As small business coaches, we are hired to help train employees to be effective at getting clients and building business. Occasionally, a client will ask us what kind of value they can expect to receive from our training. We usually answer with very specific results that they can look for and some possible gains that they can expect. Getting a return on their investment is important. That extra training can make a difference.

Are your employees truly representing the value and quality of your products and services or are they pushing business to your competitors? It happens more than you may think and unfortunately, you may not know until it’s too late. Most small business owners don’t really know what’s happening when they are not present – until, of course, it’s too late. 

Typical training programs only teach the technical fundamentals that focus on getting a sale. They don’t provide any kind of overview that will help an employee understand exactly what they’re trying to accomplish or why it’s so important to the company. This oversight can lead to the sales staff referring a customer to the competition.

What to include to get the most from your training dollars:

  • Value to cost positioning – It’s important to know that you will not be able to service every request from every client. It’s impossible for a small business to be everything to everyone. You will need to focus on and promote the services that you can provide and make profit from. Doing so establishes a value proposition that a client can enjoy. What you will want to teach your employees is where you fit in regarding the overall market for your product: Are you a high-end service or product at a reasonable price? Are you a reasonable product for most needs at a fair market price? Understanding where you fit into the marketplace opens the door for a conversation on what to do with the prospects that you won’t be able to service well.
  • How to ask the right sales discovery questions – Questions are the best sales tool, if they are used correctly. Teach your team what they should be asking to get the right information so they can  make an intelligent recommendation. Far too often, customer service and sales people will just give the customer what they ask for, rather than asking what they are trying to accomplish. When they do get the right information from the client, frequently there will be an opportunity to fill other needs or up-sell other complimentary services. That means you will make more sales with the same effort!
  • Review of effective sales language and wording – Yes, wording does make a difference to your bottom line! Think of the words ‘expense’ and ‘investment’. When you think of these words, you will notice that even though they are similar, they cause you to feel differently. When would you use one over the other? It’s important to train both customer service and sales people to know the power of words and when to use them. We’ve spent years researching the effect that words have on sales conversion and how the human mind responds to wording. We can tell you that it makes a significant difference in getting clients to start working with you.
  • How to refer to a strategic alliance partner – Since you are not able to help everyone with all inquiries, have policies set in place on what to do when those situations arise. Make sure that you have set up partnerships with other companies that you can refer clients to, as well as receive clients back from them. Relationships like this compliment both your company and theirs. Your customer service and sales staff should know about the relationships and only refer a customer to those companies/services that have been approved. Why? Your company reputation is reflected in who you refer. So the last thing you want to happen is for your reputation in your community to be soiled because of a bad referral. No small business owner wants that.
  • How to do an effective sales hand-off – A sales hand-off is the moment when one of your team members passes on a good potential client to another. These sales techniques can be a great time to add value to a customer relationship but sadly, they usually result in a loss when the prospect is dropped. Effective sales hand-offs edify the new team member and should be seamless. Watch for someone who answers the phone and forwards a new client to a voice mail. This seems to be one of the biggest ways this happens. All new prospect inquiries need to be handled directly and seamlessly.

Sales training can be a great asset to your company if done correctly. Make sure your training includes the extras that will really add value and prevent clients being unnecessarily referred to the competition.

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