The most used measure of success in selling is sales volume. There are many other considerations, of course, like customer goodwill and repeat sales, but when two sales professionals are compared, the one who turns in the largest sales volume is usually considered more successful and valuable to the company.
Experience in talking to sales professionals will tell you that increasing your sales can be done several ways. This goal must be prepared for before the presentation and applied during key parts of the presentation. We will be referring to four specific ideas that will be called the four “Ss”–selling up, sell large quantities, suggestive selling, and stacking.
Selling up consists of attempting to convince the customer to buy higher-priced and higher quality items than the customer originally intended to buy. Selling the higher-quality products will benefit the customer as well as the sales professional. By buying a higher-quality product, the customer will be saving money in the long run because the product will perform better, last longer, and have fewer breakdowns and problems. Suggest that the customer might prefer the better quality in such a way as, “You might prefer the wool suit instead of the polyester.” Since everyone prefers higher quality, the customer will usually agree, and unless the price is particularly important, the customer will accept the better-quality merchandise.
Too many inexperienced sales professionals assume that all customers want lower-priced merchandise–the bargains or good deals. But as a sales professional gains experience and wisdom, they learn to assume that the customer prefers good quality and begins to recommend it along with the benefits that will make the product well worth the price. Better-quality merchandise will lead to customer satisfaction. Experience will teach you that when a product fails to give full satisfaction, the customer tends to forget they paid less for it than a better-quality article and begins to give blame to the sales professional for not recommending a better product. No prospect should ever blame you for suggesting a higher-quality or higher-priced item if it will benefit the customer.
Most people tend to buy only what they need for the moment. Some people learn that they can save money in the long run by buying a larger number of items at one time. The key to increasing the quantity sold is for the sales professional to be helpful with suggestions such as, “You’ll save $30 if you take a dozen.” You emphasize the satisfaction of saving money. Another example is, “You are ordering 75 units already. You can save an additional 15 percent if you order 100 units because you will be given a quantity discount.” The majority of the buyers will appreciate your suggestion of buying larger quantities.
One of the most successful tools in selling is suggestive selling. Suggestive selling is when the sales professional seeks to broaden the customer’s original purchase with related items. Selling more than the customer intended to buy comes through suggesting related items, because your suggestion could save the customer much time and trouble later. Some examples of suggestion selling statements you may have heard are as follows:
“Would you want to look at a shirt and tie to go with your new suit?”
“Will you need any shoe polish and socks to go with your new shoes?”
“Would you like any candy or popcorn to go with your drink?”
“Let’s look at some sheets and pillows for your new bed.”
Suggestive selling is used after the buyer has already committed to buy a product. You will be surprised how the buyer will enlarge his/her purchase if you simply suggest additional related items.
This technique is most popular in the retailing industry, but can be applied in all industries. Stacking shows courtesy and kindness on behalf of the sales professional. If a sales professional is busy with one customer while another customer walks into the office or store, the sales professional simply says, “I will be with you in a minute.” As soon as the sales professional can break away from the present customer, the sales professional goes to assist the new customer. Stacking is simply recognizing unattended customers. It is showing decent courtesy that every person expects and deserves. The failure to “stack your customers” will result in lost sales and customers who will not return to your business.