Jan 30, 2019
by Elizabeth Slater
Competition for customers and sales is fierce these days. Consumers have many more avenues of sales than they have had in the past including many that can be accessed without ever leaving their house or office. In addition, products ordered through the internet are available within a couple of days and returning products that do not fit or suit is as simple as sticking the product in a return envelope or calling the company and telling them to pick it up.
The one thing that is a harder to get through the internet is personal customer service, though that is also improving by leaps and bounds. The question is how small or large retail businesses compete with Internet sales where, once you have found the product you want, it is purchased with one click of a button and delivered at no charge.
Even service companies need to be able to be reached easily and efficiently, when consumers are in need of services. Working people who need to schedule appointments may find it easier to do in the evenings and therefore need ways, either by phone or through the internet, to place their requests for appointments at all times of day or night.
All of these new ways to purchase without personal interaction with the customer make it even more important that when you do interact in person with your customers everyone in the company knows at least the basics of sales. Those on the front line of sales, of course should know much more. Following are some of the most valuable but often overlooked ways to make the sale.
1. If we want to sell, we should listen more than we talk.
Some sales trainers say customers should do 80% of the talking,leaving 20% of the time for the salesperson, while others say 60% for the customer and 40% for the salesperson. Whichever you chose, make sure that your customers have ample time to say what they want or need to say.
2. Customers may already know a great deal about your business.
With almost every business having a website, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account, not to mention Trip Advisor, Yelp and other ratings sites, consumers may have lots of information about you, both good and bad. Before employees launch into a pitch for the business, it may be a good idea to discover what the consumers already know. You may be surprised at the depth of their knowledge.
3. Build a relationship
All employees, no matter how little their engagement with customers might be,
should understand that creating a successful business is all about relationship.
Any employee who sees a customer should smile and say hello. If a customer looks perplexed the employee should ask if they can help them. Even if the help is getting them in touch with the person who can help them.
4. First ask questions, then provide information
If you don’t know what the potential customer wants, it is difficult to provide the information that s/he needs. It is a waste of both the customer and the salesperson’s time to present information that is not wanted or needed. Additionally,
salespeople seem more professional and helpful when they take a few minutes to discover the needs of the customer before launching into a sales pitch
5. Discover the wants and needs of the customer
The salesperson can save time and be more helpful if they do a little digging into what the customers is looking for before making any suggestions. On the journey of discovery, some of the things you need to discover are:
6. Know your products
You now have enough information to know whether or not you can meet their wants and needs. This is the time to show them what products you have to offer that will fit their wants, needs and budget as well as their personality and self image.
7. Congratulate the customer(s) on his/her choice
Let them know that they have made an excellent decision and that they will be happy with their product. Also remind them that if they have additional questions or need help, to give you a call. Finally, encourage them to come back again soon, even if it is just to say hello.
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