Updated: Mar 3, 2019
The oldest profession in the world is sales. The second oldest profession is sales training. This makes one wonder, who trained the first sales person? Billions of dollars are spent every year in search of the magical sales unicorn that through training or motivation can turn moderate sales performers into super performers. Ironically, the art of selling is “natural behavior”, we humans are all born with the ability to sell and sell extremely well. For example, when you were growing up and wanted to use your parent’s car to take your date to the prom you simply did not walk in and demand the keys. Of course not, you put some thought into what you wanted, developed a plan and used your best methods and behavior to convince your parents. The odds of you getting the care depended on how successful you sold yourself and your intentions. On your first date, when you wanted a kiss after a night out, did you simply and abruptly steal the kiss and get punched or did you work your way into it, selling yourself and then when the time was right and mutual agreement you took your shot. That is selling and it starts very early.
What happens in most “Sales Training” is that we take something that is natural to human behavior and make it “Learned Behavior” which is not natural. Selling techniques, closes, and methods lectured on, written about and taught to a point that the “Learned Behavior” dominates our “Natural Behavior”. Companies and corporations are wasting time and revenue chasing the magical sales unicorn while overlooking what has proven successful since the beginning of time, our natural ability to sell.
Those of us fortunate to be in the service industry have a distinct advantage over those in the retail business. For example, as a consumer I may need to be persuaded (sold) that I need a 75” flat screen TV over a smaller less expensive 55” TV. Or a new expensive sports convertible would suit my needs better than a more practical family van. On the other hand, as a consumer and my waterline blow out in the basement or my toilet is completely clogged and spilling over or I have a raccoon in my house that has eaten my dog and chasing my four-year-old daughter around the bedroom I don’t need a “rainmaker” to produce that service sell.
The problem is that most service companies use retail sales trainers or methods to train their sales force. True the consumer has to take action to stop the leak and capture the raccoon, but they do not have to use your company, that is where conventional retail sales training actually becomes “unsell” training.
Service providers are not selling retail items, what I refer to as “wants” they are selling “needs”, something is broke, wrong or needed. However, despite the fact it is a need, it is not a given the sell will go to your company. More often than not, opportunities to sell essential service are lost for some very basic mistakes made by service providers with retail sales training.
Some common mistakes service providers make when trying to complete a service sell:
1- Do not assume that because it is a critical service or essential service the consumer is requesting assisting with that they will use your company.
2- Avoid “Motormouth”, do not sell your service, the existing need the consumer has will sell itself.
3- Listen, inspect, examine, evaluate but do NOT talk until you fully understand the issue and what it will take to correct or answer the consumers need(s)
4- Once you have fully evaluated and understand the problem offer a solution, a firm solution, ONE solution.
5- DO NOT give options.
6- DO NOT ask the consumer what they would want done. You are the expert, you pick the solution and explain what you will do to fulfil or correct the issue.
7- Do not throw a price out, explain what has to be done and shut up…..they will ask you “How much will this cost?” At that time provide the price as a matter of fact.
8- Do not ask if they want to purchase or take the service.
9- Do not attempt to “close” the “deal”
10- Simply tell them your next available date to correct the problem or deliver the service.
11- They will tell you at that time if the date is good or if they do not want the service or solution.
These are not tricks, actually there is much more to it, but in a nutshell this is a template that is simple, natural and effective. As a company you do not want Rainmaking Unicorns, you want simple hardworking problem solvers that maximizes opportunities. Is what it is……