I have suddenly saved myself an hour a week.
I discovered a new short cut recently on the route to one of my clients. I never knew it existed before. And now it’s a great feeling that I’m saving lots of time.
Print companies also have the opportunity to improve results easily. The easiest way to this is to consider how your sales resource is used. You may think you are using your sales resource efficiently. But I have one thing I want you to do.
I want you to ask yourself two questions
- Who speaks to your customers most often?
- With whom are your customers most open?
In nearly all instances you’ll find that the answer to these questions is your customer service staff.
Your customer service staff can make a great sales team
Print companies who use customer service staff as a sales team have more control over their sales pipeline. This is because they can speak to customers for job updates more often. This regular dialogue means that a stronger relationship is forged with their customers. So these printers achieve their sales targets more easily. Because they can use their main sales teams exclusively for new business.
Printers who don’t use customer service staff as a sales team struggle to achieve such good sales results. They don’t have the same control over their sales pipelines. Their main sales teams focus on existing clients, not new business. And the sales team have less time to spend with existing customers. So relationships are weaker.
So how do you create a sales team from your customer service staff?
It is important to remember that the customer service team have a key advantage. They are not sales people! And they should not be trained in traditional sales skills. They customer services team can be very effective with their current skills.
It is these skills that make the customer feel less guarded with them. And these skills that mean that a customer is more likely to answer these two questions:
- When is your next job coming up?
- Can you think of anyone else we should be talking to?
These two questions can create a great sales result
The first question makes sure that every opportunity for extra jobs with a customer is registered. The customer service person needs to make a note to follow up on the job at the right time. The second question makes sure that there is a constant source of new leads for the main sales team.
You’ll find that the results can be extremely worthwhile.
Here’s how it worked for one print company
This printer implemented this strategy with their customer services team. And they found that their sales went up by over 20%. One reason was that they experienced an uplift in jobs from their existing customers. This was because they were chasing them more regularly. But they found another advantage too.
They discovered that their sales team were able to increase new customer sales. They were freed up from dealing with existing customers. But the customer services team were also handing them worthwhile new leads.
This printer had also focused on an important point when they made the changes.
Don’t forget to focus your main sales team on new sales
It is very tempting for sales people to stay in their comfort zone. And this means that they will try and stay in touch with their current customers. It is much easier to ring up for a repeat job than to approach new prospects. So a sales team must be measured and rewarded on new sales activity only.
Of course some customer service teams may be less enthusiastic about their new role.
Do customer service teams have enough time for this extra activity?
It is important to remember that they are only being required to ask two extra questions at the end of a job. This should not take up valuable time. Many customer service staff find time to have a quick chat with their customers anyway.
It is true that they also need to follow up on new jobs with existing customers. However, if they are rewarded for work that they bring in, most customer service staff will find the time!
So here are three action points to create your new sales resource
- Brief your customer services team on the two questions that I have outlined
- Incentivize them for extra work that they bring in
- Make sure that the existing sales team are only rewarded on new customers
Just like the new route to my client, you’ll find you can get extra results for virtually no effort. In fact, you’ll find that these three action points are a great short cut to extra sales.