“To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.” From “To Sell is Human” by Daniel Pink.
The best profile for a showroom salesperson is not the high-energy type “A” personalities that focus on getting the sale. The most successful luxury salespeople enjoy what they are doing and realize the number one priority in each project is to help the customer get the job done right.
These are really not pure sales people by standard definition. They are consultants. They do not directly tell clients to buy X, they guide customers to possible solutions based on what they have learned about the client and the goals for this unique job.
This all boils down to one very simple statement often spoken by Brené Brown: “I am not here to be right, I am here to get it right.”
Consultant vs. salesperson
The “A” type salesperson is focused on capturing control of the sale and leading their clients to what they think is best. The luxury sales consultant learns their client’s goals and helps make the job outcome the best possible.
When a client hesitates to make a selection, a consultant reflects on what their customer has shared with them and helps them focus on the task at hand. Specifying decorative products for a bathroom or kitchen can overwhelm a client, forcing them outside their comfort zone and blind them of their end game. In this scenario, the consultant re-energizes the client by reminding them of their individual project goals.
The typical sales personality we often think of is all about killer sales processes and flipping customers quickly. If the customer hesitates on an item selection, they charge in and tell the client what they think is best. Here is where they work to take control of the sale. If successful, the customer is now merely along for the ride and follows the salesperson’s lead.
For some customers and many businesses, this type of salesperson is a great fit, but this sales strategy can run off course in a showroom with a selection heavy and time intensive sales process. This type of salesperson will also struggle working with talented, strong ego clienteles. Imagine the scene of the hard charging salesperson and a designer, builder or successful home owner all battling for control without an engaged sales consultant monitoring the interaction. This clash is not a good brand building moment.
Supportive salespeople marvel at the ability, diligence and creativity of their clients. The controlling salesperson marvels at their individual numbers and how busy they are. Both can be successful in a showroom, but the more consulting salesperson model will win the day in a showroom. Talented and successful individuals, such as designers, prefer to lead their processes and are not comfortable with a salesperson always working taking control. These customers work best with a consultant that adapts to their unique style and helps them find the answers they are looking for. This is the style of the supportive salesperson.
A balance of both
In some showrooms, both types of salespeople are necessary. A luxury-focused showroom in a retail location will attract a wide array of people looking for solutions for a wide range of unique jobs. Some will be building multi-million dollar dream homes, others simply looking for a chef worthy kitchen faucet.
In the later situation, a type “A” salesperson can help move those simple sales while your luxury sales consultants are allowed the freedom to build solid relationships with your good designers, builders and plumbers. The great guides actually become a part of these professional teams while elevating your company to a trusted source versus being a known vendor of decorative plumbing products.
As owners and managers, we can let the title “salesperson” guide us to build teams of people that align with the societal definition of a “salesperson.” But, we have to fight that impulse. In the luxury showroom world, a person that gains a strong affection for the products and is driven to learn what is best for each customer’s situation will create more goodwill for your brand and enhance your sales charts.