Make Sales Support Organization-Wide

It's fine to informally encourage all your employees to generate more business, but nothing beats hard and fast training.

"Profit dial" set to high

Clerks, receptionists, repair technicians and delivery drivers are often in positions to spot opportunities that your sales staff might overlook.

Now, if you have a number of rookies on your sales staff, make sure you have enough veterans around to supervise and teach them two critical functions:

  1. Skillfully presenting the merchandise, and
  2. Closing the sales at just the right moment.

The idea is to educate them right away that it's not just a sale — it's a profit opportunity. So there must be enough staff available to close the deals. Your rookies will learn more, become better salespeople and stay with the company a lot longer if they see immediate results from their training.

But don't stop there. Schedule follow-up sessions where newcomers and veterans alike can review mistakes and improve sales techniques. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Does the newcomer understand the company's "customer profile?"
  • Did the rookie ask the right questions?
  • Did the team miss a chance to sell larger quantities or a more expensive item?
  • Did transactions result in referrals or new leads?

Once you get some answers, let the staff brainstorm. Both the vets and the rookies can — in a free environment — come up with ideas that benefit the sales process and your company. Sales (and profits) will pick up.

Keep in mind: Every dollar you spend on training should generate a high-multiple return for your bottom line.

Here are four key changes you can make to turn your entire staff into a sales support team:

  1. Reserve a portion of company-wide staff meetings to introduce new products and services. Give your staff an idea of the types of customers who might buy the items and why.
  2. Teach employees to chat with customers in ways that lead to increased sales. For example, customer service representatives can sell additional products or services based on customer queries - or even complaints. What's more, a smooth, professional response to a customer's problem can lead to a long, profitable relationship.
  3. Train your delivery team to ask customers a few pointed questions based on the items customers are receiving. Even shipping clerks can strike up brief, productive conversations when they contact customers to confirm the arrival of an order.
  4. Show staff members how to record customer responses on a standard form or checklist to give to the sales department. Consider awarding bonuses based on the profits from any resulting sales.

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