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Ten ways to make your staff more successful at selling

18 November 2002 by
Ten ways to make your staff more successful at selling

Not everyone is naturally gifted in selling, but there are a few tips and techniques you can adopt to improve your sales team's performance. Follow this advice and you should be able to turn the sales process into a more enjoyable and valuable experience for both customer and salesman.

1. Modelling New staff, when they are learning the job, will be looking to see how things are done. Their biggest influence will be you, the manager. Make sure you are the ideal role model.

2. Training Send your staff on training courses. Train them in the four sales techniques:

  • Suggestion selling
    This is where the customer hasn't made a request and the salesman takes the initiative and suggests a product. For example: "Why don't you try our new home-made pizza?"
  • Related selling
    Where the customer has made a request and the salesman offers an accompanying product. For example: "Would you like a salad with your sandwich?"
  • Alternative selling
    Where a customer has requested something that you can't provide and the salesman offers the nearest alternative. For example: "We don't have any rooms available at the weekend, but we have some in the week."
  • Selling up
    Where the customer has made a request, but the salesman offers something bigger and better. The alternative needs to have a real benefit to the customer. For example: "Can I suggest a bottle of water instead of glasses? It will be less expensive."

3. Daily sales opportunity Don't overload your staff with work. Give them one product a day to focus on, such as the dish of the day, and encourage them to suggest it to every customer.

4. Incentives
People are always motivated by achievement and recognition. Set team and individual targets and reward staff when they reach them.

5. Briefings and feedback Communicate with your staff. Don't assume they aren't interested. Set aside some time to tell them about the company's performance and achievements.

6. Product knowledge
No-one can sell confidently without knowing about what they are selling. Make sure staff know all the details. If they have seen or sampled the product, selling it will be much easier.

7. Internal customer care
Treat your staff as you would like them to treat your customers. Make sure they treat each other with the same courtesy.

8. Recognition and motivation Money is the inital motivation for working, but you need to make sure your staff are also motivated by good staff management. This can be achieved by:

  • giving responsibility
  • allocating tasks
  • specific praising
  • recognition
  • advancement and training
  • social events

9. Props You can make it easier for staff to make suggestions or recommendations to customers by having props such as specials boards, posters, displays and T-shirts with useful information on.

10. Sampling
Take your staff to other establishments and get them to look at their strengths and weaknesses. You can then discuss this in relation to you own business.

This is an edited version of an article taken from the British Institute of Innkeeping members' magazine.

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