We’ve all been on the receiving end of an aggressive salesperson. It can be an awkward experience, to say the least. Fortunately, that’s only one of many ways to do it — with the right approach, sales can actually help build and strengthen vibrant client relationships. Discover some of our favorite ways to foster customer connection while you sell.
KEEP AN INTERACTIVE MINDSET
In last week’s article, we learned about using the 80-20 rule to consider home skincare products as an extension of your professional care. Similarly, the process of selling goes will become smoother (and more effective) when you think of it as a client-centered dialogue. Forget about making a sale; focus on the person.
Practice active listening.
The number one technique to sell without “selling” is to listen. People want to be heard. If you spend more time talking than the client does, they’ll feel you’re more focused on making a sale than you are on them, and their defenses will go up.
Very few people are naturally skilled listeners. In fact, studies have shown that we typically remember only 25-50% of what we hear. Luckily, it’s an easy-to-learn skill that can be improved by active listening, a type of concentrated listening that involves paying close attention to everything the other person is communicating (without mentally working on a reply) and reflecting their ideas back to them.
Be sure to:
- Set aside your own judgments, thoughts, and responses as you listen.
- Encourage them to continue with nods and quick verbal affirmations.
- Ignore distractions in your environment. Don’t try to multitask.
- Let them speak until they’re finished.
- Summarize their message in your own words to ensure you understood.
- Clarify anything you aren’t clear about.
Active listening shows that you’re genuinely there to help them, sale or no. It helps build essential trust and rapport, allowing the client to feel receptive and lean into the conversation with an open mind.
TIP: Be conscious of your body language. Show the speaker that they have your undivided attention by looking at them directly, making eye contact, and keeping an interested, open posture.
Ask insightful questions.
Getting to a person’s core needs is essential to finding an effective solution. Clients’ self-reported needs can paint an incomplete picture, however. They may not have a clear idea of where their skin needs help, whether their current regimen is benefiting them, or what types of solutions to look for. Validate their concerns first, then dig deeper.
For example: A customer might say they’re looking for a heavy-duty exfoliator and moisturizer for their dry, dull, and flaky skin. Upon further investigation, you may discover that the client is overusing their current exfoliating product, which is damaging their skin’s moisture barrier and contributing to its poor tone and texture. The requested products wouldn’t have been much help — but with the additional information, you can guide them toward a barrier-repair regimen to address the underlying problem.
Invest time into fact-finding before making a recommendation and you’ll often reveal areas where your products can offer unexpected value. (As an added benefit, these consultations typically help people feel on board and build trust in your expertise.)
TIP: Start with open-ended inquiries to gather information, then hone in with a few targeted questions.
Give them a taste of skincare science.
Your medical-grade solutions offer something more than ordinary drugstore products. Show that to your clients by giving them the added value of your professional knowledge. Teach them a little bit about why their skin does what it does (and what it needs) in a way they can understand.
That understanding will help them more fully appreciate the outstanding benefits your products deliver — and build their trust in your personalized recommendation. After all, it’s hard to want something if you don’t know why you need it.
For example, the hypothetical client in the story above would be much more likely to feel interested in a barrier-repair regimen once they understand how a healthy moisture barrier (and backing off the exfoliation) will stop the damage cycle that’s causing their dry, flaky skin.
TIP: Keep it simple. Use metaphors they can relate to. Give them just enough information to create context for what your solutions can do to improve their skin.
CLOSE TO THE FINISH LINE
Now that you’ve explored the client’s needs and shared some valuable insights on both sides, it’s time to make a recommendation. Stay tuned for Part 3 next week, where we’ll cover pressure-free ways to suggest products so that clients will want to buy.
EXPLORE COSMEDICAL’S RESOURCE CENTER FOR MORE SALES SUPPORT!