4 Benefits of a Unified Sales Process

Many people believe retail selling is all art. Those are the ones who like to use their charm and personality to sell and don’t want to be “hampered” by a system or process. Others would like you to believe that it is all science. These are the ones who do everything in a step-by-step formula. The only problem is that Customers often times go “off script” and skip a step or two. Our years of retail selling experience have told us it is neither, but rather we believe:

Selling is the perfect balance of art and science.

You need personality to sell. You need technical skill to sell. You need a system or process to follow to sell. How do we know this? By studying the two opposing camps. What we find is that neither camp wins every time. In fact, rarely are the people who rely solely on their magnanimous personality the top producers. Nor are the people who follow a checklist when selling and make the shopping experience systematic the top performers.

Do you need a system for great selling? Absolutely. In fact, research consistently shows the power of following a system. We posted an infographic about this last week. The studies we referenced compared the sales results of retail sales professionals who followed a system versus those that did not.

We say all that as preface to this article, so you know that we believe in the balance between art and science. In fact, in our book The Retail Sales Bible we point out that there are actually 4 sales you have to make to every Customer – the first is yourself – and that requires some personality,

But the question we want to address in this article is the business side of the equation; what are the benefits to me as a retail storeowner if all of my salespeople are trained in and use a unified sales process?

Here are 4 reasons to have a unified sales process in your stores –

1. Lower Returns.

If you examine your business, you will find that selling the right merchandise in the first place could have prevented many of your returns. Are you familiar with the “return policy” sales process? This is the one where your entire process is saying, “If you do not like it, you can return it no questions asked.” First, this is scary as a storeowner. But more importantly, this line should never be used unless the salesperson has absolute confidence that this is the right item for the Customer. You can only know that by selling through a process. Otherwise, you will take shortcuts and jump from hello to here are the TVs to you can return it.

If the salesperson is held accountable to a sale process that requires them to Research the Customer’s wants, interests, needs, concerns and desires, then the product selection should be right on the money. (Double meaning)

2. More Effective Sales Coaching.

Here is one that most forget. You have very little time in your day to work with your salespeople. So make the most of it. If everyone is following the same sales process, then when you are working with someone you can focus on the problem and not the symptom. For example, let’s say that your sales team is jumping right from the Greeting to the Experimenting Phase (presentation) and skipping the Researching Phase (interview.) First, if everyone calls it Researching, then when you use that word your entire team knows what you are talking about. But if sometimes you say qualify and sometimes you say interview and some people on the team say research, then half of your training time is spent getting on the same page instead of focusing on the issue. In other words, you are focused on the symptoms. Don’t believe those that would tell you “it does not matter as long as we are all talking about the same thing.” Remember, these are salespeople you are talking too and they are selling you when they say that (at least trying to.)

3. Better Shopping Experience.

If everyone in your store sells the same way, then the experience your Customer receives is consistent. By selling the same way, we mean following the same process; we do not mean saying the same things. The last thing you want is for your salespeople to take his or her personality out of the sale. It’s the principles that need to be consistent, not the language. And a better shopping experience means more repeat Customers.

4. Higher Referrals.

Simply put, the most important stat you should be monitoring in your store today is referrals. It costs too much to advertise, so get your Customer to advertise for you. If everyone is on the same page, then (as was stated in 3 above) the experience the Customer receives is consistent. It does not matter if they come in during the day or on the weekend. And it does not matter which location of your stores they are shopping.

We believe so highly in the importance of a unified sales approach in retail that we created an online learning system to help your teams get there. We know the problems with time every business owner faces. And we know that training is usually the first thing to be sacrificed. And we also know that bringing in professional training is cost prohibitive these days.

So, we created the Retail Sales Bible Online Selling Certification Course. It allows your entire team to be immersed into the principles of the Retail Sales Bible, learn the best skills from our research with the best salespeople in retail, but most importantly, put your whole team on the same page with a common vernacular and sales process.

Copyright 2016, Matthew Hudson is an award-winning retailer, keynote speaker, master sales trainer and author of over 4 books on selling, corporate culture, retail, and sales and marketing.

Matt Hudson

Master Sales Trainer with 31 years of sales & marketing experience. Author of 4 books including Advisor Selling and the Retail Sales Bible.