Face to Face Selling Skills Anyone Can Learn

April 4, 2017 | Face to Face Selling

Tina Nicola, M.A.

Tina is the founder of Tradeshow-Planning.com and has been creating profitable marketing and exhibit strategies for startups, small businesses and nonprofits for over nineteen years. Her main goal is to broaden access to the techniques she has developed so anyone can benefit and improve exhibiting strategy, sales conversations and follow up.

Face to face selling skills

Looking for ways to learn or improve your face to face selling skills? You’ve come to the right place!

Developing face to face selling skills can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve compiled a list of proven tips to help you sell like a pro, with or without sales experience.

Best Way to Improve Your Face to Face Selling Skills

Always be active, start conversations with an icebreaker

If you are selling at an exhibit area like a trade show booth or pop up stand, you must plan to actively start conversations that might lead to a sale. Whether you are selling make-up, pretzels or watches, the strategy behind effective face to face selling skills is the same:

Stand (don’t sit) at the edge of your selling space looking friendly and engaged. Use Icebreakers to start conversations with potential customers passing by. Icebreakers are the question or comment that you use to start conversations.

The best Icebreakers are open-ended questions that pressure passersby to stop and respond. Check out our article on breaking the ice for how to create great Icebreakers!

Be active without being pushy

Being active will always lead to more sales than being passive. Being active looks like this:

  • Starting conversations with people passing by using great Icebreakers
  • Saying something to potential customers already in your exhibit space rather than waiting for them to ask you a question
  • Standing and looking alert and available for conversation
  • Using the Lead Interview to found out if a potential customer is someone actually likely to buy from you

Those still learning face to face selling sometimes misinterpret this strategy.

“Oh, active like a used car salesman?”

Don’t confuse being ‘active’ with being ‘pushy.’ We’ve all encountered examples of the stereotypical used car salesman. These sellers talk at you, not with you. They don’t offer the products right for you, but try to bully you into purchasing the product they have in mind. They won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

Active sales should never be done in a pushy, obnoxious way. On the other hand, if you are thinking to yourself…

“Some customers just want to browse. I’ll sell more if I wait for them to come to me.”

… You don’t want to err on the side of passivity! Some new to face to face selling think any active sales will be interpreted as pushiness by the potential customer. Wrong! True, sometimes if you approach a potential customer to ask if you can assist them, you will get a ‘no, not right now.’

That’s ok! It’s still important you actively show your availability to assist. The moment a customer decides they want help, they might not come to you for it if you haven’t communicated you are available for them. Further, initiating with a potential customer still gives you the chance to offer helpful information that might push them towards a sale, such as letting them know about any promotions you are having.

Have more than one face to face selling goal

It’s critical to have more than one sales goal. Of course, making the sale should be the top goal! However, face to face selling include the ability to create additional sales goals that can help move a potential customer to buy. For instance: Sharing out a free sample or giving a product demo.

For more on how to decide on sales goals, check out our course: Tradeshow Basecamp

If the customer says no, switch to a sales goal involving less commitment

One of the main reasons your face to face selling skills should include creating more than one sales goal is this. A ‘no thanks’ in sales is sometimes a ‘maybe.’ What do you do then?

Imagine you are working a jewelry exhibit in a mall. A potential customer wanders into your booth and starts to browse. You ask them “What are you looking for today?” They say: “Nothing specific, just browsing.”

Well, you see they’ve made a bee-line to your exhibit and are clearly looking for something specific. Their ‘nothing specific’ is just trying to communicate that talking to you is still too much of a commitment for them. They want to browse, and talk to you when they are ready.

In cases like these, it’s helpful to have more than one sales goal. Let’s say ‘sharing information about a 50% storewide sale’ is another of your sales goals. Respect the customer’s request not to talk to you yet about their reason for being at your store. Don’t badger them.

Instead, switch to a sales goal that requires less commitment. You might say: “No problem! Just so you know, we have 50% off all products storewide this weekend only. Let me know if you have questions.”

Want to learn more about face to face selling? Check out our articles on…

Face to Face Selling Techniques or Face to Face Sales Script Examples

Face-to-Face Selling?
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Face-to-Face Selling? The training you need...Tradeshow Basecamp™

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