I had just left the Apple Store at Park Meadows Shopping Center in Lone Tree, Colorado when I approached a cluster of kiosks teeming with predatory salespeople sizing me up for their next sale.
“I’m all set,” I said to the guy who approached me from the sunglasses kiosk.
“No, thank you,” I said to the gal pitching fragrances.
“All set,” I said to the gal at the Seacret kiosk as she held out a sample, smiling and making strong eye contact. But then, as I was passing by, she said, “Let me see your hand.”
I paused, turned around, and smiled – almost laughed – at her temerity. I knew then that I was going to buy something. And she knew then that she had made a sale.
As she took my hand, she introduced herself as Adele and asked my name. I complied before commenting on her famous name. She continued to smile as she opened the sample lotion packet and applied its contents to the top of my left hand. As she rubbed the lotion in with gentle, circular swirls, she asked me if I was from Colorado. I told her that I had relocated to Colorado from New York City in 1998.
“New York City?” she asked excitedly, “My father lives in Brooklyn!” This led to a short, animated conversation about The Big Apple. At some point, I mentioned that my wife and I had just been in New York City over the summer to celebrate my 50th birthday.
Adele seized this opportunity to compliment me by saying, “You do not look fifty!”
About this time, she discontinued rubbing the lotion and asked me to feel my skin on the top of my left hand and then my right hand and describe to her how they felt. As expected, I told her that my left hand felt smooth and supple and my right hand felt rough and scaly. (I’m not sure my right hand actually felt “rough and scaly” but it was the first thing that came to mind as the opposite of “smooth and supple.”)
Adele validated the effectiveness of the product by sharing an interesting peek behind the curtain: “Seacret products are unique in that they contain several of the 26 essential minerals found in the Dead Sea, 12 of which do not exist in any other sea or ocean in the world. Some are known to have unique qualities such as promoting relaxation, nourishing the skin, and activating the blood stream.”
So, by this time I’m beginning to ponder what this product, containing rare minerals harvested from the Dead Sea, is going to cost me. I asked Adele, “So how much is this?” to which she replied, “The 1.7 fluid ounce container is seventy-nine dollars.”
My eyebrows went up as I countered with, “That’s too expensive. My budget’s only about fifty bucks.”
Undeterred, Adele noticing my Tag Heuer watch, observed, “Your watch is expensive. The lotion is not expensive.”
As I handed her my credit card, I immediately began constructing a mental outline of this blog post. Adele had made such a profound impression on me. I was delighted to have witnessed such talent on display – and to learn something in the process:
- Persistence pays
- Confidence is attractive
- Engaging your prospect by requesting that he do something (as opposed to asking a question – especially a yes-or-no question) is an effective way to break the ice
- By using names, you’re no longer strangers
- Physical touch increases intimacy, warmth, and familiarity
- Asking questions that lead to establishing commonalities increases rapport
- Customers appreciate sincere and specific compliments
- Effective demonstrations are convincing – and when prospective buyers are asked to assess the product quality themselves, they’re even more convincing
- Sharing unexpected, unique product knowledge is interesting and memorable
- When salespeople firmly believe in their products (quality, price, value for price paid, etc.), overcoming objections is second nature
And, just so you know, I have absolutely no buyer’s remorse. As I told Adele before I left, “If I could afford to, I’d hire you in a New York minute.”