Friday, December 19, 2008

How We Increased Our Sales By 770 In 12 Months

Writen by Bill James-Wallace

It may be great to travel around and make sales calls but many sales people work from an office. They rely on clients that come to them rather than them going out and getting clients. If you are in a busy area and there is an overflow of clients you are lucky. If not, times can be tough.

However, being busy doesn't necessarily mean you sell more.

Working as a sales manager in this style of environment, we built our team's effectiveness in the sales process. The solution to better sales scores, conversion rates and "up selling" did not lie in scientific formulae, expensive technology or hiring all knowing consultants – it lies in knowing what to do every time you talk with a client and setting yourself up right to make the most of those conversations.

The results spoke for themselves – better results, sales records and staff recognition.

Here are 10 points you might want to consider:

1. Clear your desk - so many people are natural hoarders. They keep everything hoping that one day it might be the key item that will solve their problems etc. In sales, simple & sparse is better. Get rid of every item that is not going to be used as a sales tool during the interview. Yes – everything! You don't have to bin it, just get it out of the office. It's clutter and it is distracting – not just to you but also to your clients.

2. Get the right tools – And have them handy all the time. Every form that you are going to need - make sure it's available. Have them in packs if that helps. Packs mean you can grab an envelope of forms knowing you have everything available in that envelope. Or have them in a filing cabinet in the order you'll need them. Then, before the client arrives, pull them all out and have them neatly on your desk.

3. Sales tools – does your company require you to up sell? Do you have the up sell brochures available for clients to read? If you have to leave the office during the interview, hand them a brochure to read as you leave. Posters of products in the office are also good to have. You can refer to then when talking about the product.

4. Clear the office – this is similar to clear the desk. Keep the office for "interviews only" as much as possible. Don't have your handbag or briefcase sitting open somewhere in the office. If you have to have it in there for security, keep it out of the way.

5. Always up sell – variety may be the spice of life but it may be a hindrance when you are trying to make the most of every sale. If you have a special deal on, offer it to everybody. If you have a product that goes with what the customer is asking about, offer it every time. Yes – every time.

6. Always let them talk first – when the interview begins, get them talking. Sales people break this rule more than the others. Allow the client to talk about what they want, why they want it, how they are going to use the product. You will find out so much more than just by asking "20 questions". Plus you get the added benefit of building rapport a lot easier.

7. Ask questions – if you need to know more you can always ask questions. There is no rule that you can't – just don't make it an interrogation. Plus you keep them talking which is a good thing!

8. Watch your body language – your body tells people so much about you. Even if you are letting them talk, if your body is saying "hurry up" they will and you won't get to know what you need to know. We counseled our team to physically sit back as though they had all the time in the world (which they didn't) to give the impression to the client it was okay to chat a bit. More information comes out and it is generally more valuable – make sure you take notes.

9. Put them at ease – ask any successful sales person and they'll tell you rapport is the key. The customer isn't always at ease when they arrive, so make a point every time to do things that will help them relax. Shake their hand, smile and make a little small talk. Offer them a glass of water (it used to be coffee but water is the 'drink de jour'!) Therefore this means have some glasses and a jug ready – for them!

10. Names – it's actually a part of a couple of other points but it deserves a point of its own. I got used to calling people "mate" and "buddy" until a colleague tersely stated: "I am NOT your buddy." I only needed to be told once. While such terms may seem friendly, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that beats using someone's name and using it correctly. Liam is not Leon, Phil is not Bill, Ken is not Keith! Amanda is not Mandy, Christine is not Chrissy and maybe Joanne is not Patricia!

I have purposely put these in no order of importance – they are all important. Add them to what you already do and I'd be surprised if your results didn't improve.

If you have any suggestions or things that you do that work for you to improve your results, I'd love to hear from you.

Bill James-Wallace helps his clients grow their business through better and more strategic customer relationships. Drawing on his 18 years experience in the financial industry as a Sales Manager and Manager of Training & Development, he helps business owners play on the same field as corporate entities.

Bill can be contacted at His blog-based website is

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