In these tough economic times it is more important than ever for retailers to ensure their sales teams are fully trained in sales, to guarantee the best conversion levels and optimum results.
As companies’ set higher sales targets because of the recession, staff can often find the challenge of reaching their sales targets overwhelming. The simplest solution to ensuring sales staff are able to meet their goals is better training.
In order for sales targets to be met, it is extremely important to empower store managers. In many ways a good strategy is to encourage staff to ‘think like entrepreneurs’ and take more responsibility for the development of their teams.
Making these simple changes to how a team does things delivers entirely different results and sometimes the smallest changes to how someone performs at work can mean the difference between a ‘good day most days’ and a ‘great day everyday!’
There are a number of areas every retailer should be looking at and asking themselves whether their sales staff are fully competent in these areas and how can this be improved?
Increasing conversion rates will always make a huge difference to the bottom line – if every member of the sales team were able to convert just one extra person into a sale each day, that would be great. However, if they could convert an extra two or three people each day the difference to the takings at the end of the day will be dramatically different.
Persuasive communication is key to any sale; you can begin to lead your audience towards the outcome you want to achieve by carefully engineering what you say.
This can be done in various ways, one of which is by using ‘action commands’. The best action commands are short, for example “buy”, “decide” or “recommend”. They should also be limited to one or two key ideas, repeated in different ways and, most importantly, they should have an action that is possible.
Once you know how to ‘send’ an action command, the next stage is to find how to send it in a way that avoids resistance. When someone recognises a selling situation is taking place, conscious resistance is introduced. If you can ‘send your message’ in a way that is not recognised, the likelihood of the desired behaviour occurring is significantly increased.
For example, if a customer asks you to leave some brochures with them, rather than just agreeing and saying, “here are some brochures for you” be more specific in the message you give. “When you have looked at the brochure you may have some questions, so I’ll call you on Friday so I can answer them for you.”
If you state exactly what you want someone to do there is a higher chance they will deliver for you as requested.
Increasing ‘average transaction value’ is another area which retailers need to pay closer attention to. If every customer that entered a store each day was to spend an extra £5, £20 or maybe even £100, this would equate to a substantial amount of additional revenue for their business.
Cross-selling is crucial to increasing average transaction value, however, many retailers are still not training their staff in this area and so miss out on thousands of pounds every year. Cross-selling not only increases the bottom line but it enables you to offer a greater level of customer service.
For example, if a customer buys a product that may need additional items to function at its optimum, yet they are not offered as a cross- or up-sell at the time of the sale, this could lead to an unhappy customer who then has to return to the shop to buy these extra features.
If those same additional features had been offered at the time, it would have led to not only a potential up-sell but the customer would have been fully empowered to make that choice and would have received the highest customer service level from the sales person.
As any business knows, it costs a substantial amount of money to find a new customer. However, if the ones you already have keep coming back to repurchase again and again then these costs are dramatically reduced.
A delighted customer is one who will return repeatedly and the key to doing this is sales staff who engage and interact with their customers and always offer them a full and complete service, including an up- or cross-sell.
It is ensuring the customers are made to feel special, acknowledged and that they are offered the right solution for their individual needs.
There are a number of things any company must ask itself in the current economic climate and the ever increasing pressure to make sales and keep competitive and profitable:
- How knowledgeable are your sales staff about the products they sell?
- Are sales features being translated into real tangible benefits so that your customers understand why they need them?
- Identifying a customer’s current needs is easily achieved by good interaction but what about identifying future needs – are they being met?
- How able are your sales people to view objections as real buying signals and handle them as such?
- What about the close – do they actually ask your customers to buy?
Many businesses have a sales process in which sales teams have to follow but are they using it in a way that engages customers to deliver the results that are needed?
These are questions that all retailers should be asking themselves about their sales staff and whether their current training models meet the needs of the business.
Making simple changes to staff training can lead to positive and significant changes on the sales floor and your bottom line.