My wife Rhonda used to drive a small Mercedes-Benz C-Class. She loved that car, and even though it was six years old, it always looked showroom new.
Despite my explaining that there were more affordable options, Rhonda always took her car to the Mercedes-Benz dealership for maintenance. Why? She insisted on the care she received from her service adviser, Barbara.
Barbara and Rhonda's visits more closely reflected old friends catching up rather than routine customer interactions. Not only did my wife enjoyed going into the dealership and chatting with Barbara, but their relationship established trust that Rhonda's prized possession was always in good hands.
One day, Rhonda, noticeably pregnant at the time, went in to drop her car off for routine maintenance. When she went to pick it up in the afternoon, she saw it was parked in front of the dealership, which was unusual. She found Barbara to get the paperwork and pay, but to her surprise, Barbara said that the repairs were on the dealership – a gift for being a first-time mom. Barbara led my wife to the front door where her car was parked, explaining that the sales manager had her key and wanted to discuss her car. Rhonda knew something was up.
The Mercedes was parked next to a brand-new SUV. Barbara introduced Greg, the sales manager, who proceeded to show Rhonda the features of the larger vehicle. They had gone above and beyond, putting a stroller in the back of the SUV and even installing baby carrier bases in both vehicles. Cleverly, Greg had my wife transfer the baby carrier and stroller between the two vehicles to evaluate the difference. I'm sure you can guess what happened next: Rhonda drove home in her new SUV; we never saw the beloved Benz again.
The question here is, 'Who was the real salesperson?"
Sure, Greg showed off the features and benefits of the SUV. He was technically in the sales position and probably earned commission for the deal, but Barbara is the one who developed the relationship with my wife and facilitated the opportunity for the sale to occur. If it weren't for Barbara, my wife wouldn't have been open to a sales proposition at a routine maintenance appointment; in fact, without Barbara, Rhonda may have been getting her maintenance done at another location entirely.
Think about this in relation to your own business: Where are the sales happening? Are all of your employees establishing relationships with clients? Who manages the client relationships? How can you ensure that these interactions are positive?
It all starts with training. Here are two key tips to get your company on the right track:
1. Consider Each Employee a Part of Sales
Growing sales is a full-team sport; it cannot be left up to the people with "sales" in their title. Every interaction an employee has with a potential customer will impact the success of your sales efforts. Therefore, everyone should be trained on product knowledge and taught how to use that knowledge to inspire action.
2. Engage With Clients Holistically
The interpersonal relationship between my wife and Barbara played a key role in Rhonda's openness to the dealership's sales efforts. Employees should be trained in this as well. A gesture as small as remembering a client's birthday builds a level of trust that no amount of sales effort can replace.
Barbara's training equipped her to recognize someone having a life-changing event and create an intentional opportunity out of it. Would your team do that?