Do you rely on your staff to define what customer service means and deliver the way they feel is right or do you practice, drill, and rehearse what they should do in order to create a scalable brand for your company?
For example, how often do your salespeople open an interaction with a new prospect at your store with...
Can I help you?"
You, and 99 out of 100 prospects reply with,
I'm just looking."
It's part self-defense and part habitual reaction. Just like when you're asked
How are you?"
And you say
Even if you just got out of a 12-day coma, are losing your home, ran over your dog as you were backing out of the driveway, and your 2-year old tried to flush your iPhone down the upstairs toilet and it went unnoticed for 47 minutes while the toilet continued to run you say "I'm fine."
We all follow scripts and routines. We can't help it. It's how our brains are literally wired.
To get to the truth with our prospects—and help them verbalize their own truths—we have to master these customer service skills, that start with recognizing and acknowledging this reality so we don't start each engagement in the hole.
- Look them in the eye and smile. This applies to video calls and face-to-face interactions. It doesn't have to be a big, cheesy, 16-year-old cheerleader smile with a hop and a spin, but do smile. You'll be surprised at how often and how far that shifts the mood in your favor.
- Don't give bullshit answers. If you don't know something, don't wing it and lie. We're looking for answers, not conversation, so shoot straight with your prospects.
- Ask questions they can't answer. I know this sounds crazy but if the prospect knows everything they need to know, they won't be in front of you, they'll be enjoying your competitor's product. You demonstrate your expertise by thinking of—and asking—questions they haven't even thought of. When you engage their brain and provide great solutions at a deeper level than they considered, they'll respect you and trust your recommendation.
Today you cannot afford to be mediocre in any part of your business.
In my book, "The Sales Whisperer® Way," I talk about roller coasters, safety chain dogs, and sales dogs.
Stay with me here for a moment...
The "clank, clank, clank" sound you hear on a roller coaster is made by a 1910 patented device known as a safety ratchet, or chain dog.
It's a simple piece of metal that locks into place as the roller coaster is pulled up the lift hill that prevents the cars from sliding backwards in case the lift chain breaks.
Likewise, in sales, you need to follow a sequential process that addresses each of the potential objections and removes them from ever coming up again to protect the integrity of the sale.
As you can tell, I have many skills, including computer rendering (not), but you get the point.
At the beginning of the sales process is what I call The B.E.T.R.™ Prospecting Program where BETR stands for:
In other words, to sell to humans, be human.
Why do you think boys and men spend so much time thinking of creative ways to ask their date to homecoming and prom and to marry them?
Those are important questions that set the tone for the relationship.
So is how you greet your prospect when them come into your place of work.
So instead of allowing your staff to shoot from the hip—which is the First Deadly Sin of Selling—give them a specific way to greet visitors both in person and on the phone such as:
- "Welcome. What brings you in today?"
- "Good morning. Are you looking for something for yourself or for a loved one?"
- "Hi. Have you seen our specials this week or did you have something else in mind?"
- "Hello. Would you like water, coffee or a soda while you look around?"
- "Hi, thank you for calling The Sales Whisperer. What would you like to buy that will help you persuade others to buy from you?"
Notice a couple of things here:
- All of the questions require the prospect to engage their brain.
- None can be answered with a brush off, canned response.
- All are open-ended, which is why they can't be brushed off with a "No" or "I'm just looking."
- All of them prevent all but the most hardened prospects from launching into their version of 20 Questions where they have done their research, are price shopping and want to pepper you to find your weak spot so they can hammer you on price or convince themselves that the online retailer that offers free shipping is their best option.
Building a business requires thought and effort.
Selling requires thought and effort.
However, the more effort you apply to thinking, the less effort you'll apply to following up, leaving voice mails, sending endless emails, demonstrating, quoting, discounting, negotiating, overcoming objections, discounting some more, issuing exchanges, processing returns and putting out fires after the sale including bad reviews on your site, on social media and all over the web.
If you could use a little shot in the arm check out the 30-Day Sales Growth Program. It's just what the whisperer warranted.
If you need more help growing your sales, check out the following resources scattered around this site and a few others I operate, such as: