Columnists Bob Janet Sales Growth Expert: Going from a clerk to a SALES PROFESSIONAL

Sales Growth Expert: Going from a clerk to a SALES PROFESSIONAL

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The techniques that increase sales and profits

My wife, Jan, told me we needed a new porch swing, which meant I should go and buy one. Like a lot of guys I am not a good shopper. I like to go into a store, tell a sales professional what I want, buy it and leave.

I began my quest to get Jan a new porch swing by asking my next door neighbor, Henry, where I could find a summer item in the middle of January.  He told me he recently saw porch swings at Home Depot. Although I prefer never to shop the big boxes, I was in a hurry so I drove there, went in the store, over to the customer service counter and asked the clerk behind the counter, “Could you please show me your porch swings?” He replied,  “They are in aisle 12.” I told him he was behind the ‘customer NO SERVICE COUNTER’ and turned around and left the store.

My next stop was an independent Home Improvement Center.  I parked and went into the store.  I found they do not have a customer service counter.  They do not need one.  Everyone working there provides great customer service.  As I walked in the store a young man came up to me and said, “How can I help you?”

I said to this Sales Professional, “Yes, I am looking for a wooden porch swing.” He replied, “Follow me please.” He took me to the porch swings, and showed me the differences (the different value) between two different models.  I purchased our new porch swing.

There are two different types of people who sell products to customers: Clerks and Sales Professionals.

Clerk: The person behind the counter that directs customers,  rings up the sales and puts items in a bag for the customer.

Sales Professional: The person that increases sales by:

1. Helping the customer make buying decisions.

2. Asking the customer to make purchases.

3. Building a relationship that will bring the customer back time, after time, after time.

Since today’s buyer has many, many places to purchase the products we sell, the days of being successful by just standing behind the counter and bagging products (clerking) for our customers is over.

But the good news is... All we have to do to be successful Sales Professionals that will increase our sales and profits is to follow the # 1 Rule of Selling: The one who solves the customer’s problems, wants and needs the easiest for them will get the sale.

In my jewelry store my sales professionals made it easier, more enjoyable, more fun, more convenient for the buyer to buy our products and services than dealing with the competition. My customers enjoyed buying, giving me their money.  And we try always to be the highest price in the business.  Because when you give the customers outstanding services you do not have to sell at a lower price.

First we must be prepared to sell and service: A sales professional knows the inventory frontwards and backwards.  When a customer asks for a particular item or group of items the sales professional knows where they are in the store and all the add on items that can be sold along with what is being asked for.

Steps in going from a clerk to a Sales Professional:

1. Get out from behind the counter. Greet the customers as if each one is a millionaire looking for a business at which to spend all their money.  Roll out the red carpet.  Be excited that they are in your business.  Thank them for coming in.  Some of you are thinking this advice is right out of Selling 101.  Well, it is, because it works.  It worked for my grandfather in the ‘20s - ‘40s.  It worked for my father in the ‘40s – ‘70s. It’s worked for me in the ‘70s till now.  And it will help you increase your sales and profits.

2. Ask for the sale.

(A)  Asking for the sale starts right at the greeting.  I do not like to ask the customer, “Can I help you?” because I usually hear, “NO” or “Just looking.” Which is the same as “NO.”

To never allow the customer to say “NO” - Never ask a question they can answer with a “NO” - Instead give them choices.

Greet customers with a smile and ask them, “Are you here to look at our new ____?” Or,  “Are you interested in ____?”

For some people going from a clerk to a Sales Professional will be difficult at first, but it is just like learning to ride a bicycle.  At first you fall off, then you ride erratic and then, with practice, you learn and the ride is smooth.  Just like your sales presentation will become smooth with practice.

(B) After you have greeted your customer properly and gave them a choice you have a better idea of what they are looking for, but if you still get the old, “I am just looking,” that’s OK, because you have started one of the most important processes you can have with your customers.  You have started establishing and building a relationship.  Your customer now feels they can talk with you, ask you questions, and take your advice.  And we are going to take advantage of our relationship building to sell each customer more items every time they come into our store, call us, e-mail us, fax us or we contact them.

Now, this is simple.  When you see your customer looking at a particular item, or they mention it,  you simply mention add on items, accessories that they can purchase along with the item at which they are looking.

Bob Janet - Sales consultant/trainer, speaker, author of “Join The Profit Club” combines 40 plus years as owner/operator of professional, retail, manufacturing and service businesses with his unique teaching and storytelling ability to motivate, educate and inspire business professionals of all levels and all industries for increased sales & profits. Contact Bob at 704-882-6100, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
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