Wednesday, 8 June 2011

6 touch points for Non Sales to press - Everybody's in Sales - or should be

Last Tuesday was one of those rare occasions when TACK International UK was running three different public programmes out of the same location.

Nowadays the paths of the trainers in the TACK community seldom cross except at Conferences.

My colleagues Philip Stanley, Myself and Leo Lourdes were all running Sales programmes of one description or other at De Vere’s West One centre in Portland Place, London opposite the BBC’s Broadcasting House.

The programme I was running was a Sales for non sales programme.

The need for such a programme is due to the least utilised resource of all in businesses. It is the wasted potential of every employee to sell for the company.

Until a Six Sigma-like philosophy is genuinely applied to Sales and Marketing to seek out these wasted opportunities and the huge cost of missed moments of opportunities for their businesses - they will continue to go in effect “ unaudited”.

In addition to a company’s sales force, every employee in the organisation directly or indirectly "sells" to its customers either positively or negatively in one some form or other.

Yet the question is I guess is “Do they recognize the importance of their contribution?”
(Brainstorming exercise from the KAYAK programme) to identify those Moments of Opportunity ( MOO!))

By effectively focusing everyone in the organisation on the craft of selling and servicing the customer, employees can learn how to increase company revenue and profitability.

Two questions should be considered regularly by management when analysing the current levels of selling potential waste.

1. What have you done to maximize employee effectiveness in interacting with your customers?
2. What more can be done?

Everyone should know how to sell, regardless of whether they are in a sales role or not.

In the current climate it is vital that all communication with customers achieves maximum return and client satisfaction.

So an understanding of the sales function and its process along with core skills for retaining customers through excellent service and intelligent questioning should be part of everybody’s daily work role.

So who are these “non Sales” sellers?

They are often those who do not feel totally comfortable in selling situations and need to maximise chances of getting more successful outcomes. Some even feel that they are not sure that they in a sense ‘should’ sell as that role is sales department’s responsibility.
They may be found in roles such as:-

Technical specialists who have risen through their specialist expertise, now required to sell, but lack the skill, motivation or mind-set to sell.
Account developers who need to bridge the gap between ‘trusted advisor’ and sales professional
Operational staff who have frequent client contact and need better skills to scope and advance potential business opportunities
Managers in the business with an extended new role around client-facing activities who lack sales confidence
‘C’ suite or board directors and partners who need to inspire and influence people internally and externally, who recognise that technical or specialist knowledge is not enough.
Newly qualified Graduates without sales skills experience.

The roles of the group I was working with at West One last Tuesday ranged from Purchasing in the Printed Circuit Board world, Business Support manager in a Training Company, an Apprentice who just successfully completed a four year programme in Galvanised Steel Security fencing business to a Sales Executive in the Funeral services industry.
Firstly we considered the breadth of all those moments of opportunities ( MOO) open to businesses.
These were identified as those touch points with customers which are made in face to face discussions, telephone discussions, emails, letters and casual meeting.

Here are six touch points to consider
1. Making a sale then seeking “Who else should we be speaking to/in contact with?
2. Creating an opening - acting as company ambassadors.
3. Generating a ‘cold’ enquiry - ever curious + ' a nose for a pound'
4. Maintaining customer loyalty against competition Protecting, Expanding and developing the business.
5. Creating and leaving a positive impression of your company which one person might mention to someone who does not know you - the "After you've gone" impression.
6. Obtain information which could benefit your business

Once we had mapped those moments of opportunity for our own specific businesses we then examined what was required to be customer focused – making good first impressions, building rapport and using the customer’s name.

All these are simple and effective ways to make the customer feel important and to create a personal bond.

We then considered the importance of winning a customer’s attention and maintaining their attention.
Then we refreshed our skills in questioning , listening and how we use our bodies in language.
(Sarah multi-tasking both 'playing' a 'hard-work' customer to Steve's questions and noting the types of questions he was asking!)

(Photo below - Alister and Dawn practicing their questioning skills during a KAYAK programme. Note Dawn's classy I pad with special pink cover!)

Following this exercise we then looked at those points in customer interaction where victory can be snatched from the jaws of defeat namely – handling and answering objections, resistance and complaints. Price, Bad past experience, resistance to change, ‘don’t fix it if it’s not broke’, loyalty etc.

Finally and most critically we thought through what daily checks we need to undertake to ensure that we keep in touch and inform customers what will happen. This of course applies to people inside your company as well as to the customer.

In effect we should all regularly ask ourselves the question:-

“What have YOU Sold today?”

For details of TACK’s Sales for non Sales programme

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