January archive. Posted by Kathy Pace: This post is an excerpt from Window Fashion VISION Magazine. The link to Kathy’s full article is below.
You have great products that can help a lot of people, so why does it feel like such a struggle to sell them?
Most of the time, it’s this: You’re spending too much time explaining what makes your products special instead of positioning them as the solution that solves problems and will change your client’s life.
Yes, you read that correctly. Sounds overly dramatic, right? I can assure you, though, it’s not. It’s modern sales and it’s backed by science. When you figure out how to sell transformations rather than products, your business will take off. You’ll stop spending countless hours preparing quotes and design boards that never go anywhere and spend more time preparing purchase contracts that bring your window treatment design ideas to life. Clients will buy from you again and again. They will refer their friends. You will enjoy the satisfaction of helping more people live better. Not only will your client’s life be transformed, but your sales will also be transformed.
Old-school thinking won’t get modern sales results.
Most businesses have been approaching window treatment sales for years from one of two directions: function or design.
A function-forward salesperson spends lots of time on product knowledge. They study features and benefits, attend product trainings with vendors, know lots about lift systems and light gaps. They explain in detail which product will solve what problem. The focus is on the product and what it does. Because there are so many choices and options, it’s very easy for the client to become overwhelmed and do the mental equivalent of putting their fingers in their ears while shaking their head. “TMI … TMI!” Too much information is the downside to this approach. Confused, overwhelmed people do not act. Focus too much on product and the client will say, “Let me think about it and get back to you.”
The second sales approach centers more on design. Conversation involves the product, but from the perspective of what it looks like and how it fits into the other design elements in the room. Like the first approach, the window treatment will solve a functional problem, but more emphasis is placed on design items like the look and texture of the materials, the style of the treatment, the warmth or coolness of the color, how it blends into the room and such. To all but the trained designer, this approach can be overwhelming too. More importantly, it lacks a compelling sense of urgency to take action and buy. Client’s say, “Oh, so many beautiful choices. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Let me talk it over with (family, friends, anyone who can help them make sense of it all) and I’ll get back to you.”
Both sales styles can be effective sometimes and one is not better than the other, but neither of them are enough to motivate a high purchasing likelihood because their emphasis is on selling products.
Modern sales take a completely different approach. Product isn’t what makes you stand out. Design isn’t what makes you stand out. And, by the way, service isn’t what makes you stand out either.