Iain Graham writes:
Everybody these days (apart from a lucky few!) is suffering from a lack of business or reduced sales due to the current 'downturn in the economic climate'. In my opinion, this is the time when sales people should stand up and be counted!
No, I don't mean the hard nosed, foot in the door double-glazing, second-hand car or mobile phone types (no offence!), I mean EVERYONE! Selling is a concept as much as it is a profession.
Let me explain what I mean with an example. I used to run a half day seminar for employees who had joined the company as customer care advisors. This was part of their induction into the organisation. At the start of the morning, I would pose this question to the twenty or so smiling upturned faces - "Who in this room considers themselves to be a salesperson?" Reactions varied from quiet thoughtfulness (probably asleep) to outright horror normally reserved for realising that a close friend was in fact the local flasher that the police were looking for!
The answer that I was hoping for but never got was "We All Are!!" For that I believe is the truth! We are also natural at it! More horror! It is NOT all about having the 'gift of the gab', using leading questions, knowing the 'seven phases of the sales cycle', understanding the difference between an Alternative close and a Churchill close etc.
Sure these are all tried and tested methods or tricks that are employed, with varying degrees of success, by some individuals. I am talking about our ability as human beings to empathise with our customers or potential customers. The customer service department is often the first point of contact anybody has with your company. That first thirty seconds of contact may well be the deciding factor on whether the customer chooses to do business with you or, indeed, continues to do business with you.
Take your car to a garage for a service or repair. Reception is busy, but a mechanic helps out with your query. If he gives a sharp intake of breath (always an expensive sign), exclaims "Who the h*** fitted/sold this?" and generally knocks the competition, move on sharply!
If he listens attentively to the problem, explains clearly the suggested solution and how his garage is qualified to solve the problem, you can leave your car in his hands with confidence and you will probably go back again and again! The second mechanic has 'sold' his company to you, and he probably doesn't even know it. If asked he would say he was just doing his job!
That is selling - so, in this climate, make ALL the people in your organisation 'salespeople'.
You never know, they may even start to like it and might even admit to it!!