Building a Firm Foundation for Sales
Coach Your Team & Take Steps Today to Achieve Your Goals
By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment
I believe that making great sales is like anything else. If you are willing to work, you can win big. But, it’s not an easy game. If it were, everyone would do it. I think it’s easier to talk about what great sales aren’t. Let’s do that first and then I’ll give the you the basic plays you have to run every day to get the kind of results that make you a winner.
Sales isn’t email marketing or direct mail. Mark Hunter of “High Profit Prospecting” refers to that activity as “spraying and praying.” I think you can do those activities, but know that email and snail mail campaigns are NOT selling.
Sales isn’t dropping your stuff off at a prospect’s place of business. Sales is not passing out your business card at a networking function. Again, those are marketing type activities that create awareness, but it’s a process that focuses on you and not your buyer.
Hopefully you see where I’m going with this. Let’s move on to what selling is and talk about results…
Have you defined what winning at sales looks like or are you simply taking calls that come in? By the way, getting good at handling inbound calls is a positive thing! I’m always offended when someone says, “Oh, they’re just order takers.” Really? They may be a reservationist, but if they’re doing it right, there’s some upselling going on. And I promise if someone at your center isn’t “taking” the order, that guest is moving on to one of your competitors. They called you. They want to buy something. This is easy-peasy sales!
If you dig in and begin to define winning as a sales target/goal, then there is clarity about what the expectations are for the game.
If you are a multi-attraction facility, we think you should have a minimum of 10 percent birthday sales and 10 percent group sales in order to exist. Many times, a guest’s first visit to your center occurs because they were invited to an event.
If you want to get healthy, then 30 percent of total revenue could be the score you look for with regard to group and party sales. If you’re seeking superstar performance, then set your sights on 40 percent pre-booked business.
Listen, when you build a firm foundation you have to start with how you intend to keep score. Decide today. You may be thinking, “Beth, we only had 8 percent last year, how do we make that leap?” Start here. Decide now what you want. I promise whatever you focus on is what you will do.
When you give something priority, you can succeed. I don’t mean to simply cheerlead you into success, but you do have to define the finish line in order to know if you’ve won.
The next big step is to assign a champion. Someone needs to “own” birthday sales in your business and someone needs to “own” the group sales goal. Depending on the size of your business and your goals, there may be several people who participate in the selling, but a single person needs to champion the effort! If you intend to win the game, someone has to play the position on the field.
Coach-train your champions. Teach them the plays you want them to run in order to win the game. If you are a fan of this column you know that I think there is a specific sales process that goes something like this:
• Prospect for new business
• Connect with everyone
• Qualify each guest or potential guest’s needs
• Purpose a solution, and finally,
• Close the deal (ask for the order).
People need to be taught to sell well. Just because you’re great at guest service or you connect well with others doesn’t mean you know how to sell. If you want your champions to be more than order takers, they’ll need to be students of sales.
Create Systems of Accountability
Once your team is formed, the strategy is set and the proper training has been provided, you now need to keep the stats. I find that the sales department is the easiest place in business to determine if you are winning or losing. There are specific activities that create sales results. The key metrics are:
1. How many people are you attempting to talk with each week.
2. Of those attempts how many meaningful conversations are you having. Meaningful conversations are defined as, “a real conversation that has a next step.”
3. Of those meaningful conversations, who did you book? What’s your closing ratio? How much did you sell? In simple terms, we look at proposed business and closed business and set goals for both measurements.
4. We also think pipeline and forecast are direct measurable results that predict the future of the sales team’s ability to win!
We set up these systems of accountability on a quarterly basis and reevaluate and reset the game every 13 weeks.
Expect and Insist on Performance
Celebrate the wins and provide support and encourage when there’s defeat. It’s hard to win every day and even every week. Listen to the challenge, practice (provide role play opportunities) and demand that each team member play the game every day.
Resist pulling your sales team into the game of operations. You diminish your return on investment any time a sales team member is doing anything other than playing their position in the game of sales.
I hope you are recruiting superstars for your sales team. Every season is a good season for sales. You’ve got to have the right players, in the right positions, making the right play all the time!
And listen, if you don’t know if you have a good enough coach for your sales team, I know this wonderful training company that would love to get in the game with you!
Party on friends!
Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at www.trainertainment.com.