Have you ever wondered how you could better
systemize your retail sales
business?

Most large sales forces use a system known as a “Linked Sequential Sales Process.” Major corporations have spent millions of dollars in research money testing this process. Here’s how it works: The sales person calls on her prospect or customer base consistently, evaluates where each prospect or customer is in the sales process, and uses effective strategies to move each customer or prospect up the scale:

 

#1: Prospect is barely taking notice of my products/services or me. She doesn’t see the value at this time, but is willing to allow me to present my products/services at a convenient time.

#2: Prospect or customer
is interested in my products/
services, but has not purchased at this time. I need to demonstrate more benefits before this prospect turns into a customer. This sale could go either way, depending on my ability to present my products or services, and according to the needs and wants of the prospect.

#3: Prospect has become a customer and is currently using my products/services on a no-risk, money-back-guarantee basis.

#4: Customer is currently using a number of my products/services and is satisfied with the results she is receiving. The customer is on autoship and open to my presentation of new products and services. This customer has a strong level of trust in me as a salesperson, and in my product/service line.

#5: Customer has become a “Raving Fan” of our company’s products/services and of me, and gives me referrals on a regular basis. We have established a very high level of trust. This customer is on autoship and is regularly increasing his/her monthly order.

 

Using this process effectively takes discipline: you must keep good records of every conversation with every customer, and consistently assign a number to each customer after every call. Using this rating process, you will know where to spend the majority of your sales time.

Professional sales people use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software program to keep accurate records. Well-known versions you’ll find at your local office supply store include Maximizer, ACT and Goldmine. My favorite for network marketers is Networking Office (available free through Networking Times), because it is fully customized for the networking profession. Remember, your group will follow your lead—so forget the endless paper trail and start using technology to grow your sales.

 

Invest Your Time

Once you have your CRM in place, begin the 1–5 rating process for each retail customer. Make notes of any details or presentation changes you believe will help move each customer further along on the scale. What could you do differently? Could you take a more progressive approach, such as starting an e-mail marketing campaign to inform your prospect/customer of new offerings, as opposed to interrupting them with telephone calls? How about offering your prospect/customer a free product or gift for answering a few survey questions about what they like and don’t like about your product/service line?

We’ve done such surveys at Gove-Siebold Group for years and found the magic number of questions to be seven. That’s enough questions to get vital information from the customer, yet few enough so that the customer won’t feel you’re abusing her time. Here are a few sample questions to include in your survey:

 

#1: On a scale of one to
five, with five being the best, how would you rate our products/services as compared
to our competition in the
marketplace?

#2: How could we improve our products/services?

#3: How often would you like to be contacted regarding new product/service offerings?

#4: How would you like to be contacted about new products/service offerings? (Telephone, regular mail, e-mail, fax, in person, etc.)

#5: Are you confident and satisfied enough with our products/service to refer us to your friends, family, and associates?

 

You can conduct this survey either by phone, face to face, or through e-mail. Gove-Siebold Group has done all three and found that people are much more forthcoming over an e-mail or Internet survey.

Large organizations and companies are always surveying their customer base. It’s the cheapest and most effective research you can do. Plan to formally survey your customers once or twice a year, but also get in the habit of asking these sorts of questions of your customers whenever you can. Your customers will not only tell you what they want to buy—they will also tell you how they like to be sold.

The information you can glean from this type of survey will tell you exactly how to approach each customer. Once you’ve established where each and every customer currently falls on the 1–5 scale, you can budget your sales time accordingly. Since it takes much more time and money to sell a new customer than it does to upsell an existing customer, I would recommend the following breakdown:

Invest 80 percent of your time with your #4 and #5 customers. Find ways to increase the average sales numbers as well as the frequency of their purchases. Spend the rest of this time asking for and calling on their referrals.

Invest the remaining 20% of your time on the # 1, 2, and 3 customers. Seek to get the #3’s to become #4’s, and the #1’s and #2’s to give your products and services a try. It’s critical to the health of your business to continue to get new customers so you don’t become over-reliant on your existing customers.

Follow this system, teach it to your downline leaders—and your volume problems will virtually disappear.

 

 

Dawn Siebold

is co-founder of the Gove-Siebold Group (www.gove-siebold.com), a training organization that helps
networkers develop world-class
communication skills.