- Author: Noah Rickun
- Subject Matter: Management
- Issue: Making the sale
I’m a pretty good salesman. One of my strengths is in knowing how to tip the odds in my favor. In other words, I will use every advantage to ensure that a prospect sees the value in doing business with us.
I’m also realistic. As good as I am, I’m not the best salesperson in the company. Our factory (and our people) are. When I can persuade a prospect to come visit us in Milwaukee, my job is very easy.
People walk through our facility and they are amazed at what they see. How do I know? Because they say things like, “Wow! It’s way bigger than I thought…” or, “This place is cleaner than any other facility we’ve visited…” or, “I’ve never seen a dyno like that before!”
Our prospects’ attitudes also change during the 30 minutes or so that they spend on the tour. They walk into our building a little apprehensive, a little hesitant, a little skeptical, just as you might feel if you were looking at a used car you were thinking about buying. But by the time they walk out of the tour, our prospects are in love.
At that point, all I have to do is ask for their first order. It’s amazing. In the field, my closing ratio is better than average, but here at our plant – well, that’s a different story. I’d bet that we’ve closed 90% or more over the years. That means that 90% of the visitors we’ve had will do business with us.
Understand that it’s not just the factory. It’s the people.
Several years ago, I visited a transmission-parts distributor in the-middle-of-nowhere Louisiana. It was an old, dirty building. The parking lot was gravel. Their delivery trucks were 20 years old. Their people, though, were unbelievable. Every single person in that warehouse smiled and said hello to me when I walked by. Some of them asked me questions like, “Where are you from?” and “How is your day going?” and “Would you like to see something really cool?”
I couldn’t believe how nice and how friendly everyone was. I left with a smile and decided to do business with them right away.
Imagine if every visitor that came through your doors got a smile or a hello or a wave from every employee. They’d be blown away! And they’d buy like crazy.
Sometimes you won’t know whether it’s a customer, a prospect, a vendor, a partner, a competitor, a delivery person or whatever. The reality is that it doesn’t matter. Treat everyone the same – like gold.
Here are a few tips to get you started, but you should do whatever feels natural to you:
- Say, “Hi!” “Hello!” “Hola!” or “Hey there!”
- Ask, “Would you like me to show you anything special?”
- Ask, “Where are you from?”
- Ask, “Can I help you find something?”
- Give them a thumbs-up or a peace sign
- Say “Welcome!”
I know this might sound silly. That’s OK. It might even feel silly when you first start doing it. That’s OK, too. Keep at it. In short order, you’ll love the reactions you get from your visitors. You’ll make them feel good and you’ll feel good, too.
A company is only as good as the people who work there. Ask your people to help you make the sale by putting their best foot (and greeting!) forward.
Noah Rickun, aka Captain Reman, is the vice president of sales & distribution at ETE Reman. An aftermarket veteran, Captain Reman is known for sharing his sales, business and customer-service knowledge weekly through the e-newsletter Reman U.