Make the Simple Sound Simple

For sales professionals, everywhere.
I have the good fortune of working with several tile showrooms. The process of buying and selling hard surfaces is a bit different from selling furniture and lighting, but not that different. They are still retail sales interactions and sales interactions involving designers or contractors…so more similar than different.
As happens in lighting, the more complicated the product, the more complicated the salespeople are apt to make the interaction and conversation – thinking they need to talk simpleon and on about the product, either to try to communicate its value at that price or to establish confidence with the buyer. In both cases, talking too much is just talking too much.
What occurred to me in a call last week was how salespeople can make simple sound simple. Let’s say the retail customer came in looking for tile for a backsplash. A single product and a permanent application, so the stakes might seem high, but they really aren’t. The salesperson could say something at the outset of the conversation, like: “Thanks for considering us…we do these projects every day..they are pretty simple and here’s what tends to happen. Do you have a measurement of the space and a sample of the countertop?” (if yes, great, continue. If no, say, “Good…we will find a couple of tiles you like and make this work”). To continue with HOW the process works: “Today, we will select a couple of tiles that you like, you will take them home and see how they look in the morning and at night and with your countertop, and before you leave we will schedule a time for you to come back. You will be able to confirm the measurements and which tile you prefer. When you come back, we can place the order. It’s simple and we like to keep it that way.”
Will this work exactly like this every time? No. Does it need to? No. What it will do is keep the simple simple…and not complicate what is not a complicated process. Try it and let me know what happens.
(And yes, I know that the salesperson can also sketch the space and change the countertop and the floor tile…that’s for another blog. 😉)
Now, go sell something.
Jody Smiling Photo copy

Don’t Leave them Hanging

For Sales Managers and Sales Coaches

It breaks my heart to hear a salesperson/ designer tell me that they spent 2 hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon with a customer/client and didn’t get either a sale or an appointment. BREAKS MY HEART. Then they feel frustrated, angry, that they are not a contributing member of the team, upset that they couldn’t get free to work with someone else, and helpless as they watched other salespeople sell LOTS of opportunities as they were STUCK with theirs.

Don’t let this happen. Don’t leave them hanging. man-hanging-from-cliff-325x325

On busy traffic days, their job is to Sell it today or to Schedule a time to meet the customer/client again if there is more to do than can be done on a busy day.  To make this happen, your antennae needs to be up and looking for specific actions and results.  You need to know how long each of your team members is working with their opportunities and when to insert yourself to check things out. You may need to break in and ask how things are going?…what have they selected?….do they need help in completing the transaction?…and listen to what happens. If you ask the salesperson if they’re okay, they might say Yes, thinking that they are getting it done today. But if they are still together 30 minutes later, something has come up or isn’t moving, so you will need to step in again. 

Your sales team is doing the best that they can at any point in time. In some cases, they don’t know what they don’t know, so they may think they have it covered, only to get in far deeper than they can manage. YOU need to know if they’re in trouble so that you can help them to close it today or to schedule it, walk the customer/client to the door, and have the salesperson/designer get back in rotation. 

When salespeople/designers get stuck, it is up the the SALES MANAGER to get them unstuck and back on track. If that means you need to sharpen YOUR selling skills so that you can do that, then sharpen your selling skills. Your team depends on you to do that. 

And if one of your salespeople tells me that they spent 2 hours on a Saturday or Sunday and didn’t get the sale or an appointment, I will be calling YOU.  With love in my heart, of course. :)

Now, go help them to sell something.




It’s not over ’til it’s over……

For sales/design and sales management professionals.
I had the excellent fortune to work with a new client last week in Houston: The Amish Craftsman. They have a 4000 square foot store of Amish/American made furniture in Arts and Crafts, Mission, Shaker styles and they do a wonderful job with customers, create great energy in the store, and are lovely people to be with.  We spent 2 days on sales training and when we wrapped up on the second day, there was still time to ‘practice’ and put into use what they has spent the last 16 hours learning and role playing.  So with direction and intentionality, we chose to call unsold quotes (made within the last 30 days) to reenergize them and either close them over the phone or set an appointment for them to come back in.  success-is-achieved-and-maintained-by-those-who-try-and-keep-trying
Ashley, who is fearless and adorable – a winning combination!, called 4 prospective clients with whom she had worked, sketched, selected and quoted product. They were good connections, nice size opportunities, and had already received a ‘thank you for coming in’ note from Ashley. The instruction was to DO what we practiced if the customer answered or to leave a message as we had pseudo-scripted if the customer didn’t pick up. She reached 3 and left a message for 1, who promptly called her back. In all 4 cases, none of them had purchased yet, all of them were pleasantly surprised to hear from her, welcomed her reaching out to them, and 2 of them scheduled an appointment right then to come back in within the next 2 days. The other 2 still had some thinking to do, so Ashley gave them some homework and set a time to call them back.  And the results were one of the 4 came in within 48 hours and bought….and it was a BIG sale!!
Moral of the story…neither Ashley nor the other sales associates have made it a habit to be in touch or to schedule appointments with the customers. It has been something missing from their repertoire, even though they are high producers and great customer relationship builders, and have LOTS of returning customers. The ability to control the communication and when the customer returns has been HUGE for them…and allows them to manage their time better, the customer can manage their time better, and the close comes quicker and smoother by making appointments and calling unsold quotes.
Go through your unsold quotes. What will it take to reenergize them? What is the motivating factor that will get them moving again? Pick up the phone and call them and ASK them to come back in… and schedule a time to be available that is low traffic for you and easy to arrange for them.
And then let me / us know what happens.
Don’t. Give. Up.
Now, go sell something.