Make sure you qualify every lead!
Although sales training is not one of my main strengths I was amazed to be part of a sales process where the initial qualification of the need of the customer was not done.
A couple of weeks ago a sales representative of a very well known double glazing firm called at our house selling his wares, so to speak. Well I know that we need new fascia boards at the gable end of the property, which I explained to this person. He then asked about sofit boards (sorry to be so technical but you need to know what I wanted) and I explained that we only have one of those. He said he would arrange for someone to come out and give us a quote on a date that we agreed.
Now from this representative’s perspective he had succeeded in getting an appointment. So he was well on his way to his target…job done!
Two weeks later and three days before the appointment I get a call from another representative to check that I will be in on the agreed date to meet with the surveyor. This person explained that I would also get a quote from the surveyor on the day, which this person hoped would be acceptable to me.
On the day of the allotted appointment I get a call from a third person from this company to confirm that I am in and I am the decision maker. They also confirmed what I wanted and I explained two fascia boards and a sofit board, no I did not need the guttering replaced. This voice said that was part of the package but the surveyor would ensure that I got the right information when he arrived later that day.
The surveyor duly arrived on time and very well presented…always a good start for a sales appointmentm I believe. He took one look at my house and said he could give me a quote but it would be far too expensive, I was better off going to a local builder and getting them to do it. He was with me for no more than 3 minutes!!
Two lessons to learn from this:
1. Make sure that you know what the customer wants and what you are selling. If the initial representative had been better trained he would’ve been able to tell me that the job was too small for his firm.
2. If the job had been qualified better three people would not have had to interact with me to establish that the job was too small. Again if the person on phone call had been better trained, again he could’ve qualified me out
Please make sure you do not waste your precious time & your resources on badly developed sales leads.
Thanks for your time, Suzanne Unsworth
“We don’t know what good service is… until we don’t get it!”
Then we tell everyone about it…how bad it was, how disappointed we are, the fact that we are never going to shop/eat/visit/use that service again.
So as we are all in the customer service business we need to make sure we don’t take our eye of the most important person to us…the customer. You might think that as a trainer you are in the business of developing potential, running courses or assessing people’s ability which we are, however we also have to consider that every person who attends our training programme is a customer. Therefore we have to consider the following:
- Was their experience on the courses that we delivered a positive one?
- Where we value for money?
- Will they recommend us to their colleagues?
- How would they rate us as service providers?
- Were you on time and fully prepared to run the course when the first delegate arrived?
- Did you portray professionalism in your manner, dress and use of language?
- Were the handouts professionally produced?
- Was the venue, refreshments & facilities to a good standard
This is nothing to do with your skills and knowledge as a trainer in your specialist field. This is to do with you and is part of the on-going relationship you want with your customers….so consider these:
- You should not be exploiting your clients by selling them more days than they need. You are not a rip off merchant!!
- How easy are you to contact both for the client and for the delegates should they have a post-course query?
- How helpful are you with questions on the course, not the ones directly about the subject matter of the course, but those that are often ‘off-piste’, but are important to that delegate?
- Can you prove your professional credibility…how up to date is your CPD? What gives you the right to train my people?
- What evidence can you provide of successful training courses that you have run before on this subject?
What you must remember is that your training course is part of your sales process. Unlike selling some products, our key product is ourselves & our knowledge and ability to share that. Therefore there is always an opportunity to develop business whilst you are delivering a programme, but not to the detriment of the course itself.
We have to consider that the training industry is a competitive one and very often your only differentials are you and the price you charge. Now lets be honest, you don’t want to be the Poundstretcher of the learning world so you have to ensure that the service you offer is worth the money you are charging.
As a buyer of training your client wants to know not only do you have the credibility & knowledge to deliver the subject but you also have the customer care skills too. So the next time you are running a session whether as a trainer or a manager, or both, think, are you giving good value for money and providing a good service to your customers?
Thanks for your time, Suzanne Unsworth