It was the kind of place where salespeople took turns approaching walk-ins. A customer would push through the glass doors innocently, wanting nothing more than a look inside, and within thirty seconds someone was on him asking tired questions.
They’d visited the place before—this young couple in the market for a new sofa—and an unrelenting salesman shadowed them from a distance of ﬁfty feet. He thought they wouldn’t notice—thought they would think he was checking price tags or something—but they noticed and now they were defensive.
They wore game faces as they pushed through the glass doors this time. Then the couple noticed Marsha near the front of the store. “Don’t make eye contact,” the wife whispered out of the side of her mouth. Marsha only said hello and gave a considerate nod.
The couple continued their search without distraction and when they discovered the perfect sofa they sought out Marsha to ask her opinion. “What is your home like?” she asked. They explained and she made a suggestion. “What I would do is jot down the measurements of the sofa and then when you get home, fold a sheet to the same size and lay it in the space you intend to put the sofa. Walk around it a few days and see how it feels.
“I wouldn’t take anything home today if I were you,” she continued. “I’d give the sheet-thing a try and if it works, come back on a Saturday when the reduced warehouse is stocked. There are great deals all the time.”
The couple asked Marsha if she worked on Saturdays and she said only once a month. They then took her advice with thanks and went home with only a piece of paper and some scribbled measurements.
Two Saturday’s later Marsha was on the schedule and the couple returned and bought three items instead of one, demonstrating that courtesy often fosters the greatest return.
Always be courteous. You never know when it will be the little thing that makes a big difference. The couple shopping for a sofa expected discourtesy and pushiness and when their expectations didn’t match with the reality Marsha created, they were immediately drawn to her. Courtesy will close many deals if you will just be patient.
A vital part of selling is asking the right questions so that what you sell and what a client wants match up. In other words, the key to selling is not selling, it is providing. And the key to providing is knowing in advance what to provide.