Prepare to challenge conventional sales wisdom. Fancy tricks and gimmicks are not the key to becoming a successful salesperson. As a small business owner, these so-called “tricks” can even have the opposite effect on your clients. Let me share my personal journey in sales to shed some light on this.
I initially applied for a lube tech job at an automotive dealership, with bartending as my night gig. To my surprise, the hiring manager saw potential in me for sales, claiming the income potential was much higher. Despite my lack of sales knowledge, I embraced the opportunity. In my first month on the sales floor, I achieved the prestigious Salesperson of the Month title, earning an unimaginable check of over 10k. This experience challenged my preconceptions about sales.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: car sales. While many people hold negative perceptions, consider this: buying a car is the second-largest purchase for most individuals, involving significant time and consideration. It’s a unique product where people take pride in negotiating the lowest price possible. Furthermore, as a car salesperson, you must bridge the gap with customers who often approach the dealership with a negative mindset. This makes car sales one of the best training grounds for mastering the art of selling.
I quickly realized that customers didn’t walk into the dealership thrilled to interact with a salesperson. However, I believed that kindness begets kindness. So, I greeted every customer with a warm smile, treating them as valued guests rather than potential targets. I provided exceptional customer service throughout their buying journey and diligently followed up even after the sale. I went above and beyond, even coming in on my days off to assist clients. My sales approach focused on outstanding customer service and prompt response times. Not only were my sales impressive, but I also maintained perfect customer satisfaction scores, setting me apart from my colleagues.
Recognizing my potential, I was promoted to assistant internet director, where I learned the methods of that trade. With an unwavering focus on customer service, the manager and I believed that a failure to respond to an email within five minutes was unacceptable. This mindset led to an exceptional close ratio for the internet department. Subsequently, I became the youngest and fastest-promoted floor manager in the company’s history, which boasted 85 stores at the time. Later, I was recruited by Nissan and successfully built one of the largest internet departments in the country, achieving top closing ratios and customer service indices. This accomplishment even led to assisting eBay in setting up eBay Motors.
Why am I sharing this story? Firstly, I had no prior sales knowledge, but I excelled by providing excellent customer service and maintaining discipline in my responses and interactions. Secondly, I attended a costly course taught by a renowned sales guru, which actually made me worse at sales. Attempting to use the slick closing techniques and maneuvers taught in the course proved ineffective. This experience reinforced my belief that sales isn’t about tricks; it’s about genuine customer service and discipline.
In small business, you have the advantage of choosing a product you genuinely believe in and are passionate about. Focus on delivering exceptional customer service and creating remarkable experiences. Tricky closes may result in short-term gains, but building a base of satisfied customers who become loyal advocates is far more valuable. Remember, in small business, a sale is not just about the transaction but also about marketing a happy customer.
Small businesses often leave low-hanging fruit for the taking. Consider the simple things like promptly answering phone calls, following up with promised information, and providing enthusiastic and knowledgeable assistance. Find ways to create value and offer outstanding customer service without spending a fortune. For example, at our custom auto shops, we offered free loaner cars, a unique offering in the industry.
To ensure happy salespeople, not only should you offer competitive compensation, but also establish processes and provide value-adds that make their job easier. A great sales software that helps them keep client notes and provide personalized experiences can make a significant difference.
In conclusion, sales success is achieved through exceptional customer service and unwavering discipline. Choose a product you believe in, prioritize customer satisfaction, and create value-added experiences. By doing so, you’ll build a thriving small business without relying on flashy sales tricks.