I considered titling this
page as "a sale in easy steps".
Although the steps may be easy to follow, the discipline
to execute the 5-steps requires a professional effort.
Before we proceed ... the given.
The most common obstruction customers face in making a
purchase is ironically a salesperson. Too often,
customers must confront high-pressure tactics, ignorance,
lies. Or worse, they are ignored. Therefore, assume
customers will initially expect more of the same from
you. You must confront and overcome this given
pessimistic expectation at the outset.
Step One: Meet & Greet.
Comfortably confront, greet, and prepare to listen to your
customer as you carefully observe their responses.
However, if approached too quickly, customers will perceive
your initial approach as high pressure. Yet, if not
acknowledged within a respected-period of time, customers will
judge this as being ignored.
So, what is too long? What is too soon? My answer,
based on more than four decades of experience, is no sooner
than 15 seconds (unless they approach you first), and no more
than 30 seconds.
To grasp the meaning of the 15/30 second principle, stand
silent for 15 seconds. It's long enough to run a TV
ad. Then stand absolutely-silent for 30 seconds to
acknowledge why someone might feel shunned.
Avoid greetings that allow for single word answers. That
is, avoid questions such as "Can I help you?". They will
respond with No. Greet with "What can I do for you"?" or
"How can I be of assistance?" Be creative. Prepare
unique applicable greetings. But use common sense and
remember what your mother said, "Be polite."
Step Two: Qualify.
This step separates the professional from the amateur order
taker who allows customers to walk away empty-handed,
alienated, and disappointed.
Qualifying is an interview that clarifies customer
desires. Qualifying is asking relevant questions while
respectable-listening to responses. Good-qualifying
demonstrates and establishes your credibility and
trustworthiness. Qualifying lays the groundwork for an
expert proposed solution that leads to an inevitable closed
sale. The following shortlist offers applicable
- Ask - are they shopping for a family room home theater
- Ask - are they shopping for a dedicated home theater
- Ask - are they shopping for a stereo audio system?
- Ask - are they shopping for a distributed audio and or
- Ask - are they building a new home or is this a retrofit
- Ask - is their emphasis on movies, music, sports, other?
- Ask - for an estimate of the room dimensions plus window
and door locations -- create a sketch.
- Ask - for furniture placement, which may affect speaker
- Ask - for types of lighting and window coverings used,
which may affect video performance?
- Ask - about the type of flooring, which may affect room
- Ask - about significant room aesthetic issues.
- Ask - where can the speakers, TV, and other components
- Ask - where will the head-end electronics be housed?
- Ask - will the head-end location offer easy access for
installation and maintenance?
- Ask - will the electronics have ample ventilation?
- Ask - are the electrical outlets conveniently located?
- Ask - will they use streaming services, cable TV,
satellite TV, off-air TV?
- Ask - for a list of current audio and video sources:
turntable, CD player, LaserDisc, etc.
- Ask - for a list of who will operate the system. This
may effect the type of remote control selected.
- Ask - will the head-end cabinet impede remote control
- Ask - who is handling the installation?
- Ask - when will they be ready for a pre-wire?
- Ask - Ask, Ask, Ask ..................
Step Three: Recommend.
Base on the qualifying information, recommend product and
installation guidance that solves their problems and fulfills
their desires. Then get your customer involved with a
demonstration or an alternative form of presentation.
During the demonstration, look for positive responses such as
an open interested-posture, a smile, tapping toes. A
retreating, falling away, demeanor with a blank look indicates
they misunderstood a word or phrase. A closed stance,
anger, anxiety is an indication they missed a step in your
explanation. Uncover the obstacle and explain it more
Step Four: Close.
If you have professionally executed your job, and the customer
is sincere, then respectively assume the sale. Politely
ask for a convenient installation walk-thru or installation
date. Ask for the sale.
Step Five: Follow Up.
After the delivery and installation, follow up with a phone
call and a thank you note. The follow up is an
opportunity to unearth misunderstandings or needed
adjustments. The follow up can also set the table for
Take your plan to the floor; then assess its results.