How important is for a sales person to be pro active?
How important is for a sales person to have product knowledge?
With the ever changing market environment, the life of a sales person is not as easy as it was a decade ago. Competition is extremely stiff and sales person may be forced to achieve a quarter’s target in a month’s time. Sales people are hardly given training on product portfolio, upsell and cross sell techniques.
During my short stint with Microsoft, I heard this in almost every training session
Those who learn on their own, succeed in sales. Those who cannot, we will teach them.
Every organization has a challenging time in training sales people. The cost and time require to train the sales force before putting them on the real platform to fly, is really high. This may be because of the high employee attrition rate; organizations are really backing out from investing time and money in training sales techniques and providing product knowledge. But if we look at the other side of the coin, because of the lack of proper product knowledge and sales techniques, sales force fails to provide result to the organization and finally they find themselves out of organization.
Recently I visited the newly opened a multibrand mall near to my residence. I approached one sales staff member and asked for a hat for my wife. After inquiring from almost 4 of his team mates, he came and said, sorry sir, we do not have hats. After few minutes, on the same floor, I found the hat section and bought one. I went up to the same sales guy and informed him about the same. “Sorry sir”, was the reply I got from him.
Next we went to look for some footwear for myself. I picked few of the good pieces and asked for the features of the same from the persons who was the in charge for the counter. Sorry sir, I do not have much of idea; was the reply of the sales person.
We went on to try some T-shirts for my wife. My wife picked few of the good ones for trial and I asked the lady in charge over there; “Could you please suggest some good pair of jeans matching these T-Shirts”. “Here is the collection; you can select whichever you like”. This time I said “Sorry Mam” and handed over all the T-shirts picked up by my wife and walked out of the mall. I only bought the hat, which I found and selected on my own.
Let’s calculate the revenue loss here
- First sales person must have lost some revenue because of lack of product portfolio knowledge
- Second sales person would have sold me a pair of shoes, if he would have known the difference between two pairs of new series of woodland shoes
- Third lady would have sold a couple of T-shirts and jeans, if she would have been proactive in suggesting few pairs of jeans to us.
Above mentioned loss is just from one customer. Avg weekly footfall of the mall is around 50K. The expected amount of loss of revenue is definitely less than the training cost. Such a customer experience is not just a loss of one time revenue but a customer takes a bad image in its mind and that loss is a big loss.
Today’s market is not easy. Customers wisely now shop around and research before deciding to spend a single penny. A well groomed and smart sales person can really help not only customers in buying but also increase revenue, customer satisfaction and the brand value of the organization.
Organizations should invest in training their sales people to make them equip with complete product knowledge, advance sales skills and upsell/cross skills. On the job learning is another good way to explain a sales person how to behave in a specific situation and increase the chances of upsell and cross sell.