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How to Help Your Employees Sell More

September 14, 2011

By leadership management consultant Tom Borg
The other day I walked into the local Kroger grocery store in my hometown of Canton, MI. I picked up a few grocery items and decided to treat myself to real service and go through the check out lane and have my order rung up by a live person – the cashier. Quite frankly, I was a little disappointed. Here’s why. After he rung up my purchase and I gave him the correct change, I thanked him. His response: “No problem”. Excuse me, I didn’t know my purchase was potentially classified as a problem.
A few weeks later I was making a purchase at one of the General Dollar stores. This time the clerk’s response after I thanked him was simply the word “yeah”.
Here is where a small business owner can set him or herself apart from the rest of the competition at the point of sale and can clean up big time. What they must do is train all employees to consistently use the magic words “please” and “thank you”. 
By having employees look the customers squarely in the eye and sincerely thank them for doing business with them, they will sell subconsciously to that customer’s built in expectations of being appreciated and valued. Charles Lamb, the great English essayist said it best when he was quoted, “Damn it, I like to be liked”. Your customers like to be liked, so why not teach and expect your employees to treat them with care and respect. It will help your business become more profitable.
Of course it cannot be forced. For example, there is another very well-known retail chain that has a small printed sign by the cash register that reminds the cashier what to say to the customer when the sale is completed. At one time, this retail chain even had a campaign giving the customer five dollars if the cashier didn’t say “thank you.” Unfortunately, it didn’t work. The result was a cashier who sounded like a robot and avoided making sincere eye contact with the customer at the close of the sale. What the management of this retail chain did not understand was that it was not possible to force its cashiers to be sincerely courteous to the customer.
Since you can’t force your staff, co-workers and managers to treat the customer courteously in person or on the telephone, what do you do to get that kind of consistent behavior from them? One way to make this hope a reality is to hire people who have three important qualities:
1. They like themselves.
2. They like other people.
3. They have a sincere desire to help and serve other people.
You have to hire people who have some of the above qualities. From there you educate, train, and reinforce them positively for consistently demonstrating sincere courtesy to the customers.
What we are talking about is helping staff, co-workers and management learn how to be more authentic; helping them develop their self-confidence to the level where it is easy for them to treat others with courtesy and respect. The example you set is the most important aspect. The way you treat your staff, co-employees and managers lays the groundwork for how they will treat the customer.
Therefore, in summary, hire the right people, teach them how to be consistently courteous and watch your customer retention and purchase rate go up. You will be glad you did, and so will your customers.
Follow Up Questions to Answer
1. What types of traits do you look for in the staff and managers you seek to hire?
2. What are two things you, your staff, co-workers and managers can do for each other to set an example of how to treat the customer?
3. Name two specific things that you, your staff, co-workers and managers can do to demonstrate respect for the customer?
Tom Borg is a consultant in leadership management, team building and customer service. You can reach him at 734-812-0526 or visit his website
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