Front office staff can boost sales and grow their careers

Selling is giving a service. And service is given by any one. The extra sale is merely a by-product of this; so is accelerating your profile to 3D status.

Far too many sales are lost by front line staff. They are lost largely because of a poor attitude and sometimes lack of capacity. Consider these scenarios.

The travel agent who simply issues the return ticket, 3 nights apart, without asking, better saying, “let me book you the hotel and airport transfers too, Sir.” And the reason? Sales is not my job. As if issuing that ticket is not a sale in itself. Oh, yes, you’re right. It’s not; it’s a service. And in your books sales is beneath service. This negative attitude limits ones growth. You get seen in a linear and limiting dimension; yet growth comes when you offer a 3-dimension of yourself.

Last weekend at an establishment along Ngong Road, a waiter blew me away with his service. He introduced himself while showing his name clearly displayed on his shirt. “My name is Fred and I’ll be your waiter for the afternoon. What would you like to have?” I told him. After serving me he reminded me his name and that he’ll be checking in on me now and again. If I needed him though, all I’d need to do was ask for him and he’d be there. I tested. He passed. I’d intended to stay one drink long; because of him, I stayed a drink longer. His impeccable service, made an extra sale.

The biggest struggle business to business sales have, is that there technical staff are not sales oriented; they are product oriented. Their engineers will extol the virtues of the new water treatment plant with the love and passion of a mother, her son’s first tooth. In both cases the enthusiasm is not transferable. The engineer’s technical jargon dampens the enthusiasm (and the potential for its transfer). To be useful the engineer needs to sell . Many times this calls for training to help the scientific (engineering) mind embrace art (selling).

Then there is the staff member who simply dishes out the new ATM card without inviting the customer to save a thousand shillings for his son, Fadhili in the children account; yet, the data shows he has a 2 year old son. Or, just gives out the card without educating him: “with the Visa card you can shop cashless at no extra cost. Use it next time you’re fueling and let me know your experience.” Incidentally, many people with Visa cards use them solely as an ATM for withdrawing money, not as a payment card at points of sale. And it’s simply because they do not know any better.

What about the telecommunications company help desk who do anything but help. When I call in saying that “my internet is slow”, it is. Writing back to me pointing out that it’s the package I chose that causes the slowness is not useful. Neither is insinuating that I want more for less, nor sending me a link to your terms and conditions page. A more useful response would be taking the complaint as an opportunity to sell. “Based on your usage Sir, we may need to upgrade you so that you may enjoy faster service. The extra Kes. 1,000 monthly will be worth the trouble. Is this ok?”

Most restaurants have perfected the art of the extra sale. After you have placed your order for a meal, to a man, all waiters will ask, “What would you like to drink?” 9 times out of 10 you will order a drink even if it was not on your mind.

Selling is giving a service. And service is given by any one. The extra sale is merely a by-product of this; so is accelerating your profile to 3D status.

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