Selling can be a dirty word in some workplaces. I’ve been in sales for over 15 years, and I still cringe at the thought of picking up the phone to make a cold call sometimes. Then there are many people in our teams that do not see selling as remotely relevant to their roles (nor their lives). Here are a few tips for all of those people out there that hate selling to their core, as well as those leaders that find it difficult to get their teams to sell effectively.
My mind was blown-away many years ago when a guy I was working with told me that “everything that I had ever read was selling me something”. How can that be? Even historic facts in the Encyclopedia Britannica? Yes, is the answer. Every conversation & scripture includes information being passed-on for the receiver’s mind to be influenced.
Communication = Selling. The quicker you and your team understand this, the quicker the stigma of selling will dissipate.
An unorganised team will almost certainly have an unorganised leader. The same applies to teams that are poor at sales. But wait, I can hear you screaming at me “I bring in huge sales myself, and I just wish the team could sell half of what I do”. This situation is common. Here, the missing link is for the leader to coach and mentor people that sell in a different way to you, or that have different capabilities to you. Either way, the first check is to understand your own fears and inabilities to sell. The second step is to check yourself in regard to how well you are selling the importance and fun of selling to your staff. An honest look at your own behaviour and our communication with our team has to be assessed. Then the ongoing process of coaching is critical to build sustainable cultural sales ability.
I bet most know this and have tried this tact with their staff. The concept is critical, and is at the heart of sales as a skill – if we provide good customer service this will translate to sales. Think about the last time you received brilliant customer service. Write ten descriptive words about that person and the service they gave you. Now, see if these descriptive words match the “ideal salesperson”. The two lists tends to be spot on, and is an activity worth doing with your staff at your next team meeting. When it comes time for individual performance reviews, be sure to use sales performance metrics as the scoreboard for the performance of a team member in regard to their customer service standards. This will help to create a link between customer service (generally seen as a fun and desirable skill) and sales ability.
Who has ever walked into a shop hoping for the sales assistant to do a bad job with the result being that you know the same as what you did before you walked in. No one, right!?! Customers want a positive outcome. In fact, they want the same positive outcome that you want. That is; they want information. They want connection. They want a fun, memorable experience. They want to buy something, if not today, someday soon. Your team’s job is to provide this. Without selling, what are we actually doing? We are simply just existing. Breathing. Maybe doing a few tasks and taking a few orders (which is not selling). This does not inspire customers to become loyal, nor help the business to grow. Give the customers what they want, and selling is a big part of this.
Your team need to know that they are seen by you and your patrons as an expert in the products and services of your business. They are by definition consultants. Their primary job is to guide a customer through the decision making process so that the customer can make an informed choice to fulfil their particular need. Are your team experts? Do they need more training to build their capability and confidence? Are they the right people? This is your job to ensure these questions are answered. Focus on supporting your experts and they will help you blow-your-competition-away.
The only addition to these points is to ensure a person is in the right mind set. Remember, at the top I mentioned that I cringe sometimes when I need to make a cold call. In these moments I need to check-in with myself and get back into my happy place. This may come in the form of music, dancing around the room, or taking a brief walk outside – anything to get a smile on my face and into game mode. Whatever does the trick, make sure it is done, and support your team to get into their sweet spot so they can sell with no inhibitions.
ARA Retail Institute & Fresh Eye Solutions