Great Value from Conversational Selling

I once had a shop floor job selling computers. I loved it because I got to meet loads of interesting people who had diverse needs. I would listen carefully to the customer as they told me about these needs, and expectations. I would check into the conversation periodically just to check I’d understood them clearly. Mainly I just listened, and showed genuine interest. At the end of the conversation the customer would often buy something.

After I’d worked in the store a few weeks, I was hauled in front of the big boss. Apparently there was a discrepancy in my figures. I’d become known for taking a while to allow a sale to happen. Whilst others round me busily matched customer to computer and moved on, I took longer. This amused folk as we were remunerated principally on commission. More sales, more money.

Turns out the discrepancy was around product returns. The returns against my sales were almost non-existent. There was the odd faulty bit of kit but hardly anyone was bringing anything back. Returns are a costly process, they take up time and cost a lot of money. As a result, though I was not the most productive sales person in terms of turnover, I was by far the most valuable. The big boss promoted me to manage a team. We agreed to shift the way we were remunerated from commission to a share in the value of the business. Our team subsequently earned very well from it. The value of good listening.

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

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