Some people are better at selling than others but everyone can be a better salesperson. Here are some tips on how your pool, sauna or hot tub business can sell more.
Selling or marketing?
There is a fair amount of confusion on the difference between marketing and selling and whether one is more important than the other.
Marketing is everything you do to make your business known to its potential customers, andto be seen by them in a positive light. Marketing describes the whole path of taking a person who doesn’t know who you are or what you sell, and getting them to the point of being on the phone or standing in your showroom.
Selling is what happens next.
Selling is what you need to do to hear, ‘yes’, shake the hand and take the money.
Sometimes a business sees selling and marketing as two entirely different things and that can make life very hard.
The marketing activity produces leads, prospects and customers who have specific expectations and needs, the sales people need to be able to fulfil those expectations.
By the same token, the sales people are ‘at the coal face’. They know what customers want, they know how hard or easy it is to make a sale on any given product or service and they probably have a good idea of why that is.
The more sales and marketing are integrated together, the easier it is to take anyone along the journey from stranger to regular customer.
‘I’m not comfortable trying to get people to buy things.’
Some people say that they just don’t feel right trying to sell to people.
That can be a problem for wet leisure businesses because quite often it’s the service engineers who are in an ideal position to help grow the business. They have a relationship with the customer and they are seen as trustworthy and helpful. They are in exactly the right position to be cross selling or suggesting that a customer upgrades their equipment.
These opportunities can be missed because an engineer thinks that he or she was being ‘pushy’ or that it wasn’t their job.
Neither of these things is true. Suggesting something that will improve a customers enjoyment of their pool or spa, may even save them money, isn’t being pushy, it’s being helpful. And sales are everyone’s job.
‘So how do I go about selling?’
If you ever hear people talk about someone who they regard as a ‘top salesperson’ then they will often say that they were born to it, they are instinctive or ‘a natural’.
There is a good reason for that. It’s because, first and foremost, selling is about establishing a relationship. People make decisions emotionally and if they like you, they are more likely to buy from you.
Some people are just born charming.
The next thing that happens in the selling process is that they want to justify the decision to buy with facts, answers to their questions, and so it’s also important that they trust you and the answers that you give them.
Some people are just naturally ‘trustworthy’.
We all have these gifts to some degree so use them; and simply being pleasant and honest with customers is hardly being pushy, is it?
‘What about a few tips and pointers?’
1. Ask questions and listen to the answers. If you ask someone how you can help them, they’ll tell you. Ask them what amount of chemicals they got through last season and you can offer them a bulk discount on the same amount. Ask them how they are enjoying their pool and nine times out of ten they will mention something that they aren’t happy with as well. Is that a problem that you can help them solve?
2. The task isn’t to make a sale; the task is to make the customer happy. If you are trying hard to sell something then your focus is on you. Try and make the customer happy and your focus is on them. You’ll listen more than you speak and you’ll see things from their point of view. When you solve their problem – by selling them the right solution – you’ll both be happy, won’t you?
3. Find out what they know and what they don’t know. It’s about asking questions again. Is your customer familiar with the latest pump technology and how it can save them money? Do they know how using different chemicals might make their maintenance routine easier? If you can fill a knowledge gap then you are already helping them solve their problem. Aren’t you then close to selling to them?
4. Find out what they mean by what they say. Phrases like ‘good value’, ‘top quality’ and even the word ‘cheap’ mean different things to different people. Don’t assume that you know what your customer means when he or she uses words and phrases like that. Ask them.
5. Have patience. Don’t rush in with a, ‘So, are you going to buy it or what?’ While you are still talking to someone, you can still sell to them. The customer needs time to like you, trust you, want to buy from you and justify that decision to themselves. They’ll decide when they have done all that. Push for a quick answer and you’ll derail that train, and we don’t want to do that, do we?
6. Put the customer in charge. People who feel in control are more relaxed, more generous. They buy more. Rather than saying, ‘This is a great looking hot-tub,’ say, ‘This is a great looking hot-tub, isn’t it?’ If they agree then they are selling it to themselves. If they disagree, then find out why and perhaps you can point them to one that they’d prefer.
7. Follow up. For bigger sales, customers will often say, ‘Let me think about it.’ Well, assume that that is exactly what they mean by that phrase. It’s easy to assume that what they mean is, ‘no’. If you do that you have guaranteed that no sale is going to be made. Get their details and call them back in a week’s time and who knows?
8. Don’t talk the customer out of a done deal. Sometimes, when a customer says ‘yes’ it can come as a bit of a surprise and it is easy to respond by saying things that come across as ‘are you sure!’ You might think you are clarifying certain areas or issues but you aren’t, you are muddying the waters. When the sale is made, smile, shake hands and close the deal.
Don’t be afraid to sell; enjoy it.
A business that doesn’t make any sales won’t be in business for very long.
Making a sale can be rewarding in quite a few ways; there is the money, of course, but it can also be satisfying and good fun.
We hope that the ideas in this article are useful for you.
If you have any stories to tell or advice to give about your experiences of selling and sales techniques, then please add them in the comment box below.
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