I have met an innumerable amount of people during my selling career. Many customers and sellers have stayed in my mind along the journey, especially one male customer and one female seller. I want to tell about them as a teaching example and originator of thoughts. Customer first.
As a timeshare seller I established the very first international RCI holiday resort in Vuokatti, Finland in 1993. I worked as a managing director and as a sales manager of Vuokatti Country Club –holiday resort for three years.
During those years we won an international R.I.D –prize, which is admitted for small holiday villages from good customer service. Wall plates are still at my office.
When we started up sales, there were eight sellers working like Trojans in one shift and two of the best customer suppliers in Finland got customers to our presentations at the rate of 20 couples a day. The rule was that individuals living in a relationship like marriage, were not taken to a presentation alone. It is a fact, that big common decisions cannot be made unless both are in.
One June day a bachelor of about 60 years old led his bicycle on the winding road of Vuokatti slope. The sellers smiled at the office that what a great customer is coming.
“Markku surely : ) presents and makes a deal”. I told to my colleagues that you will see, that chap might even buy. I promised to present quickly by arranging “a courtesy tour”.
Even my own belief meant to stagger a little, but I surveyed the customer´s holiday behaviour and his genuine interest. I offered coffees and made things easy also otherwise.
I presented our holiday houses straightaway. The man pricked up his ears, when I was telling about my unique, new innovation, which meant that our holiday village was like an ´Officers Club´, where you can enter everyday, even thought you would not own more that a one week share of Vuokatti Country Club. Besides that the real estate company has spa– holiday– and golf shares worth a million in Katinkulta, which is located next door and with which you can enter also to Katinkulta.
He asked if there are buying restrictions. Also could he buy, as our boys had been asking him to find a wife and he doesn´t have one. He was also interested to know if he can come for a holiday sometimes at other times than on his “own week” and would his name be given to others if he bought a share. I listened to the man carefully and stated:
“John, really good questions. Now when you are a shareholder in Vuokatti Country Club, you can use all the services of the club, because you are an owner. You are also able to come for a holiday in every season by paying only maintenance fee ― also for ´not own´ possession week. All unsold weeks are in use for every shareholder, their relatives and friends with a double maintenance fee.”
After this I took a deep breath and stated with a peaceful voice:
“John, if I promise to be discrete and to say nothing about your membership purchase or your wealth, you would be ready to make a deal for one week, wouldn´t you?”
That bachelor, who walked with an old bicycle answered to this: “Yes, if it is sure that nothing is said to my relatives.”
He was exact about his inheritance money and about money generally. My following question was:
”John, shall we go inside and make the deeds for the purchase?”
At the same time I stretched out my hand as a sign of a deal. He answered already now:
“Yes, let´s go!”
As far as I remember I congratulated the customer with the following words:
“Great, welcome as an owner of a Country Club!”
You surely guess, how the expressions of the other comission–sellers looked like. The day had not even really began, when I had already made the first deal and had shown example to my colleagues. And in addition to everything, the buyer was such a customer, who no-one wanted to take to a presentation, and who was the subject of much grinning at first, as a most unlikely customer…
Never prejudge the customer by appearance. your customer in basis of the appearance. In the sales field the foolishness of the customer´s underestimation has been proved often and in a bitter way.
As one example a lottery winner who appeared in a tracksuit, did not get the kind of service he wanted and therefore bought a Mercedes Benz from a competing store. All the people buy. All sorts of people buy. Your task as a seller is to survey their needs and to estimate the possibilities for a deal based on them. If you are after this still ready to say to yourself that your customer cannot buy, you are in the wrong field.
Never decide for your customer nothing more than that he can buy and you are willing to present and to sell him. You still remember, that I have sold in four minutes to customers who only wanted brochures. Furthermore, I have waited seven hours for a purchase decision from two couples, when I supposed that the men where the buyers.
At last when I asked nervously, that who is buying here, two women took a step forward and told that we are. So we had been without drinking and eating for more than seven hours, because I supposed the wrong persons to be buyers. Good Markku! Bravo!
Everyone makes mistakes, but mistakes can be learned from. In other words it is worth remembering that you should not judge by appearance. It is definitely true, no matter what you are selling.
So do your job, do not suppose. Survey first, even then do not suppose yet, but start writing the deed. The customer surely tells in whose name the product or the service is taken.
My other example tells about a female seller, who also has stayed in my mind indelibly. I will call her Jaana. The story is true, name is not.
YOUR DUTY – Do not assume nor judge by appearance ― the first look, association might lead you into trouble or into wrong waters.