Sales Talk Part 4: What's Really being Said in Everyone's Head
By Otto Papasadero
along with other team members, you have spent some time reviewing, discussing
and practicing the concepts presented in the first three Sales Talk articles.
These articles have been focused on you, the professional sales associate. Most
of the information is designed to help you concentrate on what is going on in
your own head during the sales presentation and process.
I have found
that quite often, not enough attention is being paid to one’s own thoughts
during this process. Instead, we seem to focus too much on what we think the
customer is thinking, thus creating a conversation that tends to be more
reactive than proactive. This most often leads to allowing the customer to make
the decision to call the sales presentation to an end, such as by saying, “I’ll
take your card and let you know” or “Let me think about it.”
will focus on the customer’s needs and expectations. Let’s start out with a
brief lesson in Japanese that includes the use and mindset for the Japanese
word for “customer.” The word お客さん (okyaku-san) is one of
the most common Japanese words, heard every day and everywhere. Basically, it
means "customer" or "client," but it is used for any kind
of service. English has dozens of nuances for this word: patron, buyer,
shopper, purchaser, clientele (such as of restaurants), regular (such as of a
pub) and passenger (on a plane, train, bus or taxi).
This word or
greeting is an ancient Japanese word that originally meant "guest"
(at home, for example) or “visitor” and did not involve money. This word was
used in a most gracious manner as a host welcomed a guest to his or her home.
It is in this same sense of reverence and welcoming that this word continues to
be used to greet a customer as an honored guest to a business.
I suggest that
you reflect on this use and keep it in mind as you greet customers (or guests)
to your businesses. This mindset or practice should not be limited only to
sales associates, but should be practiced by every team member in the company.
An example of this mindset goes back to Mike Morelli, a very successful service
station owner in my childhood neighborhood who spent 40 years in his business.
He said, “Many years ago, I ceased waiting on customers and started waiting on
Let’s spend a
few moments to discuss what might be taking place in a customer’s head. Some of
you already might be familiar with the following information. Even if you are,
I suggest that you study each of the elements and discuss them with your fellow
sales associates and all company team members.
Read the full article in the Members Only section
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