Service, Service, Service
Conway Daily Sun
By Michael Kline
If you’ve ever tried to convince your mate to agree with you on anything, or to get your children to do what you want, you know something about sales. Let me point out some not-so-subtle differences when helping a prospect become a customer. Neither your mate nor your children want to be sold, nor do they want to buy what you’re selling. Your customer doesn’t want to be sold either, but at least they want and/or need your help.
Like most people, I avoid sales people like a politician avoiding responsibility. I’m so bad, I’ll browse areas of a store I have no interest in, waiting for sales people to leave the area I really want to browse. I just want a clean shot at my product without talking to anyone. Also like many people, I research online before calling or visiting a business, so I can be a more knowledgeable consumer. And, while I’ve come to rely more on myself and less on sales people, I still like to complain when I can’t find a salesperson to help me when I’m finally ready for them. There’s just no pleasing some people, and I’m one of them. So as a sales person, manager or business owner, how do you train yourself and your team to increase sales by being as helpful as possible to prospects who don’t want to be sold?
One funny story, then I’ll get on to my lesson of the day. Working an art booth at a recent festival, we only had one sale for the day. A visitor looked at a picture and said it would be great over their sofa – I looked up and said “then buy it, damit”. After everyone stopped laughing, we wrote up the only sale of the day! While this may be a little funny to anyone who’s spent a day in a booth selling nothing, it’s rude, sarcastic and risky at best. I don’t think I’ll try it again – working once is more than one can expect for that particular sales script, so there’s no point in pushing it. Let’s talk about being more useful.
Tip #1. How to deal with browsers who have no interest in buying anything. We love them! Honor the “be-backs”. Rare is the customer who buys on impulse anymore. Today’s browsers are tomorrow’s buyers. Your goal is to be of service - period. Let them fall in love with you, your company, your product or service, your reputation, or just the notion that you eventually want their business. I like to offer them something of value in exchange for getting their contact information to promote to them in the future. You’ll still want their business next year, so you want to make a great impression, and find a way to stay top of mind until they need you. For example, if you are a hotel, you want to help your prospect make a booking decision, so offer to email information about the area or attractions to help them plan their trip, while giving you their contact information and becoming their friendly helper.
Tip #2. Speak their language. The world is full or strange and varies personalities and some people who seem to have no personality whatsoever. Since the ancient Greeks, it has been widely taught that all personality styles can be boiled down to four broad categories, each speaking a different language, if you will. Once mastered, you can pretty easily “read” people to know what language you should be speaking - if they want to be helped or left alone, how much or little information they want, etc. You can’t be of service if you don’t speak the same language, so every sales person should be trained in the professional “reading” of people. Kline Seminars puts some focus on this aspect of sales training.
Tip #3. Getting referrals. Advertising for new prospects is expensive. Asking for referrals is free and more credible than advertising. Surely, you ask your customers for referrals – don’t you? If not, that’s easy, and mostly just requires awareness to get yourself and your team to do it. What about your prospects that don’t buy from you? Are you providing enough service to them that you can ask if they know anyone who would benefit from your service? Do you give out coupons or cards or literature or (when communicating electronically), links to be passed on to others? Work with your Entreprenologist to create new ways of getting referral business from not only your customers, but your non-customers too.
The idea behind most of excellent sales training is that if you put service first, sales will take care of themselves. If you try selling from the position that you need that sale more than you need the relationship, you are at a huge disadvantage.