Saturday, January 20, 2018
"Selling is not Telling" Print E-mail
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Monday, 14 September 2009 00:00
If you are a "Kitchen Designer", chances are that you are also a "sales person". Actually, you are probably a "sales person" first because with-out the sale, there is no kitchen design. Early on in my sales/design career, I learned something very valuable, and that is that "selling is not telling". I once knew a sales person who had one "sales pitch" that he used on everybody who walked through the door of his kitchen design showroom. It started out something like this... "Good morning, welcome to Acme kitchens (names have been changed). My name is John and I'd like to tell you a little bit about our company. We have two showrooms one in Timbuck two and one in Pismo beach. we carry three lines of cabinetry, we have lines A, B and C. Line A is our entry level line and is the cheapest of the three. They are located in Nome Alaska and have been building cabinets for 20 years. They offer a limited amount of doorstyles and colors but they are a pretty good line and work really well if you are on a budget. Here is their diplay and the doorstyles that they offer. Line B is........

About this time the customer's eyes would start to glaze over and you could almost see their mind wandering. Customers do want information, but in the kitchen industry, there is so much information out there that you can get to "overload" very quickly. Today, most customers usually have a lot of information from magazines, tv shows, the internet etc.

I feel that as a sales person, it is my job to find out what my customer's needs are and fill those needs to the best of my ability. The only way that I know to find out what their needs are, is to ask questions. The best questions to ask are "open ended" questions which start with "who", "what", "when", "where",  how or "why". These are questions that can not be answered with "yes" or "no". For example, you could say to a couple "Do you both cook together in the kitchen" this is not an open question and they could say "no" and now the topic is essentially closed. Or you could say something like, "who are the main cooks in your home"? this might spark a whole dialog based on the fact that they love to cook together but in their kitchen now they end up tripping over each other.

This may also be what I consider a "Hot button" which means that this is one of the most important things for them to remedy. It's easy to spot when you've hit a" hot button" Their eyes light up and they get very passionate about the subject. When you've found a hot button, milk it for all it's worth! get all of the information you can about this topic before you move on to the next question.

When I meet a customer, whether I have an appointment with them or they have just walked in off the street, I always have a pad of paper and a pen in my hands and I write down everything we talk about. I put an astrix next to "hot buttons" so I know these are important to them when I astart on their design. At the top of the page I put their names and the date. Always date your notes because when they turn into a client, you will have a folder full of notes which may contradict each other. You can be pretty sure that the notes with the most current date are the right ones. At the very least, if there is ever a question, you have your dated notes to fall back on.

When you start on the design, you can personalize it by putting notes all over the floor plan showing what you are doing in each area. These notes will correspond directly to the things that you talked about during the consultation. As you present the design to the clients, you can then elaborate on what you are doing in each area and why. For example, you may say "I've put a prep sink and small refrigerator here on the island which keeps one person well away from the main cooking area". Hence eliminating the "tripping" that they talked about.

I can't tell you the amount of times that people said to me "Wow you really listened to us!" after I presented my design to them. When you listen to someone, it shows that you really care about them and about their project. So let's break it down.

1) Ask open ended questions
2) Listen to the answers, take really good notes and date them
3) Incorporate the things that you learned into your design and note them on the floor plan
4) Always walk your clients through the design and explain in detail what you did and why, especially in the areas that are "hot buttons".
The bottom line is that this should be a fun experience for you and your client so don't overload them with information. Listen to their needs and then lead them in the right direction. And as always ...HAVE FUN!!!!