QA | 16 April 2013
Having spent a short but enjoyable time working in Netherlands, my trip was to end on a lull, which incurred a four hour wait a Schiphol airport. I had already planned several activities to keep me amused, including a bit of airport shopping (I mean who can resist that?), something to eat and my current book, ‘Quiet Leadership’ by David Rock.
Quiet Leadership is my chosen text at the moment for trains,
planes and automobiles, and I have to say I am rather enjoying it.
The book centres around six key steps to transforming performance,
however it also has strong links to key psychological theories of
how our minds will influence performance. This book, and a key
interaction at Schiphol got me thinking, is there such a thing as
the Quiet Sales Executive?
I had sat myself down for something to eat shortly after finishing my airport retail therapy, when three gentlemen sat on the table next me. We got talking, and they had all been in Amsterdam on business. The group were made up of a Corporate Marketing Exec, a Director and Script Writer and the Cameraman, Simon. They had been over filming for a top secret launch (which I will have to keep under my hat on pain of death!). Naturally as the conversation progressed I learnt more about the three gentlemen that had saved me from terminal boredom at the airport. As with any conversation you naturally gravitate to discuss commonalities, this moved into my husband's role in the media, and then onto motoring.
Simon the cameraman beamed with pride as he showed me a picture on his phone of his Harley Davidson, however I was more enthralled with the story of how he came to purchase it.
Simon and his friend had been out on their Triumphs, and decided to call into the Harley shop, with no intention of making a purchase; I think that deep down this wasn't the case, as why go if there was absolutely no intention? There must have been some interest, even on a subconscious level.
Upon arriving at the bike shop they were approached by the salesman, who simply suggested, having had two people return from a test ride, they take the two bikes out for half an hour. Once satisfied the Harley sized whole on the half hour test ride, Simon and his friend returned them to the shop. The sales person thanked them for the keys, and let them be on their way. At this point in the story I was shocked - you mean he didn't try to close the business! - it transpired, two weeks later Simon re-visited that sales person and bought his first Harley Davidson motorbike.
This story got me thinking, we do tend to make a lot of purchases based on trust. Consider it, how many times have you bought something because of the sales person? Or, think of it this way, how many times have you refused to buy something because of the salesperson?
Maybe the Harley sales person was having a lazy day and got lucky, or maybe there really is something behind being the quiet salesperson. If you trust others, will they be more influenced by you? Does hard selling make us want to buy? Or, do we like to feel in control of making those decisions? Do we want to be quoted with finance packages and mpg? Or, do we simply want to enjoy the ride and make up our own minds? Finally, is being given the freedom to take control and make up our own minds the most powerful selling skill around?
Did the salesperson in the story have absolute faith in his product, enough to believe that once they had ridden it, they would be back? If so, that kind of confidence is very assuring for a buying, so much so, it might well influence our buying decision more than the glossy brochures and attractive interest free deals. It all boils down to emotion versus logic in any buying decision. We love to think that we are logical, but even the most robust procurement process can fail against the age old question - Does this feel right?
So test my theory, focus on the relationship, not the close and become a quiet salesperson!
Thank you to the three gentlemen I met in Schiphol, as not only did you brighten up my four hour wait, but you also inspired my latest blog.