As someone with a long history in retail, I’ve had to do my fair share of sales. Can you guess what my most hated term is? It’s a real shocker, “upselling“. I can’t stand the word and all the cringe worthy feelings I associate with it.
I often worked in areas where it was clear my clients could not afford more than they originally set out to purchase. Something about upselling and convincing someone to buy a shoe protector, or 2 for 1 BOGO socks didn’t exactly sit right with me. Knowing that it was me pressuring the customer and not trying to fulfill their needs felt dishonest. Maybe my stats weren’t the best; maybe I didn’t have the best IPS or IPT’s (items per sale / transaction). But I did excel at one facet that never showed up on a spreadsheet but was beneficial in the long run, trust.
In the world of digital marketing, trust is essential. Relationship building is at the core of all digital strategies. I think I was onto this when I began my retail experience in high school not even realizing I was developing a skill. I’ve been told I have a knack for sales, but I would have to disagree, I think I have a knack for connecting with people.
Here’s the issue. When it comes to a career, you have to do whatever it takes to hit quota. If the pressure is on you, you’ll put pressure on clients. One or two upsells probably won’t affect how you sleep at night, but if you find yourself feeling guilt often, maybe it’s time to try something different. A transaction is simply a connection between a human with a need and human who can fill that need. Let me just ask you this question:
Would you not want to be treated with dignity and respect if you were the one making the purchase?
Have you ever made a purchase and instantly felt regret? You don’t actually like what you’ve bought, maybe so much so that you return it. You were probably a victim of sleazy sales.
How do you recognize sleazy sales?
Talking about why your price is better than competitors
Fitting customers into stereotypes or general buyers personas
Neglecting the consumers’ needs
What my managers failed to recognize was that upselling doesn’t always have to take place in the same transaction. Building trust is what brings the customers back. Experience is everything. Would you rather go to a 5 star restaurant with crappy service, or a 3 star restaurant where you feel at home? It’s a pretty easy answer.
The 3 C’s
Personally, I always aim to give my honest opinion to suit each individual customer. If it works for them, great – if it doesn’t, I know that I had developed a relationship strong enough to ensure we will cross paths again. I recently read a great article on Entrepreneur about this very same topic, ‘How to Sell Without Feeling Sleazy’. They target what I would refer to as the 3 C’s of a human transaction.
Self-explanatory, no? These 3 C’s should be the bedrock of every single interaction you have when conducting a sale. I consider this conversation marketing. You are offering a product/service, that everyone will use in his or her own unique way. Why treat every customer the same way when the application of your product/service will vary depending on the individual’s needs?
The difference between sleazy and sincere sales is that you connect with your customer, listen to their needs and sell with their best interests in mind as well as your own.
If you’re tired of continuously being bombarded by pitches, and numbers and stats – come have a coffee with us. We listen; I’ll even splurge for the scones. Every transaction is a two way street, and a good sale is one where both parties leave happy.