and that we call the backend of the sale and If one were to study a sales presentation in those two parts as opposed to a global presentation the whole thing, We start to see where the meltdown is and if you were to go so crazy and care so much about your success, You would actually have two different conversion rates, two different close percentages. you would have the greeting to a demo as a close percentage and then the demo to a final close which would be another conversion percentage and if you were to study those things as I have for many many many many many moons you would find that sales people have a tendency to lose the sale up front not behind.
Harry: so it’s not their closing techniques or their ability to handle objections, I’ll be back, I think it over, I’ll shop around, your price is too high, i’ve got to talk to my wife, my dog, the neighbor; That’s not generally the problem. the problem is the foundation of the sale which is to say that you create a person to person relationship, you actually do some probing to find out what they want with their hopes their dreams their aspirations are why they want the item which is more important than the what You make a demonstration t that gets them fired up. You know when a customer is fired and there’s a match you know their hopes and dreams and they’re actually saying it in front of them to some greater or lesser degree they’re just turned on by it. It’s just that simple. We can get detailed later but I mean do they want to touch, it feel, it play with it, try it on and all the other things they want to be involved in. you could tell when someone’s just tripping on an item. You know after that, and then it’s a matter of who in the world would buy a book that had eleven chapters and throw it away after you read ten? I mean, you’ve done I believe you have I believe you’ve done a century on a bike right you did A century ride I think you did, didn’t you?
Justin: If you consider it over two days, a century
Harry: You’ve done a couple metric centuries or whatever the heck it was but if you were to do a century ride which is the bicycle person’s kind of Equivalent to a marathon; let’s just take a marathon runner, 26.2 miles, I mean who in the world would want to quit after twenty five? You just can’t even imagine! It would be, that’s where you see runners crying maybe they just completely ran out of gas but you don’t quit when you have that much of an investment, do you?
Harry: most of us don’t so the thing is if you were to invest in the front side of a sale which is get to a customer to a point of you know breathing hard and heart beat goes up and they’re kind of excited about it I think you’ll know what to do and it wouldn’t need to be pushy and it wouldn’t need to be aggressive and it wouldn’t need to put the customer at ill ease. So that’s where that comes from and if the management team appreciates the upfront part of selling and developing relationships they will not have an organization that is perceived as pushy or aggressive.
Yes, topic for another day but sort of the power of the sales manager and the role they play in creating this sort of sales culture and holding their team accountable for things like properly opening the, sale not being pushy I mean that it’s going to fall on the manager’s shoulders, the sales manager shoulders.
Harry: You know my best analogy or metaphor has always been the conductor of the symphony orchestra. That’s Just, you know, it’s a matter of taking these outstanding musicians and getting them in so in sync that the music sounds beautiful and there are some conductors that are just flat out better than others and some performances that you know put tears in your eyes they’re so magnificent. it’s kind of like a band also, You know the individuals have to be Good they have to play their role they have to be successful to the degree that the individuals are successful in a band is to the degree that the band sounds good. is it any different than on a sales floor?
Justin: No! No, it’s not.
Harry: but if the guitarist and the piano player and the drummer or whatever band it is, is getting aggressive and just you know just going crazy,
Justin: (00:18:20), right?
Harry: Or they do the final movement before they you know the band actually you know there’s the first movement and they are already finishing the song I mean it’s a little wonky.
Justin: Well Harry final thoughts on creating a sales culture that’s not pushy in the eyes of a consumer
Harry: Well first of all You have to set up a sales culture and that’s that originally is done through the accountability of sales people and how they’re paid. this is the United States, this is America. Now I know the millennials, you youngsters think a little bit differently than some of us older tried and true mature adults think. however the truth is, we’re a country that somehow, someway, somewhere along the line said, if you work hard if you keep your nose to the grindstone and you really rock it you learn some things you have an opportunity to be very successful in this country. I really believe that’s true. I believe that if I do more, perform better, right and kick some butt, that I’m going to be compensated for that. that’s our core belief and if you take two sales people on the floor and one is outselling the other by two to one and yet the one that’s underperforming makes a buck or two or ten or twenty dollars more an hour just because they’ve been there longer! Wow! I think You need to pack your bags and move to Cuba not America. so I don’t just think that we need to have productivity based pay some people call it Commission you call it whatever you like but it’s where people get rewarded for their performance. I mean that starts the whole, that starts the conversation. Now you have a sales culture and its fair it makes sense now it’s a matter reeling them in and getting them to go in a common direction not unlike the symphony or the band conductor. You know if you were to take out a great symphony orchestra the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles philharmonic; I mean these are great orchestras. Most of their players are so good. Certainly first chair which means that the number one violinist, the number one cellist. These guys have their own CDs. I mean this is not just in the band. These guys are soulless and phenomenal performers on their own right but they do give up a little bit of their style to work together towards a common goal. I think that sales management can cause that to happen as long as it’s a sales culture and that culture first is on accountability, second on pay, third on direction and what is allowable in terms of sales performance on the floor. So that’s what this is all about. Those are the final thoughts and you have the right as an employer to choose how you want your people to behave. You actually have that right under federal law and I would choose people to perform at a very high level through empathy, great presentations and personal relationships with their customers. You can’t lose when you care about your customers and you want to do the right thing both for the customer and store.
You’ve been listening to retail revisiting. If our conversation today inspired you please be sure to rate us on iTunes or shares with your friends. You can see a full list of all our episodes at www.thefriedmangroup.com. And for more information on how the Friedman Group can transform your business, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A special thanks to Harry J. Freidman for sharing his thirty five years of unbelievable experience for all of us to hear.