Last weekend I went to the local shopping mall with my family. Along with the usual food court and kids’ play area and places to buy jeans, this mall has recently started offering massage services. There is a small area where a team of massage therapists are offering chair massages, right in the middle of the mall concourse, for as little as $20 for 15 minutes. It’s a nice way to get some relaxation and relief of muscle soreness during a day out.
Perhaps you’ve also noticed these types of massage services at your local mall. Massage therapists are excellent salespeople, and no matter what you sell, we can all learn a few sales lessons from them:
1. Go where your customers are
You might not think of a mall concourse as a glamorous destination to do sales work, but it’s true—malls are part of America’s public square and part of how we express ourselves as consumers. And every day at the mall represents opportunity for massage professionals to make some money. They are located right in the middle of prime foot traffic, and thousands of people pass by their massage chairs each day. Massage therapists make the most of their location because everyone who walks by is a potential customer.
In the same way, as a salesperson or business owner, you need to reevaluate how to get in front of your customers in the most direct and relevant way. Do you need more sales leads, more foot traffic for your store, or do you need to try to branch out and meet your customers at new trade shows or conferences?
2. Be persistent
The massage therapists at my local mall are a bit persistent, bordering on aggressive, in the way they reach out to people. They offer massages to almost every single person who walks by—not necessarily in a pushy or uncomfortable way, but they are proactive and are not shy about “making the ask.” They have a limited time to catch people’s attention and offer their services, and they take advantage of it.
Other salespeople can learn from this. Are you reluctant to make cold calls? Are you struggling to put a proposal together for that big new client? Find inspiration in the persistent sales energy of hard-working mall masseurs.
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3. Be concise and relevant
Mall massage therapists make their sales pitches quickly and concisely: “Would you care for a massage today?” or “How would you like to relax with a massage?” Just walking past the massage area, seeing the other people enjoying some massage care…it is kind of tempting to just say yes and spend a few dollars on some relaxation and self-care. You know what they’re selling, you see why it matters, and you know why it’s relevant to your circumstances.
In a way, this is one area where mall massage therapy is “easier” to sell than other products—if you’ve been dragging your kids through the mall for two hours, and your feet are tired and your back is sore, it’s easy to see the relevance of the value proposition of a mall massage. But other businesses can learn from this, too! Think carefully about how to craft a concise and relevant sales pitch that catches your prospective customers at a moment when they are ready to buy, or most likely to be interested.
4. Go for relationships, not transactions
The mall massage business may seem like a tough way to make a living, and I suppose it can be, but ideally, these mall massage therapists are not just selling one-off massages that people decide to spontaneously buy as an impulse purchase. Hopefully they are all building up longer-lasting business with repeat clients who will keep coming back. Even in the competitive world of mall kiosks, it’s still possible to build longer-term business relationships.
It’s the same way for any business. Sure, it’s fun to chase after new business and persuade people to become new customers, but ideally, the best way to build a profitable business and a successful career as a salesperson is to build strong, enduring relationships—not just one-off transactions.
One of the fun things about working in sales is that you can see inspiration almost everywhere. Every single person who’s in the sales business, who has to make things happen everyday, who has to find customers and build relationships with customers, is a possible role model—whether it’s a high-tech B2B sales rep or a humble massage therapist at a mall. Keep people coming back to you. Earn their trust. Demonstrate exceptional service. Give people a great experience of working with you and buying from you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to the mall to get a massage!