Selling without “selling”

The best way to sell a product or service may be to “not sell”. The immediate question is “how can I sell by not selling?” Isn’t the goal to make the sale?   Let me give you an illustration of how to sell with education rather than a “slick sales pitch”.

Yesterday I called on a hairstylist in a Cost Cutter’s salon. The first thing the stylist said was that she had no money and therefore could not get her scissors sharpened nor did she want to look at new shears. Please note our conversation started with a big “NO”.

I teased her with a sales price on a top quality pair of shears which got a conversation started. During the conversation/education I pointed out two issues with her shears from the last sharpening she had done. The sharpener had put a sharper cutting edge on her scissors than what the factory had put on them. And second, the sharpener had changed her convex edge to a bevel edge.

The net result was the wrong edge in cutting angle and type of edge. Both of these mistakes had an impact on the performance of the shears. The wrong cutting angle started out seeming like a good thing. Wow – they cut nice and sharp. The issue was they did not stay sharp for very long. The quality of steel in the blade would not hold that sharp of an edge in the stylist’s normal use of the shears. The other issue – replacing her convex edge with a bevel edge impacted her ability to “slide cut” immediately.

The bottom line was the sharpener damaged her scissors and the stylist was left trying to do a good job with an inferior tool due to the job done by a sharpener. I should probably point out that the sharpener was not a bad person intentionally trying to do a bad job. He was just trying to save money when he purchased the wrong sharpening equipment. I am not sure that ignorance should be a good excuse, but obviously he did not understand the quality of steel would not stand the test of time with the sharper than recommended cutting angle.

My conversation with the stylist was educational in the sense that I pointed out the issues without her telling me what her problems were. Rather it was her acknowledging the problem she was having as I explained what would happen as a result of the way the scissors had been sharpened.

Before I left the salon, I fixed her shears with our normal sharpening service for $35.00 and sold her a new pair of Musashi Shears for $595.00. I sold by not selling. I made a friend and a long term customer. And yes, I made more than $300.00 in the process of “not selling”.

Stop trying to sell so hard. Change your approach to education and a real concern for the welfare of your customer. True salesmanship is education, not some slick sales pitch you might see on the car lot from a guy in funny looking pants and slicked down hair.

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