I was at a secondhand media store the other day when I overheard something that made me cringe. You know the type of place – used DVDs, CDs, video games, laser discs, etc. The clerk at the counter was talking to a customer who was trying to sell a stack of DVDs.
“Looks like all we can give you is $30,” the clerk said.
Why would he use the word “all,” I asked myself. He essentially told the customer, “The amount I’m offering you isn’t a good deal and you probably shouldn’t take it.”
Maybe the customer gathered up his stack of old crappy DVDs and was just hoping to get $20 dollars – and $30 would have been a pleasant surprise.
Maybe he was about to throw them all out – and any amount of money would have been a bonus in his mind.
I didn’t know the answer standing there in line listening in – and neither did the clerk.
You might be just like this clerk, talking yourself out of a sale without even realizing it. You might be the most polite and positive sales guy/gal when talking to your customers – and still be pushing your next sale out the door.
It’s as much about how you say it as it is what you say.
The language you use while making a sale is critical. If what you are presenting comes across as being a negative, your customer is going to look elsewhere. Most businesses are not buying used DVDs, but it’s the same basic principle no matter what you are selling.
There are plenty of words that turn away business. For me, another cringe-worthy word is unfortunately.
“Unfortunately, we’re not running that sale anymore. Do you still want it?”
If you asked me that, I’d politely say no. But if you said this instead, I’d take you up on it: “The sale is over, but we still have that product in stock.” It’s pretty much the same information, but the first one conveys a negative vibe.
How about another example?
“Unfortunately, it’s going to be about 4-5 days before we can get the part in.”
“Good news! I can order that part! It should be here in 4-5 days if we order now.”
You get the point.
Truth be told, there are unfortunate situations or times when solution X is really all that you can do. You don’t need to seem ignorant to the fact that your customer’s situation is less than favorable, but you should resist the urge to say it. Focus your words on what you are doing or can do to fix it.
You are the one who gets to decide if you are offering a good deal on that used DVD of Nacho Libre. Don’t spend your customer’s money for them.
January 14, 2016 By The Remaniac