Every shop owner fears the internet, yet they forget one GREAT benefit their shop has over the internet:
The customer can see and talk with real people!
These people are known as their team. If everyone liked buying from the impersonal internet then the streets would be empty. We like to buy from people whom we can see and talk with at the same time.
We know if they lying (or at least we think we do) because we can see it in the faces and their body language. As individuals, most of us have questions we cannot find answers on the internet, especially when it comes to electrical goods. the reason, for example, we may not know the right terminology. This allows a store’s team to talk to customers, get to know them, build a relationship with them and if the sales person is worth their salt sell them the product. Often, if a customer walks away and buys on the internet, it is because the sales person has not done a good enough job of selling.
Therefore the responsibility of business owners to offer sales classes and customer service training is absolutely imperative in today’s market.Continue reading
How on earth can this happen? Opra Winfrey calls it a Racist moment, however I call it nothing out of the ordinary in business today. Sales people in retail are struggling all over the world.
This woman working as a sales person in a Zurich high end store walked away from a major sale.
For once this sales loss became world news. A ridiculously high cost hand bag, no doubt covered in glitter. The woman would not show it to Opra and indicated it was out of her price range. Unfortunately Opra sees it as a racist comment but this is standard practice in many stores world wide.
Sales people for some reason just make too many assumptions, they judge customers by appearance, possibly look at their race but generally these sales people have had no sales training and have never attended Sales Classes or have ever had the chance to attend a sales course of any kind. They may understand features of their products but have very little understanding on what their customers wish to buy. Unless they ask their customer questions how can they expect to sell high value product?
This episode in Switzerland is nothing unusual, people who sell high ticket items, especially in retail have no sales training, there Sales Manager (if they have one) has usually had no Sales Managers Training either.
Can you just imagine how this sales person in Switzerland must have felt after all this publicity? It is easy to criticize her but it is not her fault. I can guarantee she does not know the difference in sales skills between making a high value sale as opposed to a simple sale.Continue reading
Christmas madness continued.
I intend writing a post for real estate agents soon about “how to sell a house”. However it is prudent to continue the story about trying to purchase a Nespresso coffee machine in a retail store.
I mentioned about my experience at Farmers Trading Company in Nelson New Zealand where locally the company was advertising the product on television, however the retail sales person on the floor told me they did not carry stock in Nelson, nor did they offer to get one in. Who runs this outfit?
Anyway I left the store and drove to Noel Leeming appliances in Trafalgar Street, low and behold they had a full range of Nespresso machines and also a demo unit.
Was I in luck? I don’t think so.
Can you believe it? There was no-one in the store who knew anything about the units. They had no idea about how to operate the demo unit and a salesman told me “we will match any price”.
My reaction was “I want the right machine, and I would like to speak with someone who understands and can demonstrate the sample unit”. “Price is NOT the consideration here”.
Next they got someone to get some milk and attempt to make me a coffee. The person admitted they had no experience in using this demo machine.
Needless to say the coffee was undrinkable and naturally no sale.
All this took at least thirty minutes of my time and I was no further advanced in securing a coffee machine.
After all I had seen George Clooney on TV waxing miracle about this product.
Next trip was along to Harvey Norman in Nelson, I was getting used to slack service and people with no training now.
Harvey Norman surprised me, they had a full range of Nespresso machines on display and the advertised prices were much lower than in Noel Leeming.
However there was no demo unit. A young lady by the name of Brooke could sense that I was interested in a Nespresso machine and asked if she could explain about them.
First and foremost she asked why I was looking at Nespresso machine ? A great start as retail people normally never ask these kind of questions.
As the interview unfolded it was obvious to me this young lady had been well trained, she not only asked questions but convinced me that she truly understood these machines and despite the fact i could not see one in action and sample the goods I was sold on the type of machine I needed for the specific purpose I wanted it for. If you missed the earlier post is is here: Christmas madness
No guesses who got the sale here!
Making Major sales at Christmas
Madness in retail goes on all year however it seems to get much worse the closer to the end of December.
I visited Farmers Trading Company a major department store in Nelson New Zealand a few days ago. My intention was the purchase of a small Nespresso machine I had seen advertised on Television the night before. This product looked as though it was great for travel as well as ideal for a small flat.
At this point I was not a 2012 type customer who normally does their research with the help of Google, I had been convinced by the high cost of the television advertisement it could be worth checking out.
Once I found the area where the coffee machines were displayed I could find no sign of Nespresso. When I eventually found a staff member for that area she had no idea whether they were stocked or not. She went off to check with a supervisor and duly arrived back with some bad and astounding news. The Farmers Trading Company had spent thousands advertising on peak time television but the only Farmers Store in this town of 70,000 people did not carry the Nespresso coffee machines.
On my way out I observed more madness, a couple were very interested in purchasing a set of garden furniture, yes a major sale in my book. The sales person showed them the product but displayed no sign of asking for an order. The couple were hot to trot, they asked to buy it.
“Oh but we do not have any”, was the answer the couple received from the sales person. The couple asked if the could buy the floor stock. “But we do not like to sell or floor stock” was the answer from the sales person. After hearing this I called out in a loud voice “A sales is a sale”.
The couple in unison said “we agree” and I then received the dirtiest look from the sales agent. At last the sales agent went off to see what she could do and as far as I could ascertain reluctantly agreed to sell the floor stock.
Why is it so hard to buy? Why is it a company would spend good money on nationwide television and not carry the advertised product in the store?
Well in my opinion it all comes down to training, staff must be properly trained, sales people must be aware of how to treat customers, what motivates them to make a purchase and above all, understand the difference between making a simple sale and making a major sale.
Things get worse in Nelson, wait until you read the next post. Coming soon.
In fact it is right here: More Christmas Madness
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPadContinue reading
One of the things that we get asked the most about at the Sales Management Mastery Academy, especially by those members that are in sales but want to get promoted into sales management and move their career forward and start managing and supervising other sales people is, “How do I actually get promoted?”
This is something that we do cover inside of the academy for our paid members.
I thought that it would be a great idea to do a show about it today because we have gotten many questions on it recently. A couple of interview requests online have asked the same question as well.
For the New Year of 2011, we wanted to give you 6 killer tips on how to get promoted into sales management if you are a sales person right now. If you are a sales manager now, this is something that you may want to advise your ambitious sales people on. One of the roles of a sales manager is to find out what their career goals are. You, as a sales manager has the unique opportunity to mentor and assist those sales people that have the potential leadership qualities that may be a good candidate for sales management or maybe some other position within the organization that you work for. So this applies to you as well.
6 Killer Tips to Get Promoted To Sales Management
The greatest sales people in the world don’t always become the greatest sales managers.
Just like the greatest baseball players don’t necessarily make the greatest coaches. Or maybe the greatest football players don’t necessarily become the best football coaches. Nonetheless, in order for you to get promoted, you do have to catch the eye of your superiors, in this case your sales manager, or your boss’s boss, or maybe the GM, or VP of sales.
The best way to do that as a sales person is to excel in the sales role. It is not necessarily a pre-requisite for great sales management, but it certainly puts you in a tremendous position to succeed. Anything that you can do to increase your effectiveness as a sales person, and continue to produce results consistently, year in and year out, quarter in and quarter out, whatever the timetable is for your organization, it will certainly get the higher ups in your organization to stand up and take notice and think, “hey maybe this is a person who potentially could move into management at some point in time. He certainly knows how to sell; maybe he could pass this on to the sales people in his charge once he gets promoted.”
Number 1 is to excel in your current sales role.
Volunteer and initiate
Someone told me these very early in my career; to take on new responsibilities. Do things that the average person just isn’t doing.
Maybe there is a sales meeting coming up and your sales manager is probably creating 4 or 5 different presentations, maybe he/she is looking for creative input on the agenda. The best thing to do is to approach him/her and ask if there is anything that you could do at the next sales meeting. Maybe doing a case study on one of your successful sales calls, or how to prospect, or maybe an in-depth discussion on a particular product and how you are using that to sell more effectively, or maybe something like a targeting strategy session that you spearhead, something like that. The first thing that I did when I wanted to become a sales manager in a very small organization is that I would always ask my sales manager what I could do. He said that he wanted me to do something on a ½ hour on something that I could make up. If you have a sales manager that is willing to let you do that, the obviously he trusts you and has faith in your judgment. I chose a topic called “Micro Opportunities: How to Make the Best of Your 2 Minute Sales Call”. I did it in about a half hour. It didn’t necessarily lead to my promotion, but it showed that I was ready to take on the additional responsibility and/or maybe a supervisory position.
Did that one initiation help me get promoted? It certainly didn’t hurt. Because I did well in that first presentation, and I prepared for it quite extensively, he gave me other opportunities to do other things in the organization that definitely led to my promotion. If you are a sales manager, encourage your people to do this, it will lighten your load at a sales meeting. Who doesn’t like another presentation done by somebody else?
But if you are a sales person looking to enhance your own visibility and put you in a position to be promoted, this can be a great tool.
Use your sales manager
This is something that a lot of people don’t do. Maybe they feel that their sales manager will take it in the wrong way, but it is important to tell your sales manager that you are ambitious and that you want to become a sales manager and move into the next role.
Ask them to be mentored. Talk to them about your goals and ask for honest feedback. Ask, “What do you think that I need to work on for better ability lead other sales people? What do you think that I should do?” Solicit their feedback.
Use your sales manager, they are in is in a position that you want to be in, so ask them quite frankly, “What do you think my areas of opportunities are? What do you think I need to work on?” Then, on the Monday call in ask, “Hey were there any challenging sales management problems this week? Can we talk about them without breaching confidentiality with the other sales reps? Maybe we can talk about them in a case-study format?”
Use your sales manager.
Get to know people within the organization
This isn’t brown nosing. This is just a good way of doing business. Get to know as many people as you can within the organization, especially your sales manager. Also get to understand them. Get to know your sales managers boss.
Then, what a lot of sales managers neglect, get to know the other sales managers in your organization. Use the regional sales meetings as an opportunity to chit chat with them at the bar. At a lot of organization, they use the input of other sales managers, not just the direct sales manager, but other sales managers and they ask “hey what do you think of this guy/gal for the sales promotion in Chicago?” Sales manager, not just your sales managers could have influence over your position; get to know them. This will certainly put you in a good position, so that you have credibility and character references. Obviously if you’ve done well in number 1, others will see that you’ve done well in your sales career, so why not give them this opportunity.
Get to know people in your organization.
This seems like an obvious topic, but a lot of sales managers and people forget about this. They think as soon as I get into the role, then I’ll figure out learn how to become a manager, but it is better to start getting educated first.
Figure out what your role and style are. Sometimes the best way to do this is to think of certain sales/management situations and think about how would I handle that if I were him/her? Think about what your style is. If you are very friendly, open, and gregarious, maybe then that is your sales style. If you are more serious, direct and to the point, maybe that is what your style is. Figure out what your style is and then pick up education, and take some classes.
Another idea is to join some paid membership sites as well, such as The Sales Management Mastery Academy; it is a good way to pick up ideas on motivating, leading and coaching people.
You can even use that as a reference in your interview saying, “I have taken all seven courses in the Sales Management Mastery Academy and this is how I am preparing myself”. Something like that is very effective.
There are hundreds of sites, and I encourage you to look at them all. This is certainly something that could prove very effective. You will show that you are serious and that you have done your homework if you have thought about how you would handle certain situations, and you have identified your sales management style.
Through the academy we talk about the practice being more of who you are and not some other management style because your sales people will see through that very quickly and you’ll become an ineffective sales leader as a result.
Visualize how you would handle future situations
If you do the education and then you start to think, you are talking to one of your cohorts, and they are explaining a challenge. Instead of giving them advice, think about; “How would I handle this situation if I were the sales manager? How would I like it to be handled?”
You may not know how your friend is motivated or how best to coach them, or how best they should be led, all of these things that you will learn, but you can start to think about how you would handle the situations, using some of the education that you have picked up, or using some of the books you have read, or using information from sites you have visited, or through bogs you have visited, so by visualizing how you would handle things, in advance of them happening, that is really how you are best prepared for them.
Granted once you become a sales manager, you are going to come in contact with situations and experiences that are new and that you have never encountered before, and every day you will see things that you have never seen before, but you can relate these experiences to other experiences that you have had. By visualizing things in advance it helps you prepare for situations that will occur once you are handed that opportunity to be promoted into sales management.
These are the times that try retailers’ souls. Unemployment is at a 14-year high, consumer confidence is at an all-time low, and the stock market has yet to mellow out. If you own a retail store, you’re not sure what sales numbers to expect this holiday season. Should the stronger-than-expected Black Friday sales give you hope that holiday goodwill could trump the much-vaunted bad economy and surprise savvy retailers with a healthy (if not spectacular) shopping season? Or will shoppers stay away from stores now that the Black Friday deals have come and gone?
Why not ignore all of this economic bad news, let your more positive way of thinking win out, and just say “no” to the recession?
I’ve been noticing lately that the restaurants I go to are still full of patrons. And when the ski shop in my town had its preseason sale, its parking lot was full. And a good friend of mine, a real estate broker, just told me she had one of her best months in three years. My point? People are still buying stuff, big and small. And it’s not like Christmas was cancelled this year, so people will keep on buying. It’s your job to make sure they are buying stuff from you.
In other words, you can no longer use the bad economy as an excuse for not doing well. In fact, overall retail sales are much better than recorded because of two simple reasons:
Retailers who have a successful holiday season will be the ones who simply tune out the bad news and do everything they can to keep their doors open.
Poor management puts stores out of business, not economic climates. Recessions reward the flexible and nimble. There is business out there to be had, and I believe sharp retailers can achieve great sales numbers now despite the economy. They need to adopt the attitude displayed by a store owner who recently posted in response to my weekly Q&A session, Retailer’s Advantage. He said, “We choose NOT to participate in the recession.” The more store owners who mimic his resolve the better.
To make the most of the slow economy, retail store owners should get back to the basics. Here are a few suggestions:
Bring them in with hot items. To get customers into your store this holiday season and after, you must offer them merchandise they simply can’t turn down. Stock your shelves with items that have the Wow Factor and thus send customers into an “I have to have that” or an “I must give that as a gift this year” buying frenzy. Once you’ve identified the “hot” items for the season, determine which ones are the best fit for your store. Then research which other stores in your area sell those products. If you can become the sole seller of a certain “hot” item in your area, you will be in great shape. Providing great merchandise that’s heavy on the “hot” items for a given period will be your trump card for surviving any recession. Don’t you forget it!
Make your store the place to get the best stuff. Too many retailers put price first and item second. Reverse it—always put the item first and the price second. But do remember, this doesn’t mean that you can stick your head in the sand about price. I was at the airport in Louisville recently, and as I was walking past the PGA store, I noticed they had a table out in front with some terrific buys. I was shocked when I saw a sweater I liked for only $9.99. I quickly tried it on and decided at that price I had to buy it. As I was checking out, a store employee suggested another sweater that was $39.99. And since I already had my wallet out I figured I might as well buy it too.
My point is that pretty much everyone has a hard time resisting a good sale. So, get in touch with your vendors and see what buys they’re offering for cheap these days. And don’t be afraid to do some negotiating if necessary. Many of your vendors will be willing to sell cheap because of the slow economy. By including items in your inventory that you’ve purchased from your vendors on the cheap, you’ll be able to tempt your customers to part with their cash.
Give them something to talk about. Strong businesses are built on word-of-mouth advertising. The kicker is that in order for word-of-mouth advertising to work, you have to get people talking about your store. A great way to do that is through creative promotions, eye-catching window displays, in-store contests, and of course, all that great merchandise. All of these things are what make you different from the competition and what make your store stand out in the eyes of your customers.
The holidays are a great opportunity to use promotional activities to excite your customers and generate enthusiastic word of mouth. For example, offer a discount on a certain weekend to anyone brave enough to come to your store dressed as a holiday-related personality or character. Or partner with a nearby bakery and offer delicious holiday treats for shoppers along with a coupon that gives a discount at the bakery to every customer who buys in your store that day.
Stay in front of your customers. If you don’t already ask your customers for contact information when they buy from you, now is the time to start. Simply following up with past customers to ask how they like an item they recently purchased, to inform them about an upcoming sale, or to offer them special discounts is a great way to capture the fruit closest to the ground during a tough economy. You’ll tempt them into coming in again and making a purchase without giving away the store.
The key to having your existing customers come back to your store lies in you and your salespeople mastering the Art of the Friendly Reminder. I have seen stores have huge increases just by requiring their employees to make follow-up phone calls to customers. For example, if a customer recently purchased new cookware from your store, have a sales associate follow up with her to see how she is enjoying it and let her know that you just received a great shipment of cooking utensils or cookbooks.
Introduce the discount-later sales technique. There is a relatively new promotional idea that is being adopted by many retailers with a great deal of success. Here’s how it works: A customer makes a purchase for a certain amount, let’s say it’s $105. Because she’s reached the sales mark of $100 or more, you, the store, give her a coupon for 15 or 20 percent off of her next purchase. The kicker is the coupon cannot be used the day of the initial sale and is valid for only the next six days.
These kinds of deals are proving to be very effective. They give customers a compelling reason to come back to you and come back soon, while that sweater or purse or espresso machine she thought about but didn’t buy is still fresh on her mind. In fact, studies show that the return rate on these discounts is over 70 percent. That is a pretty significant success rate that will help you bring in a bunch of customers who may not have come back at all.
Sell every person who walks through the door. Remember, it is your job to maximize every customer who walks through your doors. You might be rolling your eyes at the impossibility of that proposal, but these tough times require a change in attitude. And yes, you can do this without being too aggressive or pushy.
Keep in mind that if someone enters your store, the potential exists for him to buy simply because he is in your store. Take the time to train your sales associates on how to engage your shoppers without alienating them. Remind them that just selling one item to one customer is not good enough and that the store benefits the most when a customer buys multiple items. So, make sure the phrase “May I also show you our fill-in-the-blank?” becomes second nature to them.
I believe we are about to observe an unprecedented period of growth. But in order to take part in that growth, you have to be around to see it, and that means taking the right steps now. Block out the naysayers who say you can’t be successful in this economic climate and ignore your own negative thoughts. If you take on a positive attitude and stay focused on doing everything you can to please and impress your customers, you will weather the economic storm.
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About the Author:
Rick Segel, CSP, a seasoned retailer of 25 years, owned one of New England’s most successful independent women’s specialty stores. He is the marketing expert for Staples.com, a contributing writer for numerous national publications, and a founding member of the Retail Advisory Council for Johnson & Wales University. Rick is the director of retail training for the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. He is the creator of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts Awards of Excellence Program (RAMAEs) that has recognized over 50 of the most innovative retailers in the state.
Rick is currently serving on the Boards of Directors for five corporations and associations. After authoring and developing The Retail Technology Assessment Survey and The Retail Store Assessment Survey, online assessment applications designed for small- to medium-sized retailers, he created The Retailer’s Advantage, a membership website devoted to helping independent retailers improve their businesses.
CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) designation from the National Speakers Association, an elite rank held by only 7 percent of professional speakers. Rick is a past president of the New England Speakers Association, and he has been a featured speaker in 49 states, and on four continents, delivering over 1,900 presentations.
Rick has authored nine books, two training videos, and a six-hour audio program. Retail Business Kit For Dummies, published by Wiley, Inc., became the #1 selling retail how-to book in the United States in January 2002 and is now in its 2nd edition. Laugh & Get Rich: How to Profit from Humor in Any Business, published by Specific House, has been critically acclaimed as a must-read for its insightful outlook at our entertainment-based society and has been translated into Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. The Essential Online Solution: The Five Step Formula for Small Business Success, published by Wiley, Inc., is a primer for business owners on creating e-commerce success. He is also the author of Rick Segel’s Retail Inventory Control Solution: Open to Thrive and The 5,000 BEST Sale & Promotional Names & Ideas Ever Compiled and co-author of Retailing in the 21st Century. Most recently, he authored WOW Them Into Your Store: The Art and Science of Creating Powerful Promotions and Sensational Sales and Becoming the Vendor of Choice: The Secrets to Powerful Retail Relationships, both published by Specific House.
Rick also has tons of experience with the media and has appeared on TV, radio, and in many print articles. His down-to-earth, street-smart approach to business makes him a crowd pleaser wherever he goes.
About the Book:
Retail Business Kit For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (Wiley, September 2008, ISBN: 978-0-470-29330-0, $34.99) is available at bookstores nationwide and from all major online booksellers.Continue reading
The ability to sell products, or a product, is a skill that must be practiced and perfected. People, who sell retail, or telesales, must possess qualities that attract the attention of others. Verbal and written communication is crucial. If you are unable to express yourself to others, you should not enter into the sales profession.
Selling products is a growing, and economically developing industry. We purchase our products, such as computers,televisions, cell phones, and everything else from people who sell and promote the products to us. Whether we like to be sold products or not, it happens on a daily basis. Selling has become the fabric of our society, so the ability to sell products in stores, or on the phone, is becoming a desired occupation for many people. How can one better their selling abilities? Help is available for those who work in this growing profession. Let us examine some of the strategies one can use to improve their skills in selling products to consumers.
When you are working at your sales job, dress in business attire, and maintain your outward appearance and hygiene. You want people to like you, and attract their attention so you can try to sell them the product they are looking to buy. If you are selling a product over the phone, the same maintenance of appearance and hygiene apply. The reason is psychological. Ifyou are trying to sell a product over the phone to a customer,you will speak with a confident tone of voice, because you know you are dressed to act professionally. When you are a salesperson in a store, stand with a confident posture to emphasize your professional and clean appearance to those around you. Make eye contact with the customers to build their trust.Build a relationship with the customers by asking them what they need, how they are doing, and telling them some things about yourself. Explain how the product or products they are thinking about purchasing will benefit their lives. Politely suggest which product, or products to purchase. Explain how the suggested products will benefit them over the other product or products they wanted to buy. If they need time to decide, call them back when it is convenient for them, or leave them for ten minutes to browse and think in the store.
If the customer returns, or is willing to talk on the phone,address them by their first name to let them know you remember them. If the customer is still reluctant to purchase the product, or products, show that you understand, and offer them a free sample of another product, or a coupon for a discount off a popular product. If they have further inquiries, answer them with honesty, and sincerity in your facial expression, and tone of voice. If you don’t know how to answer the question, ask a co-worker, or manager to assist you in answering the question.This shows the customer, that you want to help him or her get the best service and benefits from the store, or Phone Company’s product.
If you succeed in getting a sale, or several sales, you should always ask your manager and colleagues what areas you should improve. Selling is a method of survival. Food, clothing, and everything else, is sold each day without notice, or question.It is important to note that those who sell the most are usually sociable, positive, and kind to others. Moreover, if you build relationships, keep a clean appearance, maintain persistence,and respect others, you may be the best salesperson the store,or Phone Company has hired.
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I have just visited the 2009 Malaysian AV Show. This year was rather refreshing as the constant TV and Media talk about recession was totally proven to be wrong in Malaysia.
Dick Tan the show organizer and (better known as the Colonel) was on top form and he had a far better turnout than in 2008.
There were tons of new products, plasma screens, LCD panels and many new high quality HIFI amplifiers.
The interesting thing for me was the new low cost video and data projectors available at great prices. A consumer now gets a real bargain in this growing technology compared to a few years ago.
My great friend KS Tan the owner of Mediaplex Sbn and (better known as The General) was also there and selling products like wildfire. KS is one of the best guys around in the AV business a really good salesman, good businessman and over all a real gentleman.
It is so good to be involved with people who are winners and believe 100% in double win relationships.
Kuala Lumpur is a cool city, great food and well worth a visit.Continue reading