The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Business

November 10, 2012

DAVE MASTOVICH | Listen to ‘Spinal Tap’ for increased sales

— The cult classic mockumentary, “This is Spinal Tap,” makes fun of the pretensions of hard rock and heavy metal bands. In one scene in the movie, a guitarist brags about his special amplifier that goes up to 11 instead of the standard 10 volume setting.

When asked why the 10 setting isn’t just set to be louder, the puzzled guitarist pauses and defensively says: “These go to 11.”

In honor of Spinal Tap, here are 11 ways to “Turn it up to 11” and increase sales:

• Identify your true target customers. Many companies try to convince themselves that certain market segments should buy from them. When you are not selling to ideal customers, you end up with more “no’s” or more unhappy former customers.

• Find out what you are really selling. The old “feature/benefit” model isn’t as effective as focusing on the customer experience.

• Tell memorable stories instead of using jargon-filled sales talk.

Sales messages should not be the same as slogans or ads.

• Offer incentives, not rewards. Your compensation plan has to move your salespeople. They have to want and need to hit their goals.

• Build a sales team, not a sales department. You want a team of sales reps who feed off of each other.

• Keep the keepers. Motivate both peak and consistent performers. Too often, the so-called • Say goodbye to the “mis-fits.” When it’s not a fit, you know it, they know it, their peers know it. Make it official and help them find a better fit.

• Coach ’em up. Training isn’t a once-a-year thing. Mentor, coach and educate on a daily basis.

• Focus on pre-call prep, every call, every time. It’s the difference between order takers and real salespeople.

• When in doubt, ask a question, preferably an open-ended one.

• Listen. They’ll tell you whether they’re a real or fake maybe. If they’re for real, they’ll also tell you how to sell them. Then close the business.

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