Is Your Organization Ready to Sell?

I recently considered (a pre-January 1st vow) expanding my workout schedule to include weight training in addition to lap swimming to address the rapidly escaping muscle mass that age brings in later life. I regularly pass a well known gym in the area and thought that it would be convenient using that location for my new workout. I stopped in one morning to get membership information. The lobby desk was unattended so I waited a few minutes until someone returned. During my wait I scanned the counter looking for a brochure that might answer my questions.

I had visited the gym web site the night before but it did not show any schedule of membership rates or packages. A young woman soon returned and I asked to see a club brochure to understand what package/price would best fit my interest. The woman looked at me sheepishly and said that they did not have any brochures and that sales people came in later in the day – it was 8:30am. I then asked her what the typical prevailing prices were for a membership. She quickly said that she did not think she could do that as everyone was different.

I was getting more confused and was hesitant to ask another price related question. She stood looking at me and seemed to want to leave it at that. So I said, “Thanks.” and said goodbye. It was obvious that no one in ownership/management cared enough to create a customer experience to encourage membership.

It was obvious the woman at the desk had not been prepared for a sales scenario. She did not offer a tour (while she gathered her thoughts on how to address the price question), she did not get my contact information, she did not provide me with a contact name to reach later that day, she was not coached on how to keep a prospective member in the door until they made a buy decision or secured a commitment to meet or connect with someone who could.

  • Is this the case at your company? Of course you are prepared to sell – aren’t you – but what about your front office? How do you score on the following check list?
  • Do all people that have contact with customers know how to triage interest from a customer so that they do not get away without taking them to the next level?
  • What is your policy on returning inquiries from a customer?
    • Phone calls – within the hour or within thee promised period on voice mail.
    • Fax – same day or no less than 24 hours.
    • E-mail – same as fax or less.
    • Are you on time with appointments?
  • If customers come to your office for appointments, are you on time. If they have to wait are they notified before the appointment time passes, and are they kept abreast of delays as the time progresses past the scheduled time (i.e. waiting for your schedule doctors appointment)?
  • Do you sit in on customer contact calls or visits to gauge the effectiveness of your sales training?
  • How regularly due you audit your sales process and materials?
  • If you use a web page (server side database) to collect customer requests information is it monitored regularly and are they responded to within the promise response time?
  • Is your web page accurate, are the phone numbers correct, are the contact e-mail addresses current?
  • If the customer request escalates into a quote is it processed in a timely manner with timely follow up to move the quote into an order.

Be ready to sell!

A casual attitude toward a sales opportunity does not differentiate you in the market place and lead to a revenue opportunity.

In the case of the gym above, I had heard that they were have trouble with membership. I thought it was due to the economy but now after experiencing the short comings of their sales process, their revenue problems could be greatly eased if they had a better “sales” attitude in their organization.

How about your organization?

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