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Showroom Dancing

The showroom salesperson must dance the "Sales Dance" with everyone who comes into the store. Whether the "dance floor" is simply a corner of the office with a cabinet display, or a fully appointed showroom, the sales dance follows similar steps.

The first words spoken and a friendly smile are the most important in showroom selling, much as they are in responding to a dance invitation at the ball. Before customers will buy your services or products however, three ingredients must be present. So says a high-end design/build remodeler Nick Drummer, who sells remodeling from his company's showroom, "The customers must have a need, the financial ability to satisfy that need, and trust." In many circumstances the customers will walk onto your dance floor with varying degrees of need and ability. You must add the missing ingredient - trust.

As the music begins, Nick recommends that you lead with these dance steps:

1) Get customers to feel right. Treat them as guests in the store. Most important is to listen to what they have to say and reinforce their ideas using the same representational system.

After observing the prospect looking at different items in the store, Nic might say: "Hello, I'm Nic. I noticed that you were looking at the XYZ cabinets..." Then he will pause and wait for a response. Most times the prospect will describe what they want, the color, etc. and even give more information than if Nic actually tried to illicit it.

"I'm just looking right now, shopping around for a new kitchen. I'm not sure what I want yet, that's why I wanted to look at what you had here," replies the customer.

Listening to the responses, Nic pays particular attention to what representational system the prospect is using, which is his clue to whether this person a working in an visual, audial, or feeling representational system. We all have the ability to communicate the same idea in different representational systems:

"Does this look interesting?"...visual

"Does this sound like something you would like to know more about?"...audial

"With more information could you get a better feeling for it?"...feeling

In addition, Nic starts begins to speak at roughly the same rate that the prospect is speaking. People usually process information mentally at the same rate they speak. Nic even begins to breath at the same rate at which the prospect is breathing.

Nic responds to the prospect using the visual system, "Well you, like me, don't look like someone who just settles for any old thing. It looks to me that your kitchen is very important to you and I wouldn't create just any kitchen for you. What's your new kitchen going to look like? I will only design a kitchen that will thrill you each and every time you look at it."

Now the customer begins to describe her kitchen, "I want to have a counter-top range, and I need a double oven. I need to have lots of storage space for my pots and pans. I want wood cabinets, maybe cherry, and I want the doors to the refrigerator and dishwasher to match the cabinets. I need counter space and I'd like to have some indirect lighting. I'd like a deep sink with two compartments and I need a new disposal." At the same time the customer is showing Nic exactly where all of these things are located in her kitchen, drawing diagrams in the air.

Nic says to her, "Let me see if I understand. You want a counter-top range, you need a double oven and lots of storage space. You want wood cabinets and you want the doors of the refrigerator and dishwasher to match the cabinets. You need counter space and you'd like some indirect lighting. Also you'd like a deep sink with two compartments and you need a new disposal." As Nic speaks he is re-drawing the customer's diagram in the air and he is careful to repeat the likes, wants and needs (modal operators) exactly as the customer used them.

The customer's reply; "You've got it! You're the first person who understands exactly what I'm looking for! You haven't even tried to talk me into something I really don't want. Do you think you can help me with my new kitchen?"

Nic replies, "Yes, I think I can help you with your new kitchen because I know exactly what you are looking for. I want you to be thrilled with your new kitchen. Now let's look at a few more details so we can fill in the other pieces of this picture of your kitchen."

How many times have you gone out to buy something with a budget in mind and spent more for the item that you had budgeted because you felt right. Getting the customer to feel right is a valuable selling objective.

2) Assist the customers get a clear idea of the arguments favoring their choices, so they can justify their choices to others. One of the difficulties of showroom selling is that it is more difficult to involve all of the decision makers in the process. The showroom salesperson must arm the customer with convincing reasons to allow them to justify their decisions to others. Use the proper representational system, this helps them verbalize their needs and cements their trust. "Can you see what difference having this new kitchen will make in your life? "Can you see how this design would satisfy your needs?"

3) Make the prospect aware of the steps necessary to satisfy their need, reinforce the belief that they are capable of performing them all and remind them that they can trust you to lead whenever necessary. "We have our own installation crews and we offer financing for all of our products. It looks like all we need is your approval, a site visit so that we can confirm the dimensions and some indication as to when you see the installation working for you.

4) Finally, paint a mental picture of the future... I can see you now, preparing meals in you new kitchen, enjoying the look of the new cabinets and counters. Let's see if we can get together at the site tomorrow.

As Nic finishes scheduling an appointment to look at the site tomorrow, the music fades away. The showroom dance is complete.