Stepping out of your Comfort Zone to find Success!
What exactly is your
comfort zone? For me it`s diamond sales, and dealing with people who respect that I am the expert, and know that I will do whatever is necessary to share my knowledge and to help them sell more diamonds. But while that is my perfect scenario to shine, I have to able to adapt when people aren`t aware of me or familiar with my experience level.
I prefer to deal with those customers that respect me, mesh with my style and consider my suggestions unfortunately; it doesn't always work out that way. I frequently find myself dealing with customers not accustomed to me or are used to working with my co-workers and have little to no knowledge of me at all. I use those opportunities to step outside my comfort zone. Whenever you are treading on new ground, i.e. someone you haven`t already dealt with, you have to become a bit of a chameleon and follow the customer's lead. Your own customers know you and appreciate how you operate, but an unknown customer may react differently or expect you to react as the co-worker they`re used to doing business with, would. My goal in those opportunities is to obviously make the sale or at the very least, set the stage for a sale by building rapport as quickly as possible. Never lose sight of that.
I have a note to myself taped to the corner of my monitor that reads: "I SELL DIAMONDS". It`s there to remind me that no matter what else my job entails; I am ultimately here to sell diamonds, everything else is secondary. To do that efficiently I need to constantly up my game by regularly step out of my comfort zone to improve on the things I do well.
In terms of the retail market, expanding your comfort zone is all about reacting to the individual customer in a way that makes them feel at ease. Sure, we would all like our customers to tell us very specifically what they want and in a way that we like so we can select the appropriate item and sell it to them. However, reality has taught us that, unfortunately, that's not how it works!
Look around you. Do all the salespeople in your store sell the same way? Outside of some basic similarities, everyone has his or her own style. Some are detail oriented, some are charismatic, some are great listeners and some have that "gift of gab". Those various archetypes would be regarded as their comfort zone descriptions that tend to be their natural tendencies. Those are the areas of sales styles that they have honed and worked and have led them to success. Staying within our comfort zones allows us to project confidence that helps us sway prospects. In a perfect world every retailer would have the luxury of having a "type" of salesperson for every "type" of customer. Unfortunately, none of us would be making a living if we were only able to sell to such a limited audience.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is the best possible way to get the most out of every situation. While there are many types of salespeople, there are still fundamental steps necessary to consistently make sales. Regardless of what type you are or aspire to be, you must master those steps before you can develop a style that suits you best. Learn from the successes of your coworkers.
If you find that a salesperson makes sales at a higher rate than you do, study what they do that`s different. For example, Suzie has always been the top producer in your store. She has a knack for putting customers at ease and picking out just the right item to show them. And her customers are "her" customers, they only want to deal with Suzie. Ask Suzie for her advice. Tell her you admire her skills and want to improve your own. Don't be afraid to ask her to critique you. Assure her you value her input and don`t get defensive.
If you are a more laid back, get-them-comfortable type, learn from the techniques of the bolder types, especially in the way they close. If you`re an information guru, a show-them-every-feature type that explains everything, learn how to recognize customers that do not want or need an education and learn from those that know how to expedite a sales opportunity.
Successful salespeople do the basics well, they know their business. By that I mean they know what's possible and what isn't. They know when a customer's requests can't be fulfilled and they will gently but firmly move them toward something that is possible. They avoid stating facts that may not be factual knowing that their credibility is on the line.
Regardless of style, they know how to qualify a customer and follow a pattern. Through observation and listening you may find the little tricks they use to get sometimes-difficult qualifying facts, like the budget, out in the open.
Ultimately all salespeople are judged by one yardstick, sales. To make sales you need to close. Whatever the sales type you are, you need to find an efficient way to present and close. If you pick up only one tip from a more successful salesperson, pick from the one who closes deals.
In the end, jack-of-all-trades master-of-none, does not apply in sales. You may be great at one type but, with work, you can be really, really good at the others with effort and practice.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable.