“I work in retail (electronics and mobile services). All of the employees in my position have a sales quota for getting a certain percentage of customers each month to sign up for our credit card. My sales are terrible. I’m dead last out of all the employees on my team. My manager has really been pushing me to close more sales, but I have no idea how to fix this. It’s not like I have a page full of leads that I can cold call. Either people come into the store or they don’t. I smile at them and I’m nice, but when I ask if they’d like to sign up for a card and they say no, I have nowhere to go from that. What can I do?”
This specific question was answered on a recent episode of Office Hours with some great general advice for anyone struggling or just starting out in sales.
First, recognize when people are on your side.
Realize that it’s more inconvenient for your manager to fire you, bring someone else in, train them, and bring them up to speed than for them to take someone who’s already there with a certain degree of trust and knowledge and help them make improvements. They want you to do well. Use that. Initiate discussions with your manager about your sales skills. This will not only be better for your internal brand if you’re the one who starts the conversation, but it will actually lead to professional growth.
Pay attention to what’s causing you to fail.
Make sure to take this out of the realm of the abstract. Things like ‘be more personable’ or ‘be more persistent’ sounds specific, but it’s hard to make improvements based off them.
Instead, start asking deeper questions. What specific vocabulary is the customer using? What is your current response to common phrases the customer uses? How does that need to be different?
Ask the people that are better than you what specific words they use. Why do they use them? Ask if you can shadow them and listen to the phrases they use in response to common objections.
If you already knew what you needed to do, you’d be doing it. Go find the people that are better than you, use your manager’s vested interest in seeing you succeed, and get those people to tell you their secrets to success. Then model them.
Start with your mindset.
Don’t look at sales as an obligation or a task you need to check off. When you look at it this way, you’re disconnected from what’s actually going on in the interaction. You’re cutting yourself off from looking at it through the eyes of the other person.
Start thinking about what you are selling. Ask questions. What is the product? Who is it for? Who would it be valuable to? Change the dynamic of the conversation from a “Hey, would you do me a favor and sign up for this credit card?” to something more like “Hey, here are the reasons I genuinely think this is a win-win situation. But if this isn’t valuable for you, no problem.”
To do well in sales, you don’t have to manipulate people or be dishonest or sleazy. People buy stuff when they perceive that they will benefit.
Focus on communicating the value to the other person and the sales will follow.