SharpViews

Commentary by Tom Columbia

Cold Calls - Chapter Three

Are You A Constructive Influence?

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Today’s article is the last of a sequel discussing cold call preparedness that has led to a successful introduction and now the salon staff is curious to discover what is novel about what you are proposing. Importantly express how and why this gathering will benefit everyone that wishes to have maximum performance from their current scissors.

Taking charge of the meeting is expected and it will relax the group. Having everyone bring a scissor will stimulate questions that helps to identify specific themes about each stylist and their scissors. When in the Full-Service Scissors Business, it encompasses more than merely servicing and selling product, you also need to provide influencing insights that is not always shared knowledge. There is no script to follow; after your introduction ask one or two rudimentary questions to activate the conversation. The only way to find out what questions to ask is by sensing the energy of the people in the room, getting interaction is paramount to a comfortable atmosphere. The open-ended questions promote the back-and-forth exchange that progresses into a collective appreciation of the topic, each response delves deeper into the subject. Remarkably the majority of the responses and feedback will relate in some way to Basic Career Disciplines, typically with an interesting range of contradictory beliefs. Subjects that revolve around these disciplines steer the stylist mindset to logical and practical judgments not just creative or visual assessments.

It is not unusual for stylist to respond to their colleagues’ contributions, sometimes offering everything from reassurance to expressing complete amazement. You want this type of involvement, putting it simply, this is a natural conversation where the buyers inadvertently express individual and distinct beliefs. These topics will identify concerns that will entail exploring for viable solutions. Under their own volition, stylist realizing the need to make a change will ask if you have brought scissors with you. Any follow-up questions should elaborate and confirm their reasoning for their choice, then select only a couple of scissors that will be evaluated. Having multiple scissors sitting about at one time is a distraction from the goal of keeping everyone focused on the process. Invite the group to move in closer and listen in on the consultation because much of the information is universally relevant. Supplementary talks with stylist in the group will be more efficient when pertinent material has already been covered and would only need to be casually refreshed. The onlooking haircutters are inherently excellent listeners and observers, any further questions that they ask will be related to exploring their specific needs. It is possible to close sales on this day and to make appointments for additional consultations.

The ideal opportunity to cover crucial details is when the scissor is being presented and then re-enforced when its delivered. Skipping the specifics or assuming them to be already known could mean having to resolve them at a later date and this is costly in many ways. It is inevitable that questions or issues will arise that will require supplementary support. A small matter can develop into a returned scissor or negative review on social media or spoke among the staff when you are not present. If left unresolved these circumstances make it difficult to maintain your credibility. Silencers that fall out, a tension system loosening, scissors that pinch or bend hair, are opportunities that are posing as an annoyed buyer. Resolving even the smallest concern for a customer reaps huge rewards in the way that consumers view your follow-up service.

Explain to every new customer, receptionist, and the business owner that providing Courtesy Calls is an extension of your service, these are random, walk in, non-sales related visits to verify that a specific stylist is satisfied with their product or service. Having them acknowledge the value of this personalized attention to the customer will create an open-door policy where you can be waived past the front desk as a preferred vendor, much like UPS or FEDEX. This is an earned privilege, and it will continue as long as you are not disruptive, quickly finish your task, and you do not abuse this advantage over the competition. This opportunity can fill down time between appointments and be extremely fruitful and helpful in discovering additional information since your last visit. Stylist highly appreciate Courtesy Calls; they will thank you for your attentiveness and countless sales originate because the entire staff are witnesses to your commitment to customer service.

It is not disrespectful to intercede with licensed professionals when making recommendations about scissors features and benefits. This is going to be seen as an effort to acquire a mutual understanding of the product, not as a push against their assumed knowledge. Every buyer has a background with prior experiences, mentors, and beliefs that can be fully formed, partially formed or they could be entirely misinformed. This amplifies the rationale for being prepared to talk about scissors, their use, and to discover the influential contributors in their background. This is an opportunity to gather distinctive information about the buyer, in doing so, without consciously being aware they uncover fascinating strengths and shortcomings. There is a story behind every scissor purchase, acquiring these details is a lottery of information that gently exposes the motivation of the buyer. These specifics can also provide insight to the sales practices of competitors. Why is this important? The mindset of the buyer is a belief system formed by the methods of the many salespeople that came before you. Presentations that are product centered, revolving on lowest price, or the deal of the moment, signaling cheapness as the priority, sends these buyers to anyone that can offer an even greater discount. Panic selling to dump a declining product is the shakiest business model as the profitability is being intentionally flushed down the drain. Sales based only on price lack the foundation to support customer loyalty to the product brand or the vendor. In my experience these customers would be the most approachable to the methodology of a Full-Service Scissors Business. Upon exploring the previous experiences of the low bid buyers, they were not fully satisfied with their purchase, yet they were in love with what they paid for being dissatisfied. To erase this type of customers buying beliefs there is a need for reestablishing their perception of a products value.

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Fracture existing influences to modify a buyer’s beliefs.

Exploring the substantive background influences that consummate a stylist’s attachment to their scissors brand, its performance, vendor, or sharpening services is imperative to creating and preserving business. The more satisfied the stylist is with their scissor’s performance the greater the influence of the vendor. These are qualities that we aspire in our customer relationships, however, finding these attributes when faced with a new buyer may well make the process appear challenging. When looked at in its entirety these influences can seem impenetrable, nonetheless, each component has its own strengths and vulnerabilities. Gauge the strength of each formed belief to expose any underlying fractures.

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In every sales meeting I mentally rated the importance of each of the buyer’s scissor influences capacity to hold, bend, or break, this produced the questions necessary to identify a genuine need other than product alone. Customers may like their current vendor but still be only marginally satisfied with the product, sharpening service; or there could be additional weaknesses. Fracturing just one influencing bond is enough to modify an existing belief. Accomplish this with soft questions to pinpoint the buyer’s level of satisfaction without demeaning the scissor brand, its performance, or the previous vendor. Focus these questions on what improves the overall cutting experience because it logically interacts with the scissor’s features, benefits, and a mutual understanding of Basic Career Disciplines (upper hand control, correct tension setting, proper edge). This alone could be the deciding factor that separates your business model from the competitors. When the buyer accepts the solutions that you offer, they have recognized you as the new constructive influence for their scissors. Congratulations.

I will be offering insight to a significant topic in my next article on how to avoid having buyers research your product on the internet right in the middle of a sales meeting. Only the Full-Service Scissors Business model has the prowess to overcome this impertinent ploy. This tactic has deep roots that is reinforced by the unproductive choices that are made at all levels of the scissor industry. It begins with the selection of the scissor brands that you choose to retail and why these companies would want to support your business model or just provide you with a product. Until things systematically change, prepare your selling method to prevail over this invisible competitor. This hurtle is only another customers objection pleading for you to defend the belief that your value as a vendor in this relationship is greater than the product itself.

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