For home access, train yourself to add-on

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Friday, September 22, 2017

One of the biggest missed opportunities we see in our industry is the lack of incremental (or add-on) sales. For example, your home accessibility patient comes in for their stair lift, but there are several other products this person should also have to live safely and happily—grab bars, mobility products, ADLs, bath safety, etc. Many customer service people feel uneasy with this process; they feel like they are hawking product. But really it’s about making your customers safe in their home. Here are some training tips for getting your customer service staff on board with selling incremental cash products.  

Get employee buy-in

Before making new product additions, get your employees’ feedback or insight. It seems unnecessary, but by asking for their input, the employees are more likely to be excited about the new products and will push them more. And with them working face to face with the customers every day, they are more likely to identify the customer’s potential needs. 

Give employees the opportunity to test

As soon as the products arrive at your store, allow the staff to test out the items themselves. Not only does it give them a chance to touch and feel, but there’s also no better sales tactic than first-hand experience. Your staff may not need items like reachers or rollators on a daily basis, but by testing them out they can better understand and explain the functionality.  

Get the vendors involved

Set up a time when the vendor who you ordered the product from can come in and give an in-store training on all the features and benefits of the products. This visit is good for a couple reasons: (a) it allows the employees to receive proper training right from the experts themselves; (b) it allows time for questions and answers; and (c) it builds excitement around the products differently than you saying we need to sell these items. You can only bring home the next best item from a trade show so many times before they look at you and say, “Here we go again.”

Incentivize and set expectations

Conduct a staff meeting where you clearly lay out the expectations around the new products and rewards for hitting those expectations. This way each employee knows exactly what’s expected of them and the team from the get-go. There is no bigger let down to an employee than finding out later that they should be selling X quantity when they were under the assumption that Y quantity was great.

Train continuously

Set up an ongoing training program for your entire sales staff. This program should be a mixture of online videos, webinars, and educational courses/forums and live roleplaying or classroom training from either vendor partners, internal staff or other external experts. 

Roleplaying is a cheap, easily implemented, and highly effective form of training. It’s often not a fan-favorite out of the gate because it forces employees out of their comfort zone, but it is one that will give them the closest thing to real-life interactions. When looking back, employees will be glad they were able to practice certain conversations with colleagues before going live with customers.

Having your staff fully knowledgeable about all of the products on your sales floor will not only allow you to increase your sales, but also create happy, safe, healthy and loyal customers for the long term. hme

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Rob Baumhover is the director of Retail Programs with VGM Group Inc. He can be reached at Rob.Baumhover@vgm.com.