Q I’m a former sales rep who used to a business-to-business (B2B) selling environment. As the owner of a new retail franchise, how should I adjust my approach to sales?
Start by making sure you acknowledge every customer shortly after they enter your store with a warm, friendly greeting. Most retail employees do not want to appear pushy and wait too long to greet new customers.
Next, ask them a few questions to find out what they are looking for or why they visited your store (this is the discovery process in the B2B world). Engage them in a conversation and get them talking. Most people will tell you anything you need to know as long as you ask the right questions.
Then, make suggestions based on their answers. Don’t be afraid to up-sell and ask for the sale. Most retailers fail to do this and miss valuable sales opportunities.
Q I operate my franchise in an area hit hard by the recent economic downturn. How should I change my sales approach to accommodate this?
Here are four things you can do:
- Capitalize on every sales opportunity that comes your way. If someone contacts you directly, make sure you get a name and telephone number, so you can follow up later.
- Follow up. Too many salespeople fail to follow up after someone has expressed interest in their product or been provided a quote. Remember to use all the tools at your disposal, including e-mail and phone calls.
- Network frequently and strategically. Attend networking events where your target market will be and try to develop a strong relationship with the people you meet. Look for ways to help them improve their business, instead of only focusing on your sale.
- Prospect more aggressively. You need to work as hard as possible to generate more sales leads. Use most of your waking hours to look for potential clients. Develop a strong opening (both over the phone and face-to-face) to capture your prospect’s attention.