New Zealand companies have a big problem bubbling away under the surface.
If it's not addressed soon, it will put them out of business.
Has anyone been to a café recently and struggled to get the teams attention?
Tried to get a quote from a tradesperson, or got them to commit to a small job?
Gone into a store and had to ask for something a little out of the ordinary?
Love for the work you do is key to creating a successful career.
Whether you are just starting, a seasoned professional or a business owner. Passion is one of the most important traits for any role.
New Zealanders. If you love what you do, you have a damn funny way of showing it.
Now, I am not saying it’s everyone, there are some exceptional people in the service industry. However, it’s pretty clear sales people in New Zealand have lost their passion – or worse, never had it at all. Poor customer service is the standard in New Zealand, and unfortunately, I think it’s getting worse.
Almost 2 years of COVID uncertainty, reduced wages and hours, and a distinct lack of enthusiasm has impacted peoples passion and dedication for the companies they work for.
People management platform Employment Hero has released the findings of its Employee Movement and Retention Report, revealing 50 percent of New Zealand workers plan to look for a new role in the next year, with 39 percent planning to look in the next six months. 19 percent of workers are currently looking for a new role.
Let’s focus on those who are customer facing. Sales in New Zealand is a dirty word. Kiwis often don’t admit they are in sales because of the stigma – but I argue EVERY SINGLE JOB sells to someone.
If you don’t know who your customer is, then this is a
good time to stop and have a think about:
Who are you providing a service to?
Good sales are like oxygen.
Without it, businesses quickly suffocate and die.
It’s not the sleezy tactics that I am talking about, it’s the care and passion to match people with problems, to their solutions.
- Would you like another drink?
- Can I interest you in the dessert menu?
- Let me call the other store to see if they have it.
These questions all solve a problem.
They are not pushy or underhanded, they are maximising the revenue opportunities from the customers you have, rather than beating a drum to go out and find new customers.
Because, if you don’t treat the customers you already have well, its much harder to find more.
Here are my 5 tips for optimising your
sales team in any industry.
Know who your customer is
Every organisation has customers.
Your goal should be changing the mindset from service delivery to customer experience.
The key difference between customer service and customer experience is that customer experience involves the whole customer journey, including customer service.
Customer service is reactive. Limited to the interactions a customer has when seeking advice or assistance on a product or service.
The businesses who anticipate a customer’s need, who build relationships and provide collaborative spaces will not need to be reactive.
However, there is only one 100% effective method of getting to know your customers.
Learn to listen and be open to everything that you’ll hear.
Analyse and draw conclusions.
Turn off your computer, take a notebook and arrange meetings with a few customers.
Start listening, stay curious. Each piece of information about your idea is precious, especially negative feedback!
Spend some time on the floor
If you are a manager, it’s easy to get bombarded by email, strategy, and the day-to-day duties of running a business.
Schedule some time in your diary to be on the floor.
Whether that be 1 day a week, 2 hours every second day, or however much you can commit.
Firstly, it will show your team that you are as committed to the customers as they are.
But mostly you will start to see trends in your staff-customer interaction: things that work well, and opportunities for improvement (things that don’t).
Your time on the floor will also get your team to have more casual interactions to converse with you with suggestions and opportunities they need to be more successful every day.
As a benefit to you, it will give you energy to interact with customers, solve problems and spark new creative solutions being away from your computer screen for a while.
Would you like fries with that?
Consider your own business – how often do you simply accept a sale and not enquire if the client would like to also purchase something extra?
Statistics show that upselling, or suggestive selling, can increase revenue anywhere from 30-50%.
The obvious example is McDonald’s ‘would you like fries with that? – this simple question allows McDonalds to sell over 4 million kilograms of fries globally EVERY DAY!
But they don’t stop there. ‘Would you like to upsize that?’ increases the customers individual spend. By asking their customers for more, they boost the CLV (customer lifetime value) of the 69 million customers they have each day.
This type of selling doesn’t happen overnight, you need a plan for upselling and you need to communicate that plan to the whole team. Here are some suggestions on how to make an upsell work for you:
Make the suggestion after the customer has made a commitment to buy, but not after they have left the building.
Upsells should be related to the original purchase. (eg. a warranty, accessories, an upgrade or something else that adds value to what the customer is buying.) The customer is more likely to then see your suggestion as helpful as opposed to a sales ploy.
The add-on product should have a lesser cost than the original purchase.
Make it fun.
Let’s be honest with each other, sales isn’t necessarily fun for everyone.
Make it a game, incentivise it and cheer on your teammates.
Choose your goal, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Hospitality – a particular bottle of wine (maybe you over ordered?) keep a track of every bottle sold and by whom! Prizes for those who sell the most
Service industry – talk to 3 new potential clients each day, pick up the phone and ring a bell in the office every time you get a win.
General targets, both for new clients, old clients, total overall bill or invoice, quotes raised, trip advisor comments and online reviews, complaints resolved…
Whatever it is, choose a goal (just 1 or 2) and make sure there is something in it for the team to work towards the target. Make sure these are associated to a sales incentive.
The team needs to understand your WHY.
In the book, Starts with Why by Simon Sinek, he talks about how great leaders inspire those around them to take action and it all starts with WHY.
So, the big thing for your customer facing staff is understanding why you expect them to do what they do?
What is the purpose?
I will tell you now.
They don’t care about the company’s bottom line. Or your shareholders dividends.
You need to have a why that speaks to them. Don’t keep your company strategy a secret. If you want to expand, have great reviews, eventually build a franchise, or be the number 1 in your industry or city. Tell them. Help them understand the journey you are on. Let them be part of that success.
Every great customer experience, every smile on a face, every opportunity to solve a customer problem, getting thanks and praise, learning more, hitting targets and making revenue – will seem more connected to the big picture, if they know what that big picture is.
It inspires them to take that next phone call, to upsell, to ask for feedback, to clean up the sick in aisle 5, and to turn up again day after day with the same motivation and drive.
Overall, the apathy I see in sales people at the moment is due to COVID exhaustion.
Less staff, less certainty and limited opportunities for training and genuine team connection.
By investing time and energy into the 5 points above, you will help your team to feel inspired and passionate about their job. If you need any more help to build motivated, enthusiastic and passionate teams, check out some details here or contact us for more information!