Top business tips from award-winning franchisees Shan and Gerard O’Sullivan.
How to be a sales superstar.
When you start your own business there is no way to escape sales. It is a function of operations that needs to be one of your priorities. A focus on sales from the owner, through to team members will contribute to the long-term success of any franchise.
The following are sales lessons and philosophies we have adopted during our 12 years as franchise partners.
1. THERE IS NO BUSINESS WITHOUT
The word sales scares a lot of people and its common to hear people make light of it with comments like ‘I’m not very good at sales, or I hate sales’. Regardless of what type of business you operate, if you want to be your own boss you need to accept sales is a BIG part of the job.
2. DETERMINE YOUR SALES PROCESS
There are so many elements of a business that contribute to the sales process, and in a competitive market a potential sale starts well before you interact with a customer face-to-face. To be successful you need to consider the process. This involves thinking through the sales experience from the perspective of your customer first.
Things you might want to work through include: how would you like to be treated, what would you want to know about the product/service; what experience would you want to have from interacting with the company; do you want fast or slow service; would you want the company to be highly knowledgeable and offer advice; how would you want the product /service to be presented, what would you want to see at point of purchase; what would help encourage your regular patronage and loyalty to the business?
Start from the very first moment a person might come across your business to the final step of converting the sale.
3. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Brand awareness is a huge part of the sales process, so you need to examine every opportunity to get your business in front of potential clients. Consider who your key target markets are and then research ways to reach them direct within the community. The more engaging your brand can be in their lives, the greater resonance it will have them. Consider supporting local groups, charities or sporting organisations for example.
4. 100% SALES MINDSET
As your business grows, so will your team and once other people join your business the need to ensure everyone has the same sales mindset is very important. Every team member needs to be aware of the process and role they play in contributing to a great sales experience. For example, an admin person following up an overdue invoice must always be courteous, a service exec that goes onsite for a job must be punctual and well presented.
As the owner and leader of the business you must always lead by example. The values you bring to the sales process will be shared best this way and ensure your team are aware of your standards and expectations of service.
5. TRAINING COUNTS
If sales do not come naturally then education is important. Your franchisor may host internal training sessions, or else there are many sales courses available to help improve your skills. We send our staff every year to retail training, and because product knowledge is so important in our business we get suppliers to visit and share product information. Again, the type of education you participate in will come from your sales process and identifying what you need to know/do to make it effective.
LEARNING IS LONG-TERM:
The longer you have a business the more you can refine what you do.
Sales is something that evolves with your business and you must be willing to examine the process regularly, take feedback onboard and utilise it to improve what you do.
The good news is the longer you are in business the easier the sales process becomes because you are more comfortable in business and as a leader.
Shan and Gerard O’Sullivan own Poolwerx Coffs Harbour and Moonee Beach and are the Poolwerx NSW Franchise Partner of the Year for 2015, 2016, 2017.
Shan and Gerard O’Sullivan