Find out if you have what it takes to sell to an older population.
When people call your facility, or walk into your business, odds are that they are there because they are seriously looking at buying a membership. This is especially true if the prospect is older than 50. These seasoned consumers have, in many cases, done their research long before they sit in front of your sales staff. However, your sales staff's effect on their final decision is immense. How do you know if your current sales staff is suited to sell to adults who are 50-plus? The following nine traits are a good place to start.
1. The right attitude
Sales staff should be positive, pleasant, confident, resilient, empathetic and professional. They must also enjoy spending time with older people. If they don't love older people, they shouldn't be selling to them.
2. Know the basics
A professional salesperson must know all the elements of the sales process. Examples include a needs assessment with solutions, overcoming objections and closing the sale. To be great at sales, staff should blend these elements into their personality, and use them to move the sales process forward. But rather than an obvious series of steps that lead to closing the sale, this process should seem more like a conversation that ends with the customers getting what they want. Think of the sales role as being a personal concierge - someone who finds what the customer wants and needs.
3. Know the product
You need a first-rate understanding of how the product can, and will, improve the quality of life for older clients. Well-seasoned salespeople know when they don't have the answer to a question, and will find someone who can answer it.
Look for ways for your sales staff to learn new skills. Examples include role playing, courses, conferences, regional meetings, seminars, night school, DVDs, CDs and books.
5. Study life and people
Teach your sales team to observe what people say, how they say it, why they say it and when they say it. Have them make notes and learn from others. Have them ask buyers and non-buyers why they chose to buy from them or not.
6. Be ethical
American author, teacher and humorist Leo Rosten once wrote, "I never cease being dumbfounded by the unbelievable things people believe." Your team will fight against the belief that sales people will say anything to get the sale. Remind your sales staff that being a great 50-plus salesperson means that they must stand by what they say, and ensure that what they say stands.
7. Work hard and smart
Make sure your team knows the difference between hard work and smart work. Time is valuable, and wasting time can prove costly. Your sales staff members need to learn how to prospect for new customers, plus have the training and ability to recognize who potential clients are. Great salespeople understand that they create their pay - wasting time is wasting money.
8. Ask for the sale
According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point
, everyone has the knowledge needed to make decisions in the blink of an eye. So, what holds a customer back? Is it fear? Is it that he didn't get enough information to help justify the purchase, or she didn't like the salesperson? Whatever it is, one thing is sure: Trying to get people to buy your products before they have reached their stage of readiness is like trying to get a toddler to eat creamed spinach. All that happens is a messy situation.
9. Follow up
Think about how often you have bought a product from a salesperson because she had a product that met your needs and she was right there in front of you? Then, the salesperson you spoke to a few months earlier called a few weeks after he was supposed to, and felt frustrated to miss out on your business. Your team needs to know that the key to increasing sales performance is timely follow-up with customers.
The right person for the job
Exceptional salespeople are individuals with the knowledge, skills, training, attitude and discipline to succeed. Help your salespeople hone their skills every day so that they can join the ranks of the great 50-plus sales professionals.