A greeting and offer of assistance should be made to customers soon after they enter the store, greenhouse, or sales yard. When the first contact is by telephone, the offer of assistance is immediate. The salesperson must then determine the needs of the customer and set about to satisfy those needs. The approach must be positive so that the customer feels good about making the purchase. The features of the product or service must be described at whatever level the customer requires for complete understanding. Obviously, the description used for a retail customer is different from that used for a wholesale horticultural buyer. The salesperson would also attempt to interest the customer in products or services that support or are related to the initially needed item. The attempt should not be high pressured or appear mercenary. Emphasis should be placed on how the customer will benefit from the purchase, not on how the company or salesperson will profit. The customer should be encouraged to ask questions, and the salesperson should answer them directly. Where the sale is potentially sizeable, the salesperson should be prepared with information regarding financing possibilities. If a service is being sold rather than a product, the salesperson must be skilled at helping the customer visualize the service. For example, photographs of typical lawns or landscapes or illustrations of plants or flowers can be shown, or quick sketches can be done as the client watches.
Successful sales result in satisfied customers who: (1) get what they came for and perhaps even more, but (2) do not spend more than they should have spent, and (3) will return again for future purchases.