Selling Luxury
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Selling Luxury

Connect with Affluent Customers, Create Unique Experiences Through Impeccable Service, and Close the Sale

Robin Lent, Genevieve Tour

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eBook - ePub

Selling Luxury

Connect with Affluent Customers, Create Unique Experiences Through Impeccable Service, and Close the Sale

Robin Lent, Genevieve Tour

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About This Book

Selling high-end luxury creations requires a different set of skills than does traditional selling. Clients have high expectations for the service they receive and base their purchasing decisions more on emotion and desire than practical need. Whether you are selling diamond bracelets or sports cars, the key to concluding the sale lies in how well you sell rather than what you sell.

In Selling Luxury, Robin Lent and Geneviève Tour explore every component of luxury sales and offer proven, practical strategies for connecting with customers. Rather than sales associates, the luxury market calls for "Sales Ambassadors" who represent the brand with distinction. Sales Ambassadors understand how to connect with customers by discovering their unique motivational desires. This requires a multitude of specialized skills: passion, perseverance, empathy, daring, and curiosity. Through personalized service each and every time, Sales Ambassadors are able to build trust, brand loyalty, and lasting customer relationships.

If you want to succeed in the luxury sales universe, Selling Luxury is for you. You'll pick up the skills and approaches that work everyday in a multitude of situations. You'll learn how to:

  • Connect emotionally with customers
  • Exceed your customers' expectations
  • Turn every customer contact into a brand experience
  • Personalize your customer service
  • Learn about customers through observing and discovery
  • Create the desire to purchase
  • Deal positively with customer objections
  • Build a relationship of trust and brand loyalty

The universe of luxury is no place for traditional hard-sell tactics. Instead, you have to subtly adapt to your customer in a deeper way. Doing so takes a truly personal touch. Selling Luxury shows you how to develop these skills and make them a key part of your own unique selling style.

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Part One:
Initial Thoughts
Luxury means paying tribute to
customers seeking perfection from
creations while being waited on by
exceptional salespersons. Selling and
service are at the forefront of every
luxury brand. Selling is a professional
art, and only excellence is acceptable
from luxury sales staff. If you are seeking
enjoyment and fulfillment, you should
consider becoming a salesperson in the
world of luxury.

—Michel Guten
President, Institut Supérieur de Marketing du Luxe;
Vice-President Délégué du Comité des Champs-Elysées;
Former CEO, Lancel;
Former Vice-Président, Cartier France
The Vital Role of the Sales Ambassador
The publicity photograph in the magazine shows a stunning, sensual, young woman with a top brand-name handbag on her shoulder. The handbag is chic and beautifully designed. While traveling into town, the potential buyer observes this image and makes a mental note of the name of the impressive creation.

She takes time during her lunch break to go to the boutique located in an area where there are many other luxury brands. There, in the window, is the same handbag, looking even more appealing than in the advertisement.

The potential buyer does what many of us do when we see something we want. She starts to justify why she should have it. She finds at least half a dozen good reasons why she absolutely needs, deserves, has to have that handbag.

She walks to the door to enter the boutique.

The next few minutes are crucial to the brand. The company has spent time and money with marketing, designers, craftsmen, and a variety of experts to choose the materials and make the creation, not to mention logistics, packaging, quality approval, testing, and the list goes on.

Now it is the Sales Ambassador’s turn. If he fails, everything that has been done before has no meaning or purpose.
Through the glass door the Sales Ambassador can see the woman entering. Just as important as seeing her is understanding that her expectations are extremely high. She has already begun to have a strong desire to own the beautiful piece. But when the contact is not at the right level, the bubble can be easily burst. If she sees the brand as overpromising and underdelivering, the magic fades.

The Sales Ambassador knows that it is essential to have a presence and approach that is elegant but friendly, one that will quickly put the woman at ease in the universe she is entering. With a welcoming smile on his face, he approaches as the doorman opens the door for the woman.
Customers expect service to be at the same level as the creations brands are promoting.
In the eyes of the customer, the Sales Ambassador is the brand
For each contact with a customer, it is important to remember that the Sales Ambassador is the brand for the customer. When your demeanor invokes positive feelings in the customer, the chances for completing a successful sale are increased. The better the customer feels about the entire process, the stronger the possibility of completing the sale will be. The term “Ambassador” is important here. The Sales Ambassador truly represents the brand.

When a contact is negative, the whole brand is seen as negative. Consider the Sales Associate who becomes exasperated or indifferent with a customer, who in turn then leaves angry and/or disappointed. The Sales Associate was the brand for the customer, a brand that has failed in her eyes.

Upstream, a great deal of energy and work has been put into bringing the creations to the customer. When bearing in mind just the designing, creating, marketing, and communication required up to this point, Sales Ambassadors understand how critical their role is in the whole process.

The Sales Ambassador’s positive role is essential for the brand. If the creation does not sell, the whole process grinds to a halt.
Sales Ambassadors have a vital role to play in the brand’s success.
Loyalty begins with the first contact
Where does loyalty come from? From trusting someone. There can be no loyalty without trust. Trust is something that is built with each contact: “I can trust this person a little more.

Therefore the opportunity of building trust with someone begins by putting that person at ease right from the first contact. Is this contact with the Sales Ambassador honest and sincere? How does the Sales Ambassador show that she really cares about the person? Could other helpful advice be shared?

Helping customers find what they want and providing solutions for their needs are both parts of building trust and loyalty.

There are fewer things more fragile than trust. Although it may develop little by little over a period of time, it can be shattered with one blow. One contradiction, one insincere comment, one dishonest, or even seemingly dishonest situation, can destroy in a moment a trust that has been meticulously built over time.

Sales Ambassadors know that loyalty is the key to long-term success. They make sure that trust remains something that is built over time, and that any possibility of trust being broken is eliminated.
Building trust is the best way to build loyalty.
Keep in mind how you like to be treated
It’s almost too simple. It closely resembles the old Golden Rule: “Do unto others. . . .” Sales Ambassadors start with their own personal impressions. They evaluate the service they receive in situations all the time.

Here are some of the frequent responses that people give when asked the question “Why are you loyal to certain places?”

“They remember my name.”
“The Sales staff is never pushy.”
“I feel good when I enter.”
“It is a positive experience. Even if I do not buy, people are glad to see me and help me.”
“The staff is honest and sincere.”
“The Sales Ambassador sent me a ‘thank-you’ note.”

Customers will also reveal the way they like to be treated. We all have different preferences for how we want to be approached. Sales Ambassadors observe and analyze behaviors. For example: “Is this someone who likes to be left alone for a while or who would prefer more immediate assistance?” The ability to have a flexible and adaptive style is essential in building customer relationships with a variety of people.

The strength of a brand and the quality of its creations do of course play a role. But much more derives in large part from the quality and service given by the Sales Ambassador.
How do you like being treated? Develop an adaptable approach.
There are customers behind customers
When people shop, they are often searching for something that goes beyond minimum expectations. They may want more than simply to go to a place displaying objects. When they shop, they want an experience.

Years ago, a hairdresser we know had a very good experience at a luxury jeweler’s. A bracelet given to her by her grandmother needed repairing. While she was there, the Sales Ambassador let her try on a beautiful diamond ring. There was no attempt to sell it to her. It was just for fun, the pleasure of seeing it on her finger.

Eight years later, she still tells this story. For eight years she has sent hundreds of customers to the jeweler. Once the contact became an enjoyable experience, she became an Ambassador of the brand.

A strange story? Of course not. It happens every day, all over the world. It happens with every pleasant experience. People remember the pleasure. When you make customers’ visits metamorphose into experiences, they, in turn, give you access to their network. They happily share their positive experiences with people they meet and kno...

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