Sales just happen if you set up shop and have
a product. Right? No. Don't take your sales for granted. Even
if a certain amount of income comes almost automatically from
walk-in sales that seem to happen whether you do anything or not,
every business has the potential to increase its sales results.
By the way, you know walk-in has dropped precipitously. Right?
(And you've planned for it?)
Certainly you must match your product to your
customer. You do that by defining your core customer as I discussed
in a prior article. Creating increased sales is mostly science,
not art. Salespeople are supposed to have this skill when they
come to work for you, but not all of them possess it to the same
degree. As a business owner, you should never rely totally on
the skill level of salespeople who come into your organization.
Learn from every one of them. Investigate on your own the elusive
cause behind increased or decreased sales. Read everything you
can about how to generate sales. Talk to others in your industry.
Follow their advice wherever it may apply. Experiment and monitor
You increase sales first of all by monitoring
the actual numbers. How will you know something is working if
you don't have metrics against which to weigh your results? (Don't
forget how important metrics are, as discussed in a prior story.)
The production output of your sales staff is
directly related to their belief in you and your company. Give
them reason to believe in you. Ask them what you can do to help
them increase their sales. Provide them with ongoing sales training
as you can afford it. As a manager, you are the goal setter as
well. Set their goals realistically from the numbers you are monitoring
and ask them what they think their goal should be. Then, as they
reach those goals for you, reward them accordingly. When they
don't reach those goals, talk to them about why they think they
didn't. Maybe you weren't realistic. Maybe they didn't work hard
enough; maybe someone is not asking for the sale.
If you are directly involved in customer sales,
then you'll want to be aggressive on the floor or phone by learning
to ask for the sale. This is a key ingredient to increasing sales.
Never put your customer off for a future sale. Ask them if they
are going to pay by credit card or check. Ask them when they would
like to have their purchase delivered. Always ask "closing"
questions that can't be answered with a yes or no. How you do
it is up to you, but don't let them go without asking for the
Observing other businesses within the auto-recycling
industry as well as businesses in industries where we're the customers,
we see that too few salespeople actually ask for the sale.
What happens to a customer who walks away without
committing? Watch what happens to you. Given time to think about
it, you will likely talk yourself out of it. You will consider
other alternatives or reconsider the price. You may just decide
not to buy.
Make sure you and those on your staff are selling,
not just going through the motions of this vital part of growing
a successful business.
If your business has maintained a sustained period
of non-growth, chances are realistic that you and your employees
have fallen out of the habit of asking for the sale.