In this article, leading sales expert Andy Preston talks about the sales lessons you can learn from the Mercedes Benz factory….…..
On a prior trip over to the Mercedes Benz factory in Bremen, Germany to collect a new Mercedes, I noticed a number of things that would be useful ‘sales lessons’ for us all to be aware of. Read the article in full and improve your sales figures (and those of your team) by putting the lessons into practice!
On the factory tour itself, it was fascinating to find out that the whole factory operates on a ‘conveyor’ system, at different levels. Everything is timed and they know how long each procedure should take before the cars move onto the next ‘station’. Should they fall a few cars behind schedule however, it’s not as if you can get a few people to come in on a saturday to ‘catch up’ – the entire factory has to be there as everything relies on small jobs on each station before moving on the next one!
The sales lessons we can take from this is to think about our own prospecting ‘process’. In order for it to work as effectively as possible, it needs to be consistent, not stop-start! One of the biggest traps salespeople fall into is only prospecting when they’re quiet – yet only prospecting on a consistent basis will being consistent sales figures!
Otherwise we leave ourselves open to the ‘sales roller coaster’ effect – our sales figures alternative between good and plain awful because we don’t keep prospecting when we’re busy!
The ‘handover’ is a key part of the process in sales, just as much as it is in the car business! Think about the ‘handover’ you and your company may have to do at the moment. It might be a handover between colleagues, such as a salesperson and a project manager, or a salesperson and an account manager for example. It might even be a ‘handover’ form the salesperson to the customer, or a delivery person to the customer. Whatever is the case, it’s a vital part of the process – and also an area where a lot can go wrong!
The ‘smoothness’ of the handover counts for a lot – and is often the part when things go wrong! Whether it’s the salesperson not preparing the account manager or project manager properly, or not managing the customer ‘experience’ well, this part usually needs more focus than most people tend to give it!
Mercedes excel at this part. A specially created coffee lounge where all the new owners sit and their cars are driven into the ‘handover’ part of the showroom, everything is checked and you’re given a ‘tour’ of your new car and what it can do.
Lots of people talk about ‘adding value’ to their customers. Lots of companies bang on about their ‘value proposition’ and how they excel at customer service. Yet most miss the opportunity to create even more buyer-loyalty by failing to ‘wow’ them with a simple gesture!
Doing something ‘extra’ that they don’t expect – yet you know will be viewed as valuable to the customer – is one of the best ways of creating more enthusiastic and loyal customers, and more importantly, generating a stream of referrals! Yet most people still don’t do it!
For Mercedes it was simple. Providing a map of sights and visitor attractions for a few miles around the factory was useful, as was the customer service staff member casually mentioning that because they knew I had a long drive back to the UK, they’d made sure my new Mercedes had a full tank of petrol at no extra charge!
Now, am I naive enough to think that they ‘only’ did that for me? No. Am I daft enough to imagine it was something special they dreamed up on the spot? No again. But did it create loyalty, gratitude and a great impression nonetheless? Of course!
So how can you create that yourself in your sales process?….
One of the most critical parts of the sales process is what happens just AFTER the new client has purchased from you!
This is an area that most salespeople neglect, as often they’re not involved once the customer has bought, or have moved on to other prospects! Some time taken here to speak to the new customer can help avoid buyers remorse, solve any difficult issues, and also be a good time to ask for referrals and testimonials!
It also creates the impression that you care about more than just getting the ‘sale’, and therefore deepens the salesperson/customer relationship – and that’s never a bad thing for business going forwards!
Mercedes excel in this area. Not only is the salesperson in touch a few days after you getting/taking delivery of your new vehicle to see how things are going, but they also have an independent customer survey call afterwards to see how they performed!
Now I’m not saying that you have to go to those lengths, but if you or your colleagues put in a call swiftly after your customers have purchased from you, would that help your sales figures going forwards? You’re damn right it would!
Follow the tips above and watch your performance and that of your sales team soar! I look forward to hearing about your future success….
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