For many years I worked in sales so I wanted to create some blog posts about sales and how to sell and how to be persuasive. The most important thing I learned in sales was asking lifestyle questions. Lifestyle questions basically are questions about the customer’s life and how they will be integrating the product into their life.
While I worked for Apple selling computers, the lifestyle questions I asked were pertaining to how they were going to be using their computer. It was important for me to know what they would be doing on their computer so I can gage whether they needed a MacBook Air because they needed something light because they were on the go or perhaps something like a MacBookPro because they were using Photoshop, but still needed a laptop because they’re a college student and will be working between the classroom and their apartment. Perhaps even a high end iMac because they were video editing and they didn’t need something portable.
When I worked for Coach a bag store. I needed to ask whether they were using their bag for daily use and therefore needed something more durable like a leather Maggie or perhaps they were using the bag for a fancy wedding so they needed a more formal bag that matched their pink dress. Sometime the customer told me they would be traveling and needed something convenient. In that case I would suggest an over the shoulder bag that was small, but was still large enough to fit their wallet, camera, travel guide and I would perhaps suggest a Haley.
In both jobs asking the right questions was important, but also the other important aspect about the process was knowing the products we had to offer. I needed to be knowledgeable about the different types of computers we had to offer at Apple and their specifications because with applications like Photoshop, the computer needed to meet certain specifications so that the application could run. With Coach bags, I needed to know what bags we had to offer for different occasions, whether they came in leather or fabric or patent leather so that if I student came in from RIT and were to tell me they would be using the bag to go to class, I would be able to suggest a patent leather bag so they could walk with their bag in bad weather from the dorms to the classroom. Also perhaps they needed to fit a large notebook in their bag, I needed to know at the top of my head that there are Poppy bags that are large, yet affordable.
I also needed to know what we had in stock. Many times at Coach we had specialty bags in that were rare. Sometimes customers came in looking for “fun” bags and I would be able to suggest to them all sorts of bags we had in the store that were not available in other stores except perhaps if they ordered it online. Perhaps a customer came in with a yellow dress and wanted a bag to match that, well not all of our bag styles came in yellow so I needed to be able to recall that the Kristen bags came in yellow.
In sales one must be curious and ask the right questions and also know what they have to offer. They needed to have all these information in the forefront of their mind so that the information was not, “Well one moment, let me look up what bags we have in that yellow.” The information that Kristen bags comes in yellow needs to be instinctual and I could tell the customer right away this is what we have available. Also when I worked for Apple sometimes I sounded like I had a script about why the customer needed an Apple computer versus a PC and I felt sometimes the customer could tell and in that case I needed to better tailor the customers experience with me and gear it towards them and personalize it and not be running a script. If you are in sales I hope this blog post was helpful. Stay tuned for more blog posts about sales.