Digital Selling (Part 8)

7 tips for selling in the fast lane

The shop is doing quite well. But sales coach Leif Kania knows that there is often room for improvement. Many studios do not make full use of their potential. They believe they need born salespeople. But that is not true. We give you 7 tips for (digital) selling in the fast lane.

Oct 26 2021

The dilemma of managers 

It is not new that skilled workers are hard to come by these days. Perhaps you too would like to have reinforcements because business is going well and the team is not keeping up. Or you would like to have new employees to drive digital sales forward. Because Ms Müller is camera-shy and for Mr Meier cookies are nothing more than delicious. 

Maybe you think that if you take a firmer grip on the reins, give Meier and Müller the spurs and increase the commission, you could get more out of your employees. But: the kitchen studio is no pony farm either. 

Ponies and racehorses 

You could, however, turn your business into a racing stable. Leif Kania names a goal that makes the difference between average and excellence: 

"It's about building a trusting, emotional bond with the customer that makes price secondary. However, it takes a lot of work to be perceived in this way. This point is often underestimated. It is not enough to 'sing in' a little in the morning with slogans like 'the customer is the centre of everything we do'. After all, there is no verifiable action behind it and no one knows what concretely needs to be done." 

1. Define processes on the behavioural level 

That's why Leif Kania's first tip is to take a cue from the 5-star gastronomy or hotel industry: "The point is: they train every day. There are very clear concepts, there are hired trainers, there are external trainers. Of course, this is an investment in terms of time, energy and money - but in return, the turnover increases." 

The crux of the matter: Making contact 

So the first step - and this is one of the prerequisites for selling in the fast lane - is to define processes. Let's take the establishment of contact. It takes place via a digital funnel or in the shop. In the expert's experience, the latter is often done without a plan: 

"Most ask 'Can I help you?' or 'Can you manage?' and that's where it starts, because that is the worst possible approach there is. The answer is 99.9 per cent 'We just want to have a look'. At that moment the contact has failed. Frustration and conflict follow. Because superiors want to close deals. But which consultant would find criticism justified in such a situation?" 

Example: Analysis of needs

The needs analysis is also often too superficial, says Leif Kania with regard to this important phase, which can easily be done by phone in digital selling: 

"Often, the customer's life is not dealt with at all. But this is precisely where a large emotional area takes place and we have the opportunity to get to know the customer, to assess him, to create emotion, to arouse empathy, to build trust - all this is in there, but is usually not done." 

Here it is important to make clear announcements. Good salespeople know exactly which steps and questions they have to work through. Managers learn through training how to guide processes constructively, how to demand and control results. 

2. Forget about born salespeople 

Salespeople are more successful when they are structured. The framework gives security - even to those who have struggled with customers so far. In other words, when selling in the fast lane, ponies don't run aimlessly across the pasture, but become racehorses who want to finish. 

Does this mean that born sellers do not exist? Let's remember the previous part of this series of articles. There we looked at personality types. Leif Kania explains: 

"The born salespeople, they tend to be the yellow-red types. In other words, result-oriented entertainers who manage to establish sympathy immediately - intuitively. But that is exactly the point! Because as soon as a sales process is added and people really sell professionally, anyone can learn it." 

There are alternatives 

So the good news is: everyone has potential. It is therefore worthwhile to take a close look at who ticks how in the team. For counsellors, too. Because those who know themselves better and know where their strengths and weaknesses lie can work on themselves in a targeted way. 

Leif Kania confirms: "I have many people in my trainings who, according to the type system, would not count as born salespeople. Nevertheless, they are highly successful. They may be rather reserved or even cool at first, but through structure and good questions they give the customer the feeling of being noticed and being important." 

3. Look for strengths 

If you look at personality types, you can not only search for new people in a more targeted way, but also use members of existing teams more effectively. This also increases satisfaction and motivation. Leif Kania explains: 

"If I do technical order control or am in accounting as a blue person, then I have a job that is very close to my lived basic behaviour. If, on the other hand, I put a deep yellow in accounting, on the one hand the result will be bad. On the other hand, they need much more energy to perform as expected. These are then classic burnout candidates who have to bend for the job." 

So don't press anyone into a corset. Leif Kania is convinced: "There is nothing worse than pushing people who have fears or reservations." Instead, look for strengths that you can build on and promote. 

4. Rely on division of labour 

For digital selling in the fast lane, there should be a basic affinity for technology and the corresponding media. For example, Ms Müller may be camera shy, but perhaps she enjoys creating digital content? Then she is the perfect choice to prepare presentations. 

Leif Kania adds: "If the old salesman says, leave me alone with this stuff, it's all far too complicated for me, then he might do the initial telephone analysis because he can do it in his sleep with his experience. So I should see who is keen on the subject and think about what the setup can look like." 

In this way, Mr Meier can also be at his best in an appropriately defined process. After all, who says that division of labour is bad? When everyone pulls on the same structural rope, they represent the well-coordinated team of a professionally working company that people like to trust. 

5. Promote talents 

For Leif Kania, digital selling is a topic that should also be dealt with creatively. Often the most potential lies dormant where you least suspect it. The coach has observed: "The people who are supposed to do this are not always the A-salespeople, but often they are precisely not!" 

Instead of squeezing old hands like Mr Meier into a zoom call, it's worth taking a look at the new blood. They may not have as much experience, but they're on fire for the possibilities of digital media. Leif Kania remembers: 

"In one company there was a young man who discovered his talent for editing. He started producing little videos in which he presented fronts, worktops and electrical appliances. When I, as a customer, get the appreciation that my salesperson has made a short film especially for me, either by himself or with a colleague, it's brilliant! It's little things like that that make a huge difference." 

6. Don't sell 

What now - it's about selling in the fast lane and you're not supposed to sell? Of course not. But you're not supposed to let your customers feel it. Change the focus away from wanting to sell to making them happy according to their type. Leif Kania explains: 

"We perceive when people want to sell us something. Then it feels somehow strange. We don't know exactly what's wrong, but our subconscious has already made the decision against this person because he wants to sell something, impose something. That's what's behind it. He wants to impose something on me. It's not about me, it's about him, about his commission." 

As an example, the coach cites a typical situation: "When we take down signs, want to go to the toilet or to the lunch break - these are the moments when customers say 'Do you have a moment?'. Because then we don't radiate that we want to sell something. With dollar signs in our eyes, we don't make contact, let alone close the deal. So the decisive thing is the goal in mind. And that should be to find out or create what the customer wants." 

7. Stay open 

For selling in the fast lane, you should look at what you are doing as development. Nobody is perfect. But we can always improve. Maybe Ms Müller will blossom with the right training and suddenly she is no longer camera shy? 

Good salespeople know what they are talking about - and they do it with passion. If you work in a kitchen studio, you should like cooking, for example. A desire to communicate is also a prerequisite. The rest is practice. Leif Kania wants to encourage people:  

"You have to be open, have a dynamic self-image, simply say what I can't do today, I can learn, I can do tomorrow, I can do in a year. You just have to think about what I'm doing for it, what's the plan. You have to be open, you have to be willing to accept things and try them out, so you also have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone." 

Conclusion and outlook 

Don't waste time looking for born salespeople. If you define processes, promote strengths and talents, you can improve your sales - even with the existing team. The important thing is: don't force anyone into a corset. Remain open and willing to learn. Perhaps we were able to provide some impetus here? We welcome comments and will see you again in episode 9 with a look into the future of digital selling.

Author: Christine Piontek

Contact persons
Portrait of Leif Kania
Leif Kania Human Ressources
Möbel Kania Consulting GmbH
Write the first comment