Written By: Richard F. Libin
A concentrated and dedicated sales training program can often mean the difference between success and failure. When considering a training program, it is vitally important to include every employee, not only on the skills required for his or her job function, but also on the processes, philosophy, language and techniques unique to each business.
The old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” has never been more appropriate. The economy is recovering and growing and people are shopping more every day. Yet, many businesses, in an attempt to boost revenue and profits, are putting up roadblocks that drive these buyers directly to the competition. As our economy continues to transition, it’s more important than ever to train salespeople to make the buying experience as pleasant and exciting as possible.
Consumers today don’t simply walk into most stores on a whim, look around, and leave with larger purchases. Most take a thoughtful approach and choose the stores to visit much like they select a holiday destination. First they get organized. They determine what they need, want, and desire most in a product, whether it’s a new car or big screen TV or clothing. They look at different brands, typically on the Internet, and narrow the list to a few select choices. Next, they prepare for the trip, again typically using the Internet – they locate the stores nearby, find out if anyone they know has a recommendation, and select those they will visit, the day, time, and who in the family will go along. Finally, they take the trip and hope for a memorable experience.
When the customer arrives at their destination (store), the salesperson should greet them and then, much like a concierge or tour guide, help them through the sales process. The salesperson intimately knows the destination (store), has the ability to remove obstacles, manages the details and makes the trip enjoyable. Along the way, the salesperson finds out what the customer wants, helps him or her identify the products, shows it to them and lets them try it out, and congratulates the customer on his or her purchase.
Let’s look at a car dealership that has mastered the art of “destination” selling. Lifetime Kia is known as a dealership committed to making buying a car the ultimate experience for the entire family – for generations to come. From the valet parking at the front door to the shopping village filled with conveniences and charm reminiscent of an old-time European village. This environment is paired with extraordinary service (free oil changes and car washes to police and firemen, women, veterans, and even scrub-suited medical personnel regardless of the car’s brand), referring to customers as “friends,” and a staff trained in offering exceptional service.
This business understands that you can never afford to let anyone walk away or worse, prevent them from coming in the first place. They train every member of their team to follow a well-defined process that makes the buying experience enjoyable.
They key word here is training.
A concentrated and dedicated sales training program can often mean the difference between success and failure. When considering a training program, it is vitally important to include every employee, not only on the skills required for his or her job function, but also on the processes, philosophy, language and techniques unique to each business. Learning a new sales technique or honing existing practices can help salespeople gather information, remove obstacles, and close the sale.
Ongoing training programs can be tailored to the unique needs of the individual, the business, and changes in the industry, community, and economy, and include education, reinforcement, consulting and coaching. Training programs should employ methods that ensure teams understand and retain the information, and that they can easily and immediately apply it effectively. The result is increased sales, enhanced customer retention, and bottom line improvements. One session or a refresher course is not enough; it is important to provide all employees, both new hires and old hands, with ongoing development. The right training can separate the most successful business from the rest.
While training has always been a critical success factor for successful sales organizations, it’s more important now than ever before. Training will help managers and salespeople avoid creating obstacles and leave a positive experience for customers, which can contribute to a positive bottom line. Isn’t it time to prepare your team to succeed? In most cases, it’s not the customer that stops the sale, it’s the sales team.
Richard F. Libin
Richard F. Libin has written two acclaimed books that help people of all walks…
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