In this section I have focused on business-to-business selling, rather than retail sales. Nonetheless, it should be fairly self-
evident that many of these techniques would work just as well in the retail context. Consider any retail outlet where the sales staff spend their time talking to customers, discussing their needs and helping them to pick and choose. The customer will be more inclined to buy if he feels the sales assistant
- understands, and empathises with, his needs and preferences
- can relate to his good and bad experiences with competitors' products
- has a good working knowledge of what's on the market, and can relate to the customer's difficulties evaluating the various deals on offer
- sincerely has the customer's interests at heart, and only wants to sell something if it's right for him
In other words, it largely comes down to the same basic goals: building good rapport, and managing to sound perceptive and well-informed.
This concludes our look at the possible application of cold reading techniques to a sales context. There is no shortage of sales gurus hyping their own blend of top tips and winning ways. Much of it is snake-oil, and I have no desire to add to the scrap-heap of fads and mythologies concerning sales technique. My only aim has been to offer some ideas, and highlight some possibilities. Some sales professionals may feel there is very little mileage in any of the suggestions made in this section. Others may feel differently, and might even feel inclined to pursue these ideas in greater depth.
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