The client’s journey begins long before they set foot in a retail store. They are talking with friends, researching products, and looking for testimonials, all before they determine which store to shop. What’s missing? The salesperson.
Most stores are having their salespeople sit around and wait for the client to come into the store. The customer is in command. This used to work but these days the customer is in control.
Why would you want your salesperson to sit around and wait when they can be influencing clients to come into the store? Why are they waiting for the customer to make the decision when they have the opportunity to influence their decision? Why not have them be proactive and go online connecting with the “potential customer?”
I know that many business owners are concerned about what their salespeople will say online. Will they insult the customer? Will they be unprofessional? What will be the outcome of their conversation? If this is your concern set some parameters.
But people still buy from people they like and trust. Technology has changed our lives, but it offers the opportunity to for the consumer and salesperson to build their relationship online. The salesperson had to wait until the consumer came into their store to get to know them. Now they have tremendous opportunities to build important relationships.
If your salespeople could connect with potential customers before they even walk through the door, you would have an advantage over everyone else in the business.
Google (check out this video) suggests to connect effectively, you must know who your customers are, where they are “hanging out” and what you’re going to say to them when you find them .
Who knows your customers better than your salespeople?
So it just comes down to what they’ll say. This is a matter of training and policy. Ignoring the potential pitfalls of online communication doesn’t make them go away,it just provides another challenge. A challenge that can be easily managed. Why not determine the parameters and dynamics of your salespeople’s conversation? Train them in how to market themselves and the business. This way you can humanize your marketing, and make your salespeople more attractive to new customers.
The internet is about building relationships; start building yours.
These days, a good salesperson has to be a good marketer – there are those of us who think marketing has replaced sales. They must also understand their customer and always be “customer service focused.” Connecting on line is “great” customer service.
Social media is not going away nor will customers decide to stop making the Internet their first stop in determining where to shop. The sooner you determine your online policies and how you’re going to have your salespeople connect, the quicker you will increase your customer base.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been doing sales and customer service training for over 20 years. She believes that technology is the key to doing business and salespeople need to be marking and connecting with customers before they come into your place of business. For training or a consultation on the “new selling,” Lisbeth can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.