How to win business as a SME

When training businesses on sales we often ask clients of that business what makes them 'buy’ or ‘stay’.

9 times out of 10 times the answer is “service”, with the individual managing the business coming a close second.

This is slightly frustrating as its got to be probably one of the most overused words in sales.

Also it so difficult to pin down what is meant by service and how often its applied to the most basic things any reasonable person selling would give to customers. Believe it or not some companies think simply providing a smile is seen as a service, and sadly they even fail at this - However, we believe service is experiencing a renaissance.

This is happening because of the way sales has had to evolve to new channels, a new global environment and a new generation. Or has it?

I want you to imagine we’re back in the 40’s because there we’ll find a man who left a vital clue about ‘selling and service’- His name is Conrad Hilton.

Its alleged that in the 1940’s Conrad noticed a sign he and other hoteliers were using to tell customers their hotel was full, it read;

“Sorry! No rooms today without reservations.”

Looking at the sign Conrad placed himself in the shoes of the visitor and thought the message sounded weak and insincere to anyone who had traveled to a new city looking for a room. Story goes that he had his people remove the sign and instead set up accommodation desks with hotel representatives - What we currently know as 'Reception' today. This small act towards service meant that a person looking for a room in a city would come into the Hilton and if there were no rooms available the representative would help the customer find a room in another hotel close by.

He had the customer sit in the lobby provide them with free coffee, tea or refreshment whilst they tried to find them a room at another hotel. If the visitor was there on business he had a room made available to shower and change or refresh themselves for their no charge.

What Conrad cleverly understood was that; Just because you can’t fill your clients need, doesn’t mean the need goes away.If you don’t fill it someone else will. So what happened as a result of this small change? The visitor or customer was turned into a GUEST.

More importantly it was Hilton’s guest, this in turn created brand awareness, brand values and started brand loyalty to Hilton even when they couldn't provide the single thing the customer wanted! This example led to a new movement known as ‘service sales’ and demonstrated that even though you have no control over circumstances you can still retain the customers good will, repeat business and loyalty.

Now think, how many organisations genuinely want to help you in the same way today?

We believe the very future of sales is going to be determined by the ability in which each individual can make a personal contribution to the needs of the customer rather than just delivering tick-box service basics. Training in service and sales is all to often propositioned this way - And whilst we applaud companies providing and investing in training this tick box exercise isn't getting anyone anywhere fast.

Just to finish, Conrad went on to be rather successful in the world of hospitality and proved that even when you have nothing to sell, you can still be selling - And winning.

Why not join us on our 'Sales without Selling, Influence and Negotiation, Persuasive Presenting' programs where we examine how you can make a difference to sales in what you say, do and give?

Click here for more information.

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