People Versus Product

Brad Huisken
©1999 All Rights Reserved

It goes without saying that sales is really a people business. It should not matter if you are selling sporting goods, shoes, jewelry, computers, airplanes, refrigerator magnets or scotch tape, we are all in the people business. Until the computer and the Internet completely take over the world it is one human being to another. I believe there will always be a need for human contact, to some degree, in sales. With that statement being true, then the need to put the emphasis on the person versus the product is as strong, if not stronger, today as it has ever been.

Take notice as you are shopping how weak customer service has become in far too many companies. There are salespeople who are just flat rude, condescending, obnoxious and indifferent when it comes to customers. The next time you are out shopping, try telling a salesperson that you are looking for a gift for someone really special. Then see if the salesperson spends two minutes talking about the special person or the special event or do they immediately start talking about the products. I would say that the majority of the time the salesperson does not even hear the "someone special" or ask what the occasion for the gift might be. All of which might just make the presentation personable rather than stale and all product based.

I would bet the more personable the salesperson and personal the presentation is, the likelihood of the customer making a purchase is greatly increased. Salespeople really need to understand the value of a customer, that nothing happens in a store until a customer buys something. The only reason stores exist is for the customer, and if salespeople were truly THANKFUL when customers walked in the door, sales would increase. Salespeople need to put more emphasis on the person rather than the merchandise. The merchandise will always be there (until a salesperson sells it, or a customer buys it). The customer may not be.


Brad Huisken is President, IAS Training and has been in sales since 1971. Since that time he has been directly involved in all aspects of Sales and Sales Management. His experience and knowledge have enabled him to author the book I'm a Salesman! Not a Ph.D. In addition he has developed several sales and sales management seminars for his company, IAS Training, and authors a weekly newsletter, "Sales Insight."

Category: Customer Care
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