People Solutions for the Decorative Building Products Industry

Don’t Create a Confused Client

Keercutter asked Deborah Flate to talk to us about how to be better closers.

Here is her response – ENJOY!!!…..

One of the most common questions I am asked is ‘what is the most effective closing technique’? I used to say that you close from the moment you enter the designer’s office or the retail showroom or the customer’s home. Although I still think that is true, I also know that closing starts when you find out what the needs of that client are. Whether you are selling B2B or to an end user, you should know this even before you call for an appointment.

It’s simple, without a need, there is no sale.

Often times the method is for sales people to show lots of new and beautiful products, explain the features and benefits in hopes that your client will fall in love and ask for samples or a catalog. Many sales people think that this method defines the need. If they are asking for samples or want to see more products in your showroom, they MUST be interested, right? Wrong! This way of presenting is the result of decades of misunderstanding the client’s needs and expectations!

Does this method make a sale? Let’s get real!

This is what it really produces…

Confused client

A confused client! Because, they still can’t decide.

You are giving the business owner or end user even more work to figure out what they want to use and they continue to look.

Some sales people think that if the showroom is very busy that must mean that this potential client must have lots of needs which then equal sales. I am sorry to burst your bubble, but a busy showroom and a request for product samples or a catalog does nothing to find out if what their NEEDS are or what they will purchase. Most importantly – ask yourself – does their current NEED match your PRODUCT or your companies business model?

There are plenty of showrooms and design firms that are incredibly busy, but their needs just might not match the product you represent at that time, no matter how much product you may show them or they may request. It is just not a fit. So getting closer to needs and matching that with the product you sell is the best closing technique there is in the sales world.

Then what’s the best way to find out what the needs are? Asking relevant questions, continuing to dig deeper and making sure your client knows it’s in their best interest to not waste a lot of their precious time looking at things that may never be relevant to them. Finding out what they currently need is how to really form that relationship. They will see your function quite differently and to THEIR advantage.

Typically sales people ask a few questions but do not dig to really qualify what the client needs. For example, when you ask a client what their lighting needs are – that question is too vague and produces nothing at all except an opportunity to give them your lighting binder. But if you ask what project they are currently working on that requires lighting and then dig deeper to see what that lighting might look like, you are moving MUCH closer to a SALE!!

Sales people need to focus on being the solution. Giving designers MORE to do or think about is like leaving your sale up to chance. You’d probably have more luck with a lottery ticket to make money. Don’t give a client options until you understand what they need. Having a designer figure out where they can use that configuration in their kitchen design, or that beautiful fabric or lighting or whatever product you happen to be piling in front of them without knowing exactly what they will use it for, is the wrong method. Start by understanding the clients’ past history of purchasing and build on that. Facts of the clients’ buying habits beat out guessing every time!

And don’t panic…you will have an opportunity to show your entire product or product line…just ask first, show later!

Deborah Flate, founder of Dialogue Consulting, has helped hundreds of sales people in the interior design industry to increase their sales. During her own sales career Deborah sold to high end product companies and showrooms. One of Deborah’s clients increased their sales 300% by using Deborah’s sales strategies to train their sales people. She is also a sought after keynote speaker on revolutionary new ways to Power up Your Sales NOW! She has a four part e-course based on her e-book: THE FUTURE OF SELLING TO INTERIOR DESIGNERS! You can download the e-book at and sign up at the top of the page. For information on booking Deborah for your next sales conference or any of her e-courses, email at or call her at 773-281-9448.

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