Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Building Sales

A change of pace with a snow day has given me the time to go back through some notes and handouts from The WESTERN'S National Green Centre trade show.  At this year's trade show, there were quite a few educational programs including one on building sales by Bill Whaley, President of VegiBee, LLC. 

Though the program was intended for staff training for retail garden centers, his points are applicable to all of us in sales:

  • Work with your sales staff to build product knowledge and confidence in adding products during the sale.
  • Focus your staff on the customer, not the routine task.  Teach your employees to probe the customer for their needs, then build the sale.  Don't always sell the customer what they ask for.
  • Teach your associates not to cap the sale.  Do not predetermine the amount the customer can spend based on how they are dressed or what product that they want to buy. 
  • Focus on larger sizes.  Shift the product mix to larger sizes vs regular or smaller sizes. 
  • Focus on new products that give you an edge with your competition. 
  • Hire associates that like to sell, give excellent customer service and are motivated to achieving sales goals. 
On the Landscape Leadership site, Jeffrey Scott's article for landscape companies on increasing sales through creating emotional bonds and showing value, The Landscape Sales Superstar, is posted.  He has great ideas for taking the focus off of price with the result of increased sales.  I think his comment below is so true! 

"You can't close a sale until you learn about and address the doubts in your client's mind."

And, tracking results is a vital part of increasing sales according to both Bill Whaley and Jeffrey Scott.  The hard part is taking an honest look at what is working and not working.  It's much easier to find an excuse for why the sale didn't happen. 

Now, I'm going to find an excuse for not shoveling the driveway and have another cup of coffee instead. 

By Susan Mertz, Director Marketing, Loma Vista Nursery

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