When Non-Salespeople Sell

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Saturday morning, I was waiting for my appointment to get my haircut. Regina (my hairdresser) had just finished with a lady. As she was paying, the lady asked for a bottle of shampoo.

As Regina got the bottle, she also pulled a bottle of something else. She told the customer, “You may want to also consider this…..” I don’t really know what it was, but the lady asked some questions. Regina replied, “It’s a little expensive, but it will help you with this problem you have with your hair. They talked “hair stuff” for a few minutes, the customer bought the shampoo and the other bottle. Regina and the customer thanked each other, scheduled the next appointment, the customer left the shop.

As Regina and I walked back to her station, I said, “Great job of up-selling and objection handling!” Regina looked at me asking, “What do you mean?”

I played back what I’d seen, but using sales terminology around the upsell, objection handling and creating great value for customers. Regina listened patiently, saying, “I didn’t realize I was doing that. All I wanted to do was help her.”

She went on to say that her customers wanted to look good. Regina always wanted to help them, as a result, in addition to giving fantastic haircuts (I guess it’s styling for others), she makes recommendations for products that might be helpful. Over the years, she’s sent me home with a few things, each of which has been very good.

I asked her, “Why do you do this? Do you get a commission?” She replied, “I get a small commission, but I don’t sell the products for that. My relationships with my customers is too important to sell them something they don’t want. Primarily, I sell them products because I genuinely think it will help them. I don’t push them, I explain why I think they might like it, what it will do for them.”

She went on, “I like selling them products that help them. Also, it helps the shop. The revenue from the products helps the shop with some of its overhead, so I like to do that. It makes the salon a much better place to work and for our customers.”

Regina didn’t consider herself a sales person. All she wanted to do was make her customer feel happy about themselves and how they looked. She knew if she did that, they would both come back and refer others to her.

Regina still insists she isn’t a sales person. When I told her she was, she frowned, “I don’t want to be one of those……” But when I described she was doing what great sale people do, she smiled–“Dave, you still won’t convince me, I just want to help my clients.”

Great sales people are simply driven to help their customers. They know if they do, the revenue will follow.

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