What a great post! Thank you to Escape from Cubicle Nation for pointing this valuable resource out.
Of all the advice, I’m drawn to Michael Port’s thoughts on trust:
“All sales start with a simple conversation. It may be a conversation between you and a potential client or customer, between one of your clients and a potential referral, or between one of your colleagues and a potential referral. An effective sales cycle is based on turning these simple conversations into relationships of trust with your potential clients over time. We know that people buy from those they like and trust. But as Sir Winston Churchill once said, ‘It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.’”
Click here to read the rest of SBA’s best tips on marketing for small business.
Wow Leslie, thanks for that great example! I think all of this really shows that we are in a new era and old tactics (like the hard sell) do not work anymore.
I’m answering before I read the link. So, forgive me if I am stating anything that is at the other site!!
For 12 years, I managed a small, very successful business, a wildlife art gallery and custom picture-framing shop.
I knew then (and, I still feel this way) that a good product sells itself. There is no need for a person to “sell” it (if you know what I mean!). The salesperson is there to answer any and all questions honestly and, if the customer likes the product, handle the transaction and wrap it up.
If the customer is happy with their sales experience in a business, they will return. An excellent product, commitment to customer satisfaction, honesty and no pressure selling are prime keys to successful business.
If I sensed that someone was unsure about a print they were considering, I would actually talk them out of purchasing it. I could see they weren’t 100% sure or happy about their possible purchase. I would tell them, “Hey, I can see you you’re just not sure about this for whatever reason. Why not go home and think about it. I can put a hold on this for a week. Give me a call if you decide you do want it. This is a lot of money (some of our framed prints were priced at $500+) to make a snap decision on! I won’t call you and ask if you want it. If I don’t hear back from you within the week, no problem. We are a no-pressure kind of business. I want you to REALLY want this art. And, next time you come in, because I want you to come in again, there will be no talk about this if you choose not to buy it, okay? If it’s meant to be in your home, it will. If not, then, maybe something else another time!”
Sometimes, they called back and said they didn’t want it. But, they ALWAYS came back to look again. And, the majority DID buy something else later.
You know what? I had a wonderful group of customers that loved our no-push policy! We had a terrific repeat customer base (several couples/individuals each spent, on average, over $10,000 per year on artwork from us).
We stressed honesty about everything we sold. When someone would ask, “Will this go up in value?” I would tell them, “I honestly don’t know. It may, it may not. But, are you buying it because you like it or because it might be valuable one day? If it is the latter, there are other, better, investments out there. Art should bring pleasure to your heart and eyes, not you bank account!”
We also really knew our customers, too. I knew what they liked and and remembered those things. And, I did this without a computer! We didn’t buy a computer until the last year I worked. The human element is very important!!! Computers are nice and make life easier, sometimes. But, the look of surprise and pleasure on a client’s face when you can tell them, from memory, their address or about something they purchased several years earlier is priceless!! We didn’t use computer invoices, we wrote everything. It really helped remembering things later. I know that a BIG company couldn’t do this as easily, in this day and age. But, it does make a difference.
I like that Bramble Berry takes the time to enclosed a little note, now and then, in my box of supplies. I like seeing my name hand-written on the inside of the box by whomever packed it.
This human touch is so important in a world where customers may never even set foot in the same state from which they purchase their supplies or goodies. The internet has made the world a smaller place in some ways, and a larger place in many others as it distances us from each other. We buy without seeing a face or hearing a voice or knowing a person’s name.
Your blog brings a true human touch to your business. We love learning new things and, sorry to say, even seeing your failures (that glass-in-the-microwave disaster!!). It shows there are real human beings on the other end of the cyber-connection.
Keep up the good work!
Ah, sorry, Anne-Marie. Didn’t mean to get on my soapbox, no pun intended!
Phew! Now I have to go make soaps to trade for a massage on Wednesday. 4 soaps = one massage. Ah, the bliss……..
Leslie @ Quail Meadow Creations
That was very inspiring. Thank you for sharing Anne-Marie!
Wow, what a wealth of info. I am bookmarking that site. Thanks,
Michelle in NV
A.M., I can’t find your email. I think I know it, but I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll email Erik for it.
If I had a clue how to make those big, bold, red letters I would 🙂