By Colin Wilson
With the festive season fast approaching and only 6 weeks to go before we reach 2017, it is vitally important that as a team, your staff are on their game plan, maximising every possible opportunity to ensure your business has a big finish for the year and the quarter.
Whether you consider yourself a sales person or not, if you speak to a customer then you must engage them and win them over. The lead up to Christmas becomes busy for everyone, and customers will make decisions based on the relationship you have cultivated with them, and the confidence they have in the product or service that has been presented to them. You and your staff must be 100% committed to closing off every opportunity by creating a sense of urgency and emphasising the value of your service/products (and, where necessary, value-adding in order to close the deal!)
Companies involved in Business to Business and Business to Consumer dealings should already be working off a strong pipeline of sales opportunities for a big finish to the year, to make up for losing a week’s trade in the last week of December. If your pipeline is currently low, then I suggest setting up a referral campaign NOW. Offer the referrers a gift or something back in return. You must always be working on lead generation for ongoing solid opportunities!
With Christmas trade commencing, retailers have every reason to excel. Your staff need to be challenged and know how to cross-sell and up-sell items to customers as they come in to browse or look for a particular gift. Even if a customer knows what they want, the sales process of engagement, education and communication continues in the way we approach and interact with all of our customers.
In weeks leading up to the New Year, you need to ensure you have bundled complementary products, offer incentives or value-add to other items. These are tried and true ways to entice your customers into making purchases. Remember – customers only know what you show and tell them, so your product knowledge needs to be top notch to offer outstanding customer service!
Some Tips on Closing Sales with Customers:
Trial and alternative closes are used to test the water and ideally receive confirmation from the customer that a sale can proceed. The customer needs to feel confident that they are making the right decision, and you need their opinion/confirmation before you take the next step. The types of closes you can use are soft, alternative, hard, assumptive and third party.
- A Soft Trial Close allows you to check whether the product or service you are offering meets the customer’s needs. Example of soft trial closes are as follows:
- Can you see yourself using this product/service?
- Is this what you’re looking for?
- Are you happy with what I have shown you so far?
- An Alternative Close involves checking with the customer to see whether they would like Product/Service A or Product/Service B. Some examples of Alternative Closes:
- Which one of these items do you prefer – A or B?
- Out of these two options I have presented, which one are you leaning towards – Option 1 of Option 2?
- Which day suits you best for delivery – Monday or Tuesday?
- A Hard Close is usually a direct question to find out whether or not the customer wants to buy a product or service. Hard closes are used to secure a commitment. Example of hard closes are as follows:
- Would you like to go ahead and place an order?
- Are you happy to proceed with this now?
- Do I have your approval to go ahead with this?
- Assumptive Closes – If the buying signals are there, then assume the sale is a go-ahead. You use assumptive closes when the customer utters things like ‘This is what I want, need or looking for’ during the sales process. Their body language is strong, there is excitement in their eyes or gestures as they are looking at or touching the product. Example of Assumptive closes are as follows:
- Let me take this to the counter for you.
- Let’s get this organised/processed for you!
- Based on what you have told me, I will book you in now!
- 3rd Party Close – If you’ve followed the correct sales process but none of the above methods have closed the deal, you can call in a 3rd party who has extensive product knowledge and the ability to win the customer’s approval – often the manager. It’s a win-win for all parties; you, the customer and the company!
Get your team prepared and clearly set out your expectations to gain that competitive advantage over the next 6 weeks. Good businesses perform well when everything is going in their favour, but Great businesses perform well under pressure – so create a goal and work towards a successful, profitable conclusion to 2016. Finish the year off strong and put yourself in a great position for 2017!
To learn more about how solid sales processes can increase profits, download our free 7-Step Sales Process Retail Business; 12-Step Sales Process Business to Business; or 11-Step Sales Process Business to Consumer.
Check out our upcoming workshops and training programs for 2017. Or contact Key Business Advisors on 1300 4 ADVICE for personalised assistance on how to maximise your sales opportunities.