7 Changes that Will Make a Big Difference in Your Sales Process

7 Changes that Will Make a Big Difference in Your Sales Process

I am in Sales. I sell. I tend to scare people off because of this. People hear the word sales and their defenses get ready for battle. I understand this, so I prepare for it.

Selling a service can be challenging. I am saying to someone, “I can sell you this. It will work. Trust me, and give me money. I am selling magic beans. I mean they really are magic if you plant, water, and nurture them, but if you put them in a drawer expecting a beanstalk to grow in your bedroom, you will be highly disappointed.”

Over the years, I have been in several different capacities of sales, but no one ever taught me a process. Then I came to TrainerTainment and learned there was a process. My reaction was, “Wait. What? There is a method?” So, I dove in and began to learn. It takes practice. Sometimes, you won’t get the sale, but you will learn something every time. This week I want to share a few “magic beans” that will help make a difference in your sales process.

Prospecting

No, I am not talking about going out and looking for gold…well, maybe a little. In Mark Hunter’s book called High Profit Prospecting, he says 25% of a salesperson’s time should be spent prospecting, building a lead list, cold calling, visiting businesses, etc. A lot of salespeople don’t prospect. Some think they don’t have to. They have enough inbound business. Some don’t think they have time. Some say cold calling is dead. Whatever reason you have for not prospecting isn’t good enough. Start prospecting today!

Connecting

At Bowl Expo this year I requested an Uber to drive me to dinner. When he arrived, I hopped in and started talking. He was telling me he just graduated from college and was going into an insurance sales position. We chatted on our short ride and before I got out of the car, he asked me, “What would be your number one tip for someone going into sales?” Without hesitation, I said, “Connect. Connect with them on a personal level first, especially since you are selling insurance. They need to like and trust you. You must be authentic with them and put yourself in their shoes. How would you want to be treated? How will what you are selling help them? Ask yourself these questions before every customer encounter. People buy from people, especially people they like and trust.”

Listen

I attended the Outbound conference in Atlanta this year and one of the biggest things I learned was from Jeb Blount, author of Fanatical Prospecting. He said we need to shut up and listen. We are salespeople. We talk a lot and usually, we are good at talking, but many of us are not good at listening. You know what your product is, right? You know how people will benefit from your product, so you should tell them, and they will completely see what you are talking about and instantly want to buy 100 of them! No. Stop that. That will not work. Jeb Blount calls this “Pitch Slapping.” It makes me laugh every time I hear it, but that is what so many untrained salespeople do. Don’t “Pitch Slap.” After connecting with the client, ask some questions, and then after each one, shut up and listen! Let them tell you what they need, then sell them that. If you listen, they will tell you how your product will help them.

Repeat

Now that you know what the client needs, repeat what you heard. Beth Standlee, the owner of TrainerTainment and our fearless leader, has coached me in this many times. She will start with, “Thank you for sharing with me. What I heard was… I understand that…. and you feel like…. etc.” Repeating what your client said is so beneficial for you and your client. You have heard them and confirmed what they need. Now ask, “Is that correct? Is there anything else?” This is huge in the qualification process. It will reduce the number of objections you may have in closing.

Review

Now that you have a clear understanding of what the client needs, create a contract, agreement, or invoice, and present it. Do you ever email it and then sit back and wait? Maybe pray to the sales gods for it to come back signed, only for them to come back and ask questions or have objections. I did. I actually assumed they would have questions and waited for them, knowing I had the answers. I know. Seems silly, right? Schedule a specific time with the customer and review the agreement together. This meeting allows the client to get answers to any questions and gives you the opportunity to clear up any objections. You will also have another opportunity to explain the value and how what you are offering meets their needs. This tip alone will speed up your sales process enormously. It cuts down the response time and the customer will greatly appreciate it.

Follow Up

I don’t know one salesperson who hasn’t lost a sale because they didn’t follow up. I met a client at a trade show in 2017. They stopped by our booth and said I could call them after the show. I called. I emailed. I called again. I emailed again. I got a reply! I set a meeting and they stood me up. I emailed back, said I understood things come up, asked to reschedule. They did and we chatted. I found out what their needs were, repeated them, and set the time for a follow-up meeting. They stood me up again. I finally decided to send them a video where I briefly reviewed the proposal and said if they were at all intrigued, just call me. It had been about eight They called. I invited them to one of our conferences and long story longer; it paid off in a big way. Not only was this my biggest sale, but it has also been one I am most proud of. I consistently followed up. I was patient and, in the end, I know what I have sold this client meets their needs and will help their business grow! They sat in on a sales training session given by our amazing trainer, Janice Jokkel, and afterward came up to me and said, “That’s what you did to me. You reviewed the agreement, answered all our questions, and I signed it! It worked!” Not only do we train and coach this sales process, but we live it!

Ask For The Sale

I am not talking about waiting for the sale. Ask for it. Asking for the sale can be uncomfortable. It was for me at first. Then I realized people need to know what the next steps are. After you have reviewed the agreement, answered all the questions, and overcome all the objections, let them know the next steps. For example: “John, if there are no other questions regarding the agreement or what I have presented to you, here are the next steps. Please sign the agreement, return it with the method of payment, and we’ll get you started. How does that sound?” Most of the time they will say it sounds great and want to move forward. If the client needs to share with someone else or can’t do it right away, ask for a time you could expect it and let them know if you don’t hear from them by then, you will call them on a specific day at a specific time. Each time this has happened to me, I have received the agreement before the follow-up time. You want to sell your product. They need your product…. Ask them for the sale!

I am not inventing anything new. I am simply telling you what I have found that works. I have read a lot of sales books, attended conferences, and learned from the best. At the Outbound conference I attended, Mike Weinberg, author of one of my favorite sales books New Sales Simplified stated that none of what we were learning was new. It’s simply looking at it from another perspective.

I love to learn and intentional learning is one of our core values at TrainerTainment. We are always looking to learn new ideas, methods, and perspectives.

So back to those beans I mentioned early on… I just gave you a few. Will you plant them or stick them in the drawer and hope for the best? If you need help, call us.

Four School Events You Need To Book Now

Four School Events You Need To Book Now

It’s August which means administrators and students are heading back to school. In a few weeks our daytime traffic in the center will slow down and we will be looking for ways to fill the center mid-week.

Have you already created a plan to reach out to your schools and organizations? That’s a great way to help fill your mid-week slump. This week I wanted to give you four ideas about who you should be reaching out to and the events to book with them.

Educational Field Trips

Kids love field trips! I don’t know about your school district but for ours, it has become harder and harder to schedule field trips. The key thing they are looking for is an educational piece for their field trip.

Take a look at your center and see how you can provide that for them. If you have a bowling center, we have built out programs for math and science for you. Get creative! Use bowling as a fun way for them to do math problems, use an attraction to teach them about science, the kitchen is a great way to use math and nutrition.

Ask team members in your center their ideas of how your center can be an educational field trip destination.

End of Season Banquets

If you have an event space for a banquet, be sure and reach out to all the sports teams at your local high school and area sports leagues. Your high school teams are all looking for spaces that can hold a crowd, doesn’t kill their budget, and is family friendly. Get in now before the season over.

For your local sports teams, talk to the director and inquire about having the price of their banquet included in the registration costs. All teams have to do is schedule a time and purchase additional tickets for parents and siblings.

Teacher and Administrator Team Building and Meeting Space

We know that team building is such an important part of bringing a team together. Team building helps new team members integrate easier, everyone can better understand other’s strengths and weaknesses, it improves collaboration, and helps foster innovation and creativity. A lot of what our teachers teach our students, right?

Talk to principals and administrators about your team building activities and how you provide a unique team building experience. If you need help, get our Corporate Party Playbook – Play Therapy program that can help you get on track.

Don’t forget to let them know you have the space for meetings and events for their teams, too!

Fundraising

Schools and clubs are always looking for ways to fundraise for their school. Budgets are getting cut and money is tight, so they depend on fundraisers to help their organizations work. Talk with PTO/PTA presidents, booster clubs, student organizations, and other similar groups about hosting a fundraiser.

It doesn’t have to be hard. Let the organization select a date Monday – Thursday and for a two or three-hour window and donate a percentage of the sales to that organization. They will be grateful that you are a partner with them and will look to you the next time they want to plan an event.

We hope these tips help you organize your school outreach efforts. Don’t wait to call them. Start making appointments now for the school year.

Are You a “Reservationist” or a “Salesperson?”

Are You a “Reservationist” or a “Salesperson?”

Someone must sell group events and birthday parties. What’s going on at your center? Are you content with picking up the phone when it rings and giving information with the hope that someone will give you a deposit and hold their party at your facility? Or are you proactively selling?

It may be time to evaluate what you want from the business and what it might take to get there. It may be enough for you to simply take orders as they come in. For my money though, I’d much rather have a “sales team” that is focused on market segments, has the ability to upsell, and can turn a call into a sales situation rather than an order taken.

A Reservationist System

You might have a “reservationist” system if you:

• Have NO outbound calling strategy

• Have NO dedicated sales champion for group or birthday events

• ALLOW the customer to lead the call

• Have NO idea how many calls are coming in and how many of those calls result in a closed sale (close ratio)

A Sales System

You have a “sales system” when you:

• Have dedicated sales professionals who have quarterly sales goals that they are reaching

• Have a sales process that turns an incoming call into a booked event that is more than it might have been if you had just “taken the order”

• Have a strategy for creating new business through an outbound sales effort

Do you want more sales?

It’s tricky to understand how to make the investment in a true “salesperson.” You don’t know up front if the people you hire for sales are going to get the job done. Of course, this is true with any new hire, it’s just easier to measure with salespeople.

So what’s holding you back? Don’t you want to have more group events? Wouldn’t more birthday parties give you access to many new potential guests, which could result in many more group events and parties?

If you do decide to hire a group salesperson, be clear about your expectations. If you don’t know what to expect, ask someone in the industry. Check with locations who have big sales programs. See what information the trade associations provide. Call me, I’ve always got lots of ideas!

Ideally, for groups, we recommend spending time on adult/company party sales, youth groups, church groups, and fundraisers. If you have alcohol at your facility, we would recommend spending 40% of their new business development time on the adults, 30% of their time on kid groups, 20% of their time on church groups, and 10% of their time on developing fundraisers.

In addition to developing new business, we think that a strong “Past Party Reach” is essential to creating lasting relationships with prior parties and group events. You need a sales pro to make sure this effort is executed on a weekly basis. When you reach out consistently to past groups or parties, you are sure to grow your event base. Birthdays are year to year, but group events may come monthly or quarterly so learn about their habits of how often and how they choose where to have their events.

Listen, I’m not knocking a strong reservationist system. That may be enough for your center. I’ve certainly seen facilities that were so busy answering the phone and taking the order that it seemed like overkill to teach their people to sell. BUT, for me, I want to turn “would be” orders into full-blown, maximum-dollar events. I think it takes the same amount of time to take the reservation as it does to sell the event. In the long run, it’s my opinion that there’s a big difference in the amount and growth of sales when you employ sales champions and a sales system. So it’s worth it in my mind to hire, train, and reward a sales team member to create new business, turn existing orders into big up-sell events, reach out to past events, and to stay focused on growing groups and/or parties.

If you are ready to have sales people with a plan, schedule a growth call now and let us help.

 

 

This article was originally featured in the Party Professor, May 2017 RePlay Magazine.

Looking Good and Smelling Good

Looking Good and Smelling Good

We’ve all had seasons of our lives where we just wanted to “look good and smell good” to show others we’re doing great….even to the extent of a “fake it till you make it” kinda thing.

I wonder, is this the season our industry (location-based entertainment, fun centers) is currently going through due to a very healthy economic climate? It could be. We all love the outcomes of a healthy climate. We all love “looking good and smelling good.”

What this tends to lead to, however, is that because we look good and smell good, we sweep organizational issues under the rug for now…stuff ‘em in the trunk, out-of-sight-out-of-mind. We can do this because revenues are, in certain organizations, are at an all-time high. It could be that most of your guests are happy because there are so many more guests than usual coming through your door.

It makes me wonder if, when the bubble bursts, we will slip down a slope to the mire of an economic downturn or panic on Wall Street? Will the issues we swept away…things like the underperforming team members, undertrained sales staff, or no sales staff resulting in low or no outbound sales, high turnover on the front line due to lack of proper training and leadership training….rear their ugly heads?

The challenge is that these issues start to erode the wonderful windfall of increased revenue experienced before the burst. Even some of your rainy day revenue gets called upon when you can’t seem to keep the right people, or even find them, and suddenly guest service is at an all-time low because you haven’t invested in your most valuable asset, your people.

Here are some of the issues that came up the last time we had an economic downturn:

  • Not having the right people in the right seat doing the right thing
  • Deteriorated great guest service
  • Overall leadership issues
  • Zero or stale sales process in place to support sustained growth
  • Zero or stale training process in place to support sustained growth

Let’s work smart in the next two to five years to keep a lot more of your hard earned money with you by eradicating the issues related to hiring, training, and empowering of your people. Call me today to get started! 817.886.4840.

Do You Need a Sales Coach?

Do You Need a Sales Coach?

Maybe I should have titled this article “Why Use a Sales Coach.” Then I could have given you all the reasons why you should. However, I thought it better to ask you if you needed the help simply. My experience is that people are lousy at asking for help. For me, asking for help is an admission that I’m not all that and a bag of chips! I think ego and pride could easily be the enemy of greatness.

So I thought about how someone might answer the question above. Here’s what I came up with. Truthfully I’m more interested in the way you would complete the following sentence.

You might need a sales coach if:

  1. You don’t have all the sales you want or need to meet the company goals/quotas.
  2. You aren’t meeting your own financial goals.
  3. You don’t have a real sales leader in your life.
  4. You feel like you need more training.
  5. You feel like you need someone to hold you more accountable.
  6. You would like someone to encourage you, help you run new plays, and celebrate the fact that you win more than you have before with someone cheering you on to victory from the sidelines.

From a coach’s perspective, I’d like to address reason number 2 about why you might need a sales coach. It’s obvious that when you are in a sales position, you must meet the company goals or quotas to stay in that position. However, I think most salespeople who become superstars are focused not only on the company goals but are highly motivated by their own goals. Financial freedom creates personal freedom, and at the end of the day, I think most of us are interested in having a future that we feel like we can control. A successful sales career affords you this type of opportunity.

With personal and financial freedom in mind, I’d love to know how you ended up in your sales role; and wonder what you think selling is all about. In my mind, this profession is a great way to help others get what they want or need. Great salespeople understand that selling is about helping others. Jeffery Gitomer says no one likes to be sold, but everyone likes to buy.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could be on the selling side of the relationship and do it in such a way that inspires, excites, and makes others happy to exchange their hard earned dollars for your great product or service?  You would then be in a position to help others get what they want and in return you would have what you need too! This is a beautiful concept that I learned from the great sales mentor Zig Ziglar a long time ago and it stills serves me well today.

I have never felt like I had to talk anyone into anything. That’s not what sales are about. It’s also not JUST about taking orders or doing a good job with the orders that come in the door. Selling is about creating something for someone where nothing was before. Helping others have what they want or need matters. It matters to the buyer, and it should matter just as much to you as the seller.

Listen, I don’t know if you need a sales coach or not. I do know that often I need a kick in the butt to help me realize all that is possible for me and for those I serve. TrainerTainment is in the coaching business. Our sales teams perform at a high level. We can’t and don’t coach everyone. Everyone doesn’t need or want to be coached. However, if you are the kind of salesperson who sees that your superstardom is just within reach, but you aren’t quite there yet, then I hope you’ll call. Whether you are new to the sales role or have tons of sales experience, asking for a little help shows that you are looking for that financial freedom that is enjoyed by elite sales professionals.

Don’t wait. Scheule a growth call today.

The Leaders of Tomorrow are the Employees of Today!

The Leaders of Tomorrow are the Employees of Today!

Often I am told, “Wow! You have an amazing team of young adults who work for you.” When I decided to leap into entrepreneurship, my goal was to attract a team that loved kids and had a passion for delivering memorable experiences to our guests. Over the past 12 years, I have had the honor of coaching, mentoring, and employing hundreds of young adults who wanted a chance to prove they could make a difference.

Mold Them Into Great Employees

Too often we hear, “Oh, these teens! All they do is stay on their phones when they should be working.” Or “They just don’t have the work ethic we had.” What we need to do as leaders are make sure we hire and train the right people from the get-go and then mold them into great employees, helping them begin their journey into the workforce.

Start with Hiring

It’s a busy Saturday, and three of your party hosts didn’t show up. The snack bar staff has been plagued by the flu, and your best all-around employee just quit for a bigger and better opportunity. You’re in a panic and ready to hire the next person who walks in the door.

Does this sound like something that has happened to you?

Whether you are an existing center or opening up your first center, hosting a job fair and audition process will help you weed out candidates who may not be a good fit for your center.

Job Fair

As business owners, we should always be looking for the best candidates for our team. Hosting a job fair is a great way to get access to a vast pool of candidates. A job fair allows us to meet them in person to see if the candidate is the right person for your center.

Group Auditions

Why group auditions? The reality is traditional interviews don’t work as you will hear what you want – you’re desperate, they have the right answers, the candidate may be very good one-on-one but not with a group. Auditions are a great way to see your candidate’s personality. The audition should ignite their passion and enthusiasm and allow their talent and skill to show.

Providing Training

Statistics show if you provide training, your employees are more likely to be high performers and stay longer. Providing employee training is not only beneficial to the individual but also helps your business run efficiently. When you train, your employees have a better understanding of how they are expected to perform. However, it’s only one step in a long-term process.

Ongoing coaching and training are keys to performance management. Training allows us to see weaknesses and skill gaps, helps employees advance their skills, gives employees more incentive to learn and participate, and increases job satisfaction.

Recognition and Feedback

It’s human nature to want to receive recognition for contributions. As leaders, we should be giving feedback not just for recognition but also to help improve our team’s performance. Making sure we are giving regular performance assessments important in managing expectations as well as making sure our employees know how they are performing. We don’t want to forget to recognize a job well done. A fun way to give feedback is a recognition program that enables leaders, peers, and clients to acknowledge when someone has done a job well and allows everyone in your center to be involved with the growth of your business.

The Leaders of Tomorrow are the Employees of Today

Looking back over the years, I am proud of the foundation we have provided our team members. I receive text messages from past employees telling me they have landed an amazing position at Google or that they passed the bar exam and are now serving as a Summit Prosecutor protecting the children in the community. Others are moms and dads bringing their children in to play.

My passion is to mentor, train, and instill leadership skills into young adults. It is our responsibility as entrepreneurs to pass on the torch to the upcoming generation of tomorrow’s leaders!

If you want to grow your people and grow your business, start with the right people and give them a training program that works. Call us. We are here to help!

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