We all know the basics of selling, but sometimes we get complacent about enacting those rules. Here are some 6 easy tips that you should be doing on every sale.
A couple of years ago I had the idea of going to Thailand with a good friend of mine. I was given the task to organise it as she had been busy with work at the time, which is part of the reason she wanted to getaway.
I stopped into my local travel agent. I wanted to share my experience and why the travel agent lost a sale and the simple lessons we could all learn from it. Here are some simple sales principles that the agent missed.
1. Give the customer your time
I walked into the travel agency and all the agents were on the phone, no one acknowledged me so I stood around looking at brochures. Having had some sales training myself, I was a bit miffed.
Think about the last time you went to get your hair done, you walked into the hairdressers, all the staff were probably busy cutting hair, but you would’ve received a nod, or an ‘I’ll be with you in a minute’. I would’ve expected better service at a travel agency where I’ll be dropping 5-10k.
Don’t forget, a customer that walks in is a customer you don’t have to prospect, they should be seen as extremely valuable, so deliver great customer service from the get-go.
Make an effort to greet every customer within 10secs of walking through the door, even if you’re busy, just let them know that you see them and you will get to them as soon as possible.
2. Know the product
I do have to admit, this is something that the travel agent did well, and this is the reason I sought their guidance in the first place.
I wanted to talk to a product expert and we were both time-poor.
Although we were both internet savvy, neither of us just had the time to look through all the sites and decide on all the options, we were just seeking someone to draw up a package that best suits us.
The travel agent certainly knew their way around Thailand and took me through the pros and cons of staying at certain destinations.
Do you remember feeling hesitant about your purchase because the salesperson was not knowledgeable? As a sales professional, you must always keep in mind that your primary goal is to be a product expert capable of making sure your customer feels confident in you and the product.
One of the best ways to do this efficiently is to know your product inside and out.
3. Know your customer
Becoming a sales professional means understanding the simple needs of your customer. There are much more complex components of the sales process as well, but it all starts with an understanding of the customer’s needs.
In this particular case, I was travelling to Thailand with a strictly platonic friend who just happened to be female. The agent had asked me for my travel companion’s name and I had provided it.
Without getting asked, I told the agent that we needed separate rooms, or at the very least, separate beds.
The agent acknowledged this and asked me if we wanted a luxury travel experience, we did (but for the best price of course). The agent then told me that they would create a custom package for me and get back to me in a couple of days.
It starts by asking questions.
You want to understand everything you can about your customer so you can make proper recommendations that meet the needs, wants and desires of these customers.
If you can find a product that meets all of these customer attributes, closing the sale is easy. Sure…the customer may still have concerns such as price, but these are typically easy to overcome if you present the product as the perfect solution for that specific customer.
You can do that by understanding exactly what is motivating that customer to contemplate a purchase and this understanding comes from asking the right questions.
More important than asking the right questions, is listening to the answers.
4. Keep your promises
You probably would’ve guessed by now that I didn’t get my call back in a couple of days, there were no missed calls, emails or voicemail messages.
I had to chase the agent up myself.
At this point the agent apologised and told me that they had been under the pump lately, I was then told that I would get an email by end of business day, which I ended up chasing up the next day.
Not only does this build distrust but it also changed our minds about our reasons for going to a travel agent in the first place, don’t forget, we were time-poor.
5. Present your solution to the customer
I know you’re not selling a car or a tangible product but you are selling a travel experience, I’d want you to talk me through it and make the dream a little bit more real in my head. In this case, all I got was an email that resembles an invoice.
If you aren’t providing your customers with a full demonstration each and every time you are losing out on sales. Show me why you think this is a perfect solution for me, and about that…
6. Make sure your solution fits your customer needs
My biggest disappointment was that the product was nowhere near fitting my needs.
The hotels on the package were for a king-size bed, we had asked for separate rooms or at least separate beds. Their activities seem to be more oriented to couples rather than two singles.
It just demonstrated that the agent had not listened to me in the first place.
It leaves the customer feeling like the experience was everything they hoped it wouldn’t be.
The result is that you have reaffirmed the customer’s preconceived notions about salespeople in general and the likelihood that you will get another shot with that same customer is very small.
In this case, the agent did not get a second chance.
Don’t ever forget the law of 250
The best advice anyone ever gave me about sales is The Law of 250.
The Law of 250 is pretty simple but extremely important to the success of your business. Basically, most people know around 250 people. If you are unsure, ask a wedding caterer or a funeral director. As a general rule, people invite about 250 people to their wedding and about the same number of people attend the average funeral.
This means that your customer knows 250 people well enough that they would invite them to their wedding. It’s reasonable to assume that a good rapport with this one customer has the potential to bring you 250 or more referral leads.
More importantly, if you upset one customer, you could lose out on 250 other potential customers who heard about the bad experience you gave a customer.
We should all strive to make every customer experience a positive one.
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