(First of two parts)
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
“If 10 people walk into your store, how many buy?”
“If I’m personally doing the sale, it’s probably six or seven out of 10,” he replied. “But for the rest of my team, it’s probably three or four out of 10.”
I run into this issue fairly often when working with flooring store owners. The owners have closed-sale averages that are significantly higher than that of their sales team. Let’s explore why this happens and how you can increase your team’s closed-sale average so it’s as good (or better) than yours.
Repeat and referral business
If a dealer has been in business for five years or more, it’s likely a significant portion of his/her revenue comes from repeat and referral business. When customers buy again, they may ask to work with the owner. This repeat and referral business automatically gives the owner a higher closed-sale average.
You need to duplicate this situation for the rest of your sales team. If they have more walk-ins who are repeat and referred customers, their closed-sale average will also increase automatically, with zero extra training.
The two best ways to do this are: 1) Directly marketing at least once a month to your past customers using the 90/10 formula; and 2) Developing referral relationships with aligned businesses such as realtors, designers and remodelers.
Another reason owners often have a higher closed-sale average than their salespeople is because they are simply better at it. You need to transfer these valuable sales skills to your salespeople. That’s where weekly training sessions come in.
The national average for closed sales is about three out of 10 walk-ins. Most dealers can dramatically increase their revenue by simply converting more of those existing door swings into sales. If you improve your overall close ratio from three out of 10 to four out of 10, you’ve just increased your gross revenue by 33% without spending a dime in advertising.
So, how do you generate that increase? First, as stated earlier, you can use proper marketing to attract more repeat and referred business. Second, you can implement a regular training program for your sales team.
It surprises me how many dealers have not instituted a weekly, one-hour sales team training. It’s madness to spend $50,000 or $100,000 or more per year on advertising but neglect training your team in order to maximize how many of those expensive walk-ins actually buy from you.
There are three elements you need to have in place in order to maximize your team’s selling skills. First, you need to equip your team with a step-by-step, proven selling system. Second, you need to train them how to use the tools. Tony Robbins says repetition is the mother of skill. This is what makes a weekly sales training so important. This gives you the opportunity to drill your team on the skill of selling over and over again. Third, you need to hold them accountable to follow your system—to use the tools as you’ve trained them to do. All three of these elements can be accomplished in a weekly, one-hour sales team training.
In the next installment, I’ll cover strategies for holding effective trainings.
Jim is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, get higher margins and work the hours they choose. For more information, visit flooringsuccesssystems.com.