Peter Smith has more than 30 years of experience building wholesale and retail sales teams. He currently is president of Vibhor Gems.
As we approach the critical holiday season, I thought it might be fun to share a few random tips that you might want to think about on the sales floor.

Have fun and be great!

1. Smile
Smiling engages the mirror neurons in our customers. They don’t care about our motivations, they’re just happy to see a warm smile, and they are more likely to reciprocate and adopt a more positive and friendly attitude as a result.

2. Use Hand Gestures
Effective communicators tend to use their hands more when they are speaking. It makes you appear warmer and more relatable. Let your hands help with your communication.

3. Avoid Negative People
There is no value whatsoever in choosing to associate with chronically negative people.

We all need to vent occasionally, but some people seem to have been born to complain and they must be avoided at all costs. You can’t be successful in sales unless you bring a positive attitude to work and maintain it throughout the day.

4. Don’t Information Dump
Great salespeople are not information-dumpers. They don’t use customer interactions as an opportunity to spew every fact and feature of their products. It is important to know your products well enough to speak to them, but the goal is to connect on an emotional level.

5. Be Authentic
Always present an authentic version of yourself to your customers. There are so many elements that contribute to our communication, verbal and non-verbal, so trying to present an inauthentic version of yourself will be taxing for you, and not terribly convincing for your customers.

6. Features and Benefits Are Irrelevant Until We Connect Emotionally
Features and benefits mean absolutely nothing unless you connect with your customer on an emotional level. Once that has been accomplished, you can underscore the connection with select features and their respective benefits to your customer.

7. Set Goals for Yourself
Having goals is like a GPS system for your own performance. The most obvious example is a daily/ weekly/monthly sales goal. But there are other measures to drive your own performance.

What is your average sale? Can you improve your personal conversion rate? Can you make X amount of add-on sales? If you work for a store that does not provide goals, set them yourself.

8. Use Your Colleagues
Using your colleagues to help shows them respect and demonstrates humility and curiosity on your part. Including them as appropriate in your customer interactions (be it a formal turnover of a prospect or a friendly inclusion) is just good business.

9. Sell Value, Not Price
Value and price are separate but often confused terms.

If I buy something for the cheapest price and it breaks or underperforms, did I get a good value? If I pay “more” for something than I might have wished, and it performs beautifully for years, did I pay too much?

Establishing value requires the salesperson to understand the underlying motivations behind a customer’s questions and to probe beneath the surface of requests for cheap prices and discounts. Do the work and sell the customer something she or he won’t regret buying. That’s value.

10. Build Your Customer Base
The difference between good and great salespeople is that good salespeople get a solid share of walk-ins, while great salespeople get a solid share of walk-ins and drive their own customers.

Every interaction is an opportunity to build your customer base. Don’t waste that opportunity during the holidays when you have more customers to work with. Capture key information and follow up after the season. These are the seeds of next year’s business.

Have a great season!

Peter Smith is president of Vibhor, a public speaker and author of “Sell Something” and “Hiring Squirrels.” He spent 30 years building sales teams in retail and wholesale and he can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

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