Who’s selling your business?
When it comes to staff training, we often think of formal, structured training – perhaps around soft skills such as customer service, or alternatively, around product, process or software knowledge. Something we very rarely consider is training our staff in the art of sales.
‘But why would I need to train my receptionist in selling skills?’, you might ask. Perhaps you employ business development people to develop sales opportunities, or maybe you, as the business owner, take the lion’s share of sales-related tasks on yourself.
However, the fact is that every employee you have is a potential sales person for your company. After all, they are the ones conducting everyday tasks in your business – such as talking to existing customers, answering queries from potential new customers and interacting with suppliers/the public. Whilst you might be dealing directly with some key clients and suppliers, your staff are the ones ‘on the ground’ – acting as the initial touchpoint for many people coming into contact with your business for the first time.
Here are three things to consider in relation to your staff and ‘selling’ your business.
Do your staff represent your business?
When left to their own devices, are you confident that your staff represent your business in the best light? A company’s workforce is an extension of the company itself and as such, potential customers can quickly form a judgement of your business simply by way of a conversation with a member of your staff. You may even be able to think of a time when you yourself have formed a similar judgement about a company – even following the briefest of interactions. Even the way staff present themselves can create an overall picture – if they look scruffy or unkempt this will all work to creating an overall view of your business in the eyes of the customer; even if subconsciously.
As a business owner you might be brilliant at spotting opportunities from conversions you have with suppliers or associates. But how many business opportunities have slipped through the net because a member of your staff failed to recognise or take action on something? Although joining up the dots to spot a good opportunity is somewhat of an intuitive skill, you can help staff along the way. For example, you could provide them with a ‘fact find’ sheet to ensure they are asking the right questions of customers. A simple exercise of ‘knowing your customer’ can also be useful – helping staff to learn about who an ideal customer for the business is and why.
Sharing your vision
Earlier in the year we blogged about the importance of having a vision for your business and as part of this, we touched on sharing your vision with those around you. Having a vision in your own head about your business’ ethos and goals is great, but if you don’t share it with your staff, it’s unfair to expect them to be able to portray it in the work they do on your behalf. By ensuring that staff know your personal or business story; such as why you set up, what you hoped (and still hope) to achieve and where you plan to end up; helps to bring everyone onto the same page. Taking the time to share such information with both new and existing members of staff can also develop a consistent message that will feed into every interaction they have with your potential customers.