"David, I'm not going to buy this": How a 2-minute shortcut turned into a $200 loss
I was walking through the Westfield mall in San Francisco when I suddenly hear:
“Nice jacket! Where is it from?”
I turn around and spot a guy neatly dressed in black plants and a black shirt, standing next to a mall kiosk perfectly located by the huge skylight.
I never want to be rude to the kiosk salespeople, because heck, they have a tough job.
So I reply, “Thank you, it’s from Forever 21.”
The guy continues, “Oh, where’s your accent from?”
“Sweden,” I reply, as I continue to walk away from him.
“Oh! I lived in Malmo for a while. Do you know Malmo?”
“Yes, I actually lived in Lund for a year, 30 minutes north of Malmo.”
“Oh yeah, I know Lund. So what are you doing in San Francisco?”
Dammit. He’s reeling me in.
“I’m working remotely for a startup based in London. England. Not Ontario.”
“You’re funny. What’s your name?”
“Jo. What’s your name?”
“Jo, nice to meet you. I’m David.”
“Hi David. Likewise.”
“Tell me, what are you looking for today?”
“Nothing. Just walking through.”
“Nothing? You’re not looking for anything? Okay, let me ask you this: What do you use to wash your face?”
“Jo. Water? Really?”
At this point I’ve never seen anyone look at me with more disapproval in my entire life.
“Okay, we need to change this.”
“But look at my face David, water is all it needs.”
“You think so?”
“Let me show you something.”
“See this? This will make your face feel brand new again.”
“How much is it?”
“Lol. David. I’m not going to buy this.”
“Jo. How many pairs of shoes do you own?”
“Two? Are you serious?”
Context: I had just moved out of my apartment in London and thrown away three bags worth of shoes and clothes and donated two to charity to fit my life into a single suitcase.
“I’m telling you David, I’m not your customer.”
“Let me show you how it works. Give me your hand.”
Jeez. This guy.
David now proceeds to carefully apply what I was told was diamond infused facial peeling gel to the top of my hand. He massages it in using circular motions.
Instantly, dead and dry skin cells gather in grey lumps on my hand.
I look at David.
“No, but seriously. Ew.”
He wipes it off with a tissue and grabs another product.
“Feel your skin.”
“Oh. Ooooooh. Oh, wow. What.”
David looks at me, “Doesn’t your skin feel amazing?”
“Yes. But David, I’m not going to buy this.”
“I will never use it. I don’t use products. I just don’t remember to do it.”
“Jo, you only have to use this once a week. That’s it.”
“Once a week? Really?”
“Yes. Once a week.”
“Okay, let me do this for you. I’ll give you the toner too.”
“Wait, what? How much?”
“$200? For both?”
“Yes, Jo. For both.”
What followed can only be described as an out-of-body experience. I reached into my bag, grabbed my wallet, took out my credit card and handed it to David.
Next, I find myself having exited the mall, standing on Market Street with a $200 dent in my bank account and a bag containing two diamond infused skin care products in my hand.
What salespeople can learn from David
While David got lucky with the Scandinavian connection and could use it to build rapport, that’s not the reason I ended up buying. Salespeople that are good at their job, not only know what the prospect wants, but what they need. [Tweet this!]
David managed to close the deal because of three main reasons.
1. He asked questions
High performing salespeople ask questions. Often twice as many as the average salesperson. While he initiated the conversation with a compliment, he consistently asked questions throughout our conversation, especially when I objected.
While he kept his questions simple, they weren’t particularly benefit-oriented. So why did they work?
Asking questions is the most powerful thing you can do. Questions immediately help build a stronger relationship. Questions engage people and make them open up.
In fact, great questions will create less work for the salesperson as the prospect will do most of the talking. Oftentimes they reach conclusions on their own. Which could mean that they 1) qualify themselves and 2) sell themselves on the product.
2. He was persistent
Despite being told repeatedly that I wasn’t going to buy the product—David would not take no for an answer. Sure, skill and finesse goes into doing this in a way that doesn’t piss off the prospect, but the point is that you don’t stop at the first objection.
The first objection is when it gets interesting. This is when you have the chance to ask questions to find out the true reasons behind the objection and then find a way around it.
The first objection could be the first step toward closing the deal. Embrace it.
3. He was confident in the product
David—with great enthusiasm—told me about the product, the brand and the business. A blind man could have seen that he took great pride in his work. And with pride comes confidence.
In hindsight, it was the demo of the product—seeing and feeling the effect—that closed the deal. Despite my unwillingness to admit it to David (or to myself).
If you don’t believe in the product you’re selling, you shouldn’t be selling at all. You might as well find a new job. Because if you don’t see the value, nor will your prospect.
Lastly, it’s important to include the fact that I’ve never at any point regretted that purchase. The product was fantastic.
I’ve told my friends about it and whenever I travel they ask me, “Jo, did you bring the diamond stuff?” Of course I did. Once a week, just like David ordered, I apply that “stuff” to my face in order to get a new one.
David, if you read this—stellar job. (Oh, and send me a discount code, running low. Kthx.)
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