Is your business failing because your people are failing?
This is the real question for your business. Over the last 8 weeks, I have watched, participated, and heard from many other professional people how workers/salespeople across a very wide spectrum are failing miserably to make a sale.
And isn’t that the test of your business? How does that saying go? Nothing happens until someone sells something.
Well, I can attest that I have personally been involved in 3 major purchases (from $1500-$2500) over the last several weeks. I have friends involved in purchases from $5,000 to $400,000. And in every instance, the salespeople failed miserably to close a deal or create a relationship that might lead to another deal.
Sometimes it cost them a sale, sometimes we bought in spite of the poor handling by those employees.
In every situation either in person or on the phone, the person failed to ask for the sale or failed to ask the right questions to get to the sale.
It shouldn’t be complicated but it certainly tells how poorly most businesses train their people.
Are you training your people? Are you watching their techniques? Are you following up like they should be following up to ensure that every opportunity for a sale has created either success or failure? And by that I mean, their efforts are not still lingering in the ether-world waiting to be closed or never followed up.
An example of this; I found a specific kayak I really liked on-line. I researched it and did my due diligence. I finally called to see who had it in stock. No one. Not one dealer in Florida had this particular model in stock and after speaking to five dealerships, not one offered me any other craft, manufacturer, or model for comparison. No, we don’t have that. Won’t have it for another 5 or six weeks. Sorry.
I finally called one back and said, may I put a deposit on two of them so I can be first in line when they do come in. Certainly! I was told. And I invited them to send me an online invoice to pay my deposit.
This person never followed up with me to make sure I received their email, contract, proposition. Never called me to ensure I would be first on the list and make a personal connection so I would wait for his company to deliver the kayaks. And a week has gone by and I still have not heard from them.
In the meantime, someone I know asked me why I don’t look at others that are in-stock at local dealers.
I called a couple of locals back and one said, we have extremely limited supplies. Maybe in a couple of weeks. Didn’t try to find a way to connect with me, find out what I really wanted, find out how they could help me purchase a great kayak.
Another said we have a great selection. And was going to hang up.
I invited myself to go look at their store. And had to ask, during these difficult times of quarantine, what are your store hours. They had to look them up.
We drove there, looked over the kayaks. The salesperson never invited us to sit in them, or really offered us any ‘selling’ information, advice or motivation. Not one, ‘you would love this model’. More importantly, they never even asked what we were really looking for. What drew us into their store. How soon did we envision ourselves paddling one of these beauties?
I had to make the joke that if they would throw in cupholders we might take them today. Silence.
So we said, ok, thanks and walked away! Buyers in your store and no ability to close an $1800 sale.
We have friends, after a long long day of manual labor, sweat, and dirt he and his partner we set on buying a real leather made-in-America sofa. After many calls, they located a store and after he got off work they went to see and buy. As they walked into the store they were followed in by a woman dressed professionally (office apparel) and after greeting both parties and the salesperson immediately asked the professionally attired person what they were looking for. Spent significant time selling this person a $500 lamp before my friends looking for a $5000 sofa wandered out only to buy someplace else.
Another friend closed on a home just as we hit quarantine. $350,000 home and after 7 weeks has not heard or received one thing from the agent they bought the home from. Seven weeks without a personal connection, phone call, emails, snail mail!
So I ask again.. is your business failing because your people are failing? And you have to ask yourself, why are your people failing to close a lot more deals!
We create an entire culture based on ‘the Ask’ scenario. Ask a question, listen for the answer and if you are genuinely listening and not trying to ‘sell’ eventually you will hear the opening that you have been looking for and now you can give the question, ‘and if you found that, you would probably take advantage of that right now, wouldn’t you.’ (please notice the period and not a question mark).
I would love to know your recent stories from this article. Have you experienced exceptional service and follow-up from a sale? Have you found a lot of salespeople leave a whole lot sitting on the table? Have you seen salespeople who need more training in order to help their companies?
I am Steve Sapato and I look forward to reading your responses.