How to Turn Every Employee into a Sales Superstar When you run a small business, you do not have a machine to grind out leads, vet them and close the deal. You need every person on your team to generate business.
- Confidence comes from ability, and ability comes from practicing or doing a task. When you give real people facetime, it is a powerful sales tactic.
- Your employees' conversations are just as important, if not more important, to selling your products and services.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I admit it. For years, I hated the idea of selling. In fact, I turned down sales jobs. However, when I started my own business, it became a priority. Most small business owners love what they do. They enjoy developing the product or service. They love doing the work and are excited when someone buys what they make. Selling-not so much. Over the years, I have changed my attitude. I don't sell. I don't need to. Instead, I have conversations with clients. I ask questions. I listen and offer ideas. In short, I educate and consult.
But I am not the only one who sells at my company. In fact, selling is everyone's job. Why? It is simple. When you run a small business, you do not have a machine to grind out leads, vet them, and close the deal. You need every person on your team to generate business for the company. Not to mention selling your company to potential employees and partners. Skeptical? Don't be. Even the most introverted person can sell with a little bit of help. Here is how to turn every employee into a sales superstar.
1. Develop business literacy
Engaged employees are good for business. In many cases, it's why they choose to work for a small business, where there is more opportunity to be hands-on. We need to ensure employees understand the business — all parts — not just their individual roles.
In my organization, this means having an employee shadow someone to learn more about the process. We routinely do a debrief so employees know what we are working on. We show how we quote jobs and the financial picture. In other words, we are constantly educating. We also encourage questions and ideas. When employees understand the business, they are more comfortable talking about it and can sell others on the organization.
2. Ramp up communication skills
Think presentation and communication training is just for supervisors or employees on the fast track to promotions? I say no, and it comes from experience. I have developed and presented communication seminars for various individuals, from people on the plant floor to frontline call center workers, sales trainees, and company CEOs. Want to energize your team? Help them develop personally and professionally? Create a bond with your company?
One way is to invest in them by offering communication workshops. This shows employees you care enough to provide an opportunity to learn new skills and connect with others. Those skills come into play in day-to-day interactions and conversations. Remember I said I don't sell; have conversations. Your employees' conversations are just as important, if not more important, to selling your products and services. They are on the front lines and may discover customer needs before anyone else does. If they are good communicators, they can spot the opportunity and then connect customers to the right source.
3. Share your sales toolkit
If you want employees to help champion your efforts, they need to understand your sales and marketing toolkit. What strategies are you using to grow the business? Show them how you present the company brand to customers. They connect their work with the end result by helping them get familiar with all of your sales tools. Use company meetings or gatherings to feature company videos, display marketing collateral or demonstrate new products. You can also send links for employees to watch presentations or take part in webinars.
4. Give employees facetime
For a long time, business owners or salespeople were the face of the company. That's because many are under the false impression the person with the title is the best one to communicate or sell. That is not necessarily the case. Today, progressive companies are looking to broaden their efforts and feature employees at every level of the organization in critical communications, from recruitment to customer sales.
I like to involve employees in meetings with clients. First, they listen and observe. Later, we discuss how the meeting was conducted and the strategy. The next step is to have them participate in a targeted way. Employees who participate or are featured in customer interactions have a more intense connection to the company. They are proud of their work and love to serve up their expertise. For example, have them share a story about how they built a product. Ask them to describe a process or give them a "tour" of your facility.
Confidence comes from ability, and ability comes from practicing or doing a task. When you give real people facetime, it is a powerful sales tactic.
5. Offer rewards and recognition
Do employees value recognition? Yes. In fact, Gallup and Workhuman have research that shows there is a direct correlation between employee recognition and business outcomes. That is why it makes sense to recognize employees who take part in customer meetings, sales efforts or employee recruitment.
I love to do a "shout-out" during a company huddle and share details about how the employee helped make an impression or close a sale. If you have a company communication, feature them. As for rewards, there are options. You can send employees home early on a Friday or give them an extra day off. Gift cards are popular. Bonuses are even better.