Quality is an attitude, not a list of features

If you’re in the business of selling quality, you must be patient, open, adaptable, empathetic, and educated about behavioral psychology. If you can’t or won’t do this, get another job.

Quality is not sold by simply repeating features, berating competing products, or growing impatient when people ‘don’t get it’. It’s also not sold with arrogance or complaining. It’s about connecting your values, with another person’s, in a excellent way.

How many times have you wanted to enjoy a hotel, or car, or restaurant, or clothing brand, only to have a sour taste left in your mouth not by the product, but the people bringing it to you? Attitude and the behavior that it creates is what ‘sells’ quality, for it directly impacts how people feel. You see, we have this knack of conveniently forgetting and diminishing the negative, when the overall experience was good, therefore we are open, patient and forgiving if we feel connected; features and price just sweeten the deal.

As a consumer, quality is typically perceived by a combination of things whether by a brand or a person. They include (and are not limited to):

  1. Who is informing me and how well do I trust/know them?
  2. How connected do I feel to them and do they understand my beliefs, position, experiences etc?
  3. Do I feel cautious or confident about my knowledge of the subject domain?
  4. Do we share a dynamic that allows for openness and growth?
  5. Do I feel safe, or are they a stranger?
  6. Does this brand share the values I do in regards to relationships, expectations, support, communication, time etc?
  7. Is this an act to get my money, or genuine behavior?

Most behavior of sales people flies in the face of the way quality is created. A master craftsman doesn’t sulk and throw his/her toys around when it doesn’t work out the first time, nor does he/she become hostile, dis-interested, or careless. He/she steps back and re-frames before moving forward.

The idea of quality implies a higher level of sophistication, care, and longevity. It’s superior to the average. Whether your attitude is good or bad, feelings in others will be subconsciously triggered, and will determine whether they pull closer to, or further away from you.

Get out of your own head

High quality sales people intently watch, and listen for triggers/hot buttons such as language use, non-verbal behaviors, reactions to stimulus, and so forth. Most people are dripping with clues, all which highlight their view of the world, how they think and how they make decisions. Quality sales people gather this valuable information; low quality sales people ignore it.

Great sales people are talented designers – they don’t argue and fight for self-righteousness, for they know it’s not the end game. Instead, they strive to understand, translate, and reframe in order to influence a culture or perception.

Alas, too many sales people believe quality is sold as a list of features, with lots of hustle, or with a strong dose of ego and judgement. They are taught how to overcome objections, sell features/advantages/benefits and be incessant with dispensing Kool Aid. Few are taught to be real listeners, adaptable and strategic problem solvers, or masters of anticipation. That’s why most sales people are simply ‘order takers’, and will be easily replaced with technology.

If you sell quality, you must be of high quality yourself.

Speak well, dress appropriately, have manners, be patient, respectful, and attentive. Be strategic by all means, but be adaptable and fluid. We all know what it feels like to get the sales person who is ‘switched on and smart’ vs the head-banging idiot. We buy more, they sell more, and we’re all hugging by the end of it.

People subconsciously look to you to determine the credibility of the words coming out of your mouth. If you cannot or will not do these activities, then quality sales is not for you. Don’t be surprised that you may be forever frustrated that people aren’t seeing your value.

Lastly, if you sell quality, there’s no need to be submissive. Too often, a quality sales process is compared to a butler – of servitude and sucking up, and at great expense to the management. This is a poor and limited view which stems from ignorance of human behavior.

It takes the same amount of time to sell a Toyota as it does to sell a Lexus (I know, I did it for 3 years). How you choose to invest in yourself and your customers during that couple of hours, will determine your outcome and long term results.

Quality sales people are the most powerful individuals in the world, alas they are a rare breed and that’s why they get paid so much. For quality requires five things that few are willing to invest in anymore – time, care, finesse, patience, and empathy.

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