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Monday, December 5, 2011

Curiosity Killed the Cat but Gives Birth to Great Sales

This is one of a series of articles by Mónica Arias of Excellence Consulting, a luxury sales and marketing consulting firm based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. These articles will focus on ways that sales and marketing professional in the jewelry and luxury industries can improve their techniques.

How important is it to be curious in the sales profession? It’s very. and for many reasons.

To start, because the more questions you ask your customers, the more chances you will have to gather information about them. This will reflect in more “tailored” or “suitable” options to offer from which they can choose from. No secret here: asking open questions is one of the golden rules in this profession.

But, how do you do it without being “salesy” or sounding pushy? By interacting with your clients in a natural manner—bearing in mind that you need to make them feel comfortable with you, way before making a demonstration. The situation, of course, will vary depending on the sales context itself, but the rule applies to almost all sales situations: first make connection with your clients, then, and only then, start displaying some options according to what you captured could match their wishes or desires.

Secondly, being curious and asking open questions will ease your way to even something more challenging and magical: you could make your client feel a new need or sudden desire to acquire something he did not even think of. Many salespersons stop questioning clients after they closed the sale, or when they are about to, because they do not feel comfortable with a continuous “post sales” dialogue. However, more often than not, you can sell extra items by simply maintaining a natural flow of questions.

Asking open questions is a way to nourish your relationship with clients and provide something they will adore: excellent service.

You will be noticed, acknowledged and remembered by your clients. Your job is not only selling or reaching your goals, but also having in mind that they need to be assisted in the most appropriate manner, even if the sale does not occur. They need to feel your kindness and professionalism all the time, and you must always go the extra mile in order to give good advice and serve them with high quality standards.

Some sales consultants do not believe that curiosity should be applied to the sales profession. They argue that being curious in the sales process may lead to misunderstandings. Although it is true you are not supposed to ask intimate questions or look as if you were trying to interfere in your customers´ private lives, I think it all depends on other factors rather than the questions themselves: you have to pay close attention to your tone or voice, how you look at your clients straight to their eyes, the way in which you listen to them with your full attention, the manner in which you address your clients, the way you gesture and so many other details which make curiosity look like a poor term to apply after all.

If you love sales, you need to keep curiosity alive because, as it happens with all professionals, you must have you skills updated. You will have to read new books, refresh your vocabulary, search the web for online courses and articles and enrich yourself with new materials. In other words: Never disregard curiosity. It may have killed the cat but will it certainly help you give birth to great sales and your best performance.

Mónica M. Arias
Excellence Consultant: Helping you discover how to reach your next level through excellence.
Copyright 2011