“I’m not a salesperson; I’m in customer service,” Kelly insisted.
Her manager had asked if I could help her improve her job performance.
“But you get paid a bonus when someone buys something new…” I responded.
“Yes, if I get lucky, they buy more stuff, but that’s up to them.”
“Are they more likely to buy something if you are good at customer service?”
“Maybe. I’m just being helpful, and they buy more.”
“And that’s what selling is all about. Helping people to buy what they need. But there is one major difference.”
“Oh, what’s that?”
“With a slight shift in your approach, you could help even more people…and make more money.”
“But I don’t want to be pushy. My manager is always on my case to push harder for more sales, but that’s just not me.”
“So the question is, can you sell more, but do it without changing your personality or values? Is that the question?”
“I suppose… what have you got in mind?”
“Let’s try looking at the job from a slightly different perspective. To clarify, you do like helping people as well as the extra money for new sales, is that correct?”
“Do you believe your company provides good value to their customers?”
“Yes. I couldn’t do this if I didn’t.”
“And when customers buy, it’s because they have a need or a problem to be solved?”
“That’s right. It’s not fluff.”
“So you are helping them to solve their problems?”
“I guess I am.”
“Do they sometimes come back to you for things they forgot?”
“That happens all the time.”
“Could you have saved them time and maybe even money by asking a few questions earlier that might have uncovered that need?”
“So if your goal is to help the customer solve their problem, did you do that by just taking the order and asking no further questions?”
“Hmm… I see where you’re going… but won’t people get upset if I start asking them questions?”
“They might – if you ask stupid questions; but not if you are showing genuine interest and concern for their well-being. The thing is if you’re just taking orders, you can be replaced with an app. When you sincerely help them to make good buying decisions, you’re adding value. You’re helping the customer solve a problem, you’re helping your company generate revenue to pay the overhead and salaries of everyone who works here and you’re helping yourself.”
Kelly realized she needed to ask more questions to help her customers and encourage them to buy items to make their job easier. While she still considered herself in customer service, not sales, her sales went up, as did her confidence and income.