Here is a profound sales tip that is so easy to follow – don’t eat alone, eat with your clients and best customers. This can dramatically change your sales turn- over, provided that you have the necessary basic etiquette and table manners. If you don’t agree with the preceding sentences you are not disagreeing with me but showing disregard to Joe Girard – the undisputed best salesman in the world as recognized by the Guinness book of World Records.
It was one of the rules set by Joe Girard, the salesman who was rated as the number 1 salesman for 12 consecutive years in the world. Combined with other simple principles Girard sold 13,001 cars in 15 years, a record that still stands unbroken. This means he sold more than four cars a day on an average. And he sold one car at a time, not in bulk. That’s a huge achievement.
Have Lunch/Dinner with Customers
A surprising number of deals are sealed during lunch and dinner meetings. Invest a little and invite your customer over lunch or dinner. Depending on your nature of business and the stature of the client treat him/her to a meal. Having meals together allows both you and the client to talk in a relaxed manner. The client would definitely appreciate the gesture and if he has already purchased from you, he would be glad to come back for more or give referrals. In addition to the pleasant experience, remember it’s an investment and intended for increasing business. You should choose clients that have the potential to give you business.
Having dinner with family members is something that cannot be ignored. In fact, it is a priority. But eating out with clients can be chipped into your weekly schedule without taking away much of your valuable time together with your family. Ideally, having lunch with the customer is a good idea as it will not interfere with family togetherness considering the fact that most families find it convenient to have dinner together in comparison to lunch or breakfast in the day.
Instead of having lunch alone or with colleagues at the office everyday, a lunch with clients can help bring in better perspective and improve the way you do business. Also, such opportunities offer chances to know the client better, the food he/she likes or dislikes, and the place he/she loves to eat. This type of knowledge would pave way for a better relationship with the customer and help improve direct selling as well as selling through referrals.
Utilize Down Times Productively
Some sales people do not want to do anything related to their job when they are not working. That is their choice and if it works for them, well and good. But there are many sales professionals who are passionate about business and like to mix it with other pursuits. If you are a member of a tennis or golf club what is wrong in inviting your customer for a friendly game, given that he also has the same hobby. If you both follow the hobby with reasonable interest certainly there will be rapport when you play a friendly game or two. Chances are very good that this would translate into a single or more sales. You may end up selling to the client or persons that he refers. Even if you don’t sell anything every time you do this, still you end up a winner as you get the opportunity to play with a new person and not with your usual tennis partner.
Using down time in sales is all about smart management of the available time. Even when you are waiting for your client to show up for lunch or a game of tennis you can call up his friends/spouse/secretary and find out what he would like or dislike. If you are very good at tennis or golf, be a little tactful and graceful. The goal of playing with the client is to win him over not win over him. Try to play a doubles match so that the client doesn’t take a defeat too directly as it can happen in a singles match. On the contrary if the client is good, praise lavishly about his booming serve or accurate down the line returns.
There are interesting ways how you can get closer to the customer and win his confidence. Selling is an exciting job and it is always not about sales. A good sales person should pounce on such opportunities and make the most of them.
About the Author:
Doug Dvorak helps companies and professionals achieve results through customized, creative and non-traditional sales training systems that are “one size fits one” and developed to the unique business needs and “sales pain points” of each client. He is available to speak on these topics.
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Copyright 2008 The Sales Coaching Institute, Inc.
Sales Skills Training Strategic Sales Coaching
Doug Dvorak, CEO of DMG International, is the Author of the forthcoming book “Build Your Own Brand” (Pelican, 2009)