How to sell to a grandma with a key chain and a Flyers jersey

17 December 2013
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What do you have in common with your customer?

The answer to this question will reveal a sales and marketing tactic often missed by your competitors.

GmaIn business, we focus so strongly on the idea of selling our goods or services, that we overlook the fact that those who are swiping their debit cards, writing checks or clicking the “Buy it now” buttons are humans just like us. Sounds funny, but its true! Our desire to make the sale acts like blinders to the real reason people buy.

They make a purchase because they feel that they can trust you. I’ve created several posts, videos and articles on the power of trust in marketing. But recently, I was reintroduced to this powerful concept after reading marketing mastermind Dan Kennedy’s book awesomely titled “No. B.S. Trust Based Marketing

In his book, Dan talks about the importance of linking your personal interests with your prospective customer. Now you don’t have to call an 800 number psychic hotline to figure this stuff out.  Actually, it’s as easy as asking subtle questions, and observing your target customer in action. But in order to make this affinity work, it has to be genuine.

My dad always said, “Nothing will make you look dumb, like trying to talk about something you know nothing about!

That little bit of advice saved my butt more times than I can count! You have to avoid aggressively searching for a commonality, and just wait for the opportunity to present itself.  

Here’s an example:

John is in the business of furniture sales. In this particular store, John is accompanied by another salesman Jeff. Jeff is a hardwired and motivated salesman, but lacks the patience to make customers feel comfortable. And as we all know, a customer who feels comfortable is a lot easier to deal with than one who feels threatened or rushed. But for all of Jeff’s flaws, he continues to beat out John in overall sales numbers at the end of each month. Not by a ton, but just enough to make the floor manager notice a difference.

John is growing frustrated with the sales game. He feels like he has to lie in order to get someone to sign on the dotted line. Every time that door buzzer rings after a new potential customer walks in, John let’s Jeff make the mad dash to the front show room, while he hangs out in the back hoping to pick up the crumbs of Jeff’s selling feast.

Just last night, John was building up the strength to notify the store manager that he’s giving his two-week notice. “I’m just not a salesman,” John was going to say, “I can’t stand having to bend the truth in order to make money!”

One day while Jeff was out trolling the sales floor, John stumbled on this very post. He learned that if he could make a connection, and honest connection, with his customers, it would change the way he viewed his job. By building trust in the relationship, John would actually enjoy the conversations he engaged in, and his demeanor would be that of someone both calm, confident and trustworthy.

That afternoon, the alarm from the front door buzzed in the back, and this time John was the first to reach his prospective buyer. As the customer looked around, John was sure to give them some time to become acquainted with their surroundings. He studied their appearance, and quickly noticed a handmade charm on the woman’s key chain that said “We love you Grandma!” It was surround by three little pictures of children no more than five. One of the little boys was wearing a Philadelphia Flyers hockey jersey. John was not only a grandfather himself, but despite living in the Midwest, was an avid Flyers fan!

Now it was time to engage his customer.

John calmly asked if she was looking for anything in particular, and then before the woman could even reply, John stated that he too was a grandparent. And he immediately followed that up with the excitement that there was another Flyers fan in Iowa!

The customer was a little taken back at first, but being a proud Grandma, was quick to laud the cuteness of her grand-kids and the little right-winger in the jersey. Through their conversation, it was revealed that her little babies all lived just outside of Philadelphia, and now that her own children were grown with families of their own, it was time to replace the old child battered furniture with some new leather couches and a love seat. John showed her what they had in stock. They talked more about the discomfort of being separated from your grand-kids, and actually spent more time in person to person conversation than exasperated sales jargon.

John was able to sell the woman a new couch, love seat, matching recliner and two oak finished end tables. The woman also mentioned that she would recommend him to the other patrons in her 55+ community. Many of them were also looking to furnish their condos with something nicer…something to impress the neighbors at the next community board meeting.

And that’s how it works. It’s not rocket science, it’s not a secret code or cheat sheet, it’s simple conversation. We are all in sales. Some of us more directly than others, but anytime you are attempting to persuade someone to follow your lead, you are in fact selling them on your idea.

In order to be successful, you just have to start treating people like people. Trust me, if you do as I suggest, you’ll really stand out and differentiate yourself in a sea of money hungry bottom feeders.

Now go out there and make some friends! The money will follow…I promise!

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P.S. No pressure, but it’d be awesome if you could cruise on over to our Facebook page, and LIKE it! Thanks 🙂 ~Andy #themarketingguy

Oh yea…and click here to view Dan Kennedy’s work of genius on!

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