Sales are a team endeavor in many companies, but it’s not always treated as such. At the end of the day, every booked sale and lost lead has an impact on your business. That’s why it’s up to you to train and lead your sales team to success. Consider these strategies a way to jumpstart your sales cycle and get your employees on the same page.
Understand the stages of a sale
Making a sale isn’t just about reciting a script about your product or service — it requires a more fluid conversation to truly understand what a prospect need. The six stages of a sale are:
Ask and listen
Know the client’s needs
Close the sale
While all of these steps are important in their own way, the first three are arguably the most essential. Without taking the time to truly listen to a prospect’s needs, your proposed solution won’t always fit the bill and you’ll lose a prospect’s trust. Don’t rush into closing the sale — take your time on each of these steps to ensure full client satisfaction.
Schedule weekly sales meetings
Rather than spending time rehashing the past weekend’s events or looking ahead to the next, allocate some time for your team to focus on new business and building your client base. Work alongside them to monitor sales tracking, closing ratios, new leads, or educational opportunities that come up. Keep this time regular each week so everyone comes prepared. It can also help to use these meetings as a time to ramp up some healthy competition — weekly recognition or small prizes can keep employees motivated and empowered.
Assess your pay structure
Companies are likely to pay salespeople salary with commission more than any other pay structure, like hourly, salary only, or commission only. However, are you paying your employees the right amount? If you pay an employee too little, you risk disengagement and complacency; too much, on the other hand, can have an impact on your bottom line. Add your employees’ salary and commission together and see what you get — that total should be between 5-10% of their total sales pre-tax, give or take.
Reach out to lost sales
When a prospect books elsewhere, it’s important to understand why they didn’t choose your business. That feedback will allow you to tweak certain parts of your sales cycle in order to increase your team’s closing ratio. It could be something as simple as that you didn’t offer a certain dish, but you’ll want to know if it’s something more serious like not liking your food or not seeing the value in your price tag. The only way for you know to know is to ask, so don’t be afraid to check in with lost prospects to see what was missing.
As the leader of your company, prioritizing sales will show your team the importance of bringing in new business and will push them to focus on digging up leads. However, don’t lose sight of the importance of your team’s morale — whether it’s a little bit of healthy competition to keep them hungry or a friendly reminder of certain procedures, be kind and show your team how much they are valued.
With nearly 30 years in the special event and catering industry, Meryl Snow is the co-founder of Feastivities Events and the creator of The Triangle Method. As a Senior Consultant for Certified Catering Consultants, Meryl travels throughout North America training clients in the areas of sales, marketing, design and branding to help businesses get on their own path to success.