I’m fascinated by China’s role in the world. They have a love/hate relationship with a lot of countries – especially with mine, the US. And while the US trade deficit reaches over hundreds of billions with China, we are constantly importing lower-priced products from them.
I took my family to China a few years ago because we were adopting a beautiful little girl named Ziann. We spent just over two weeks there and it was enough to get a small taste of their lifestyle and their selling techniques.
Here are four great tips, inspired by that trip, which you can implement in your business right away:
1. Start with great sales people.
You might be thinking, “What kind of tip is this, telling me that I need great salespeople?”
I know you already know this. But, you should take a serious look at your sales force this week. Have a colleague of yours go into your store or call the sales line and inquire about your products or services. If your colleague is 100 percent totally honest, I bet you’ll find that he or she is dissatisfied with the level of service received.
Your business makes money when your salespeople make a sale. That means that great salespeople will make more sales, which will put more money in your pocket. However, you are not entitled to make a sale. You have to work for it, and if your sales team is not doing the job, they are essentially taking money out of your pocket.
Make sure you monitor your salespeople to see if they have a desire to make the sale. If not, get rid of them. There are plenty of people looking for jobs who will make the sale to keep their paycheck coming in each month.
2. Be active toward customers.
Here’s where my trip and the salespeople in China directly come in. The Chinese are experts at selling and have a huge desire to make the sale. Every store I went into had a wonderful sales person. They asked if I needed any help immediately. If I picked anything up, they would make a comment like, “That [has] very good quality and I can make you a good price on it today.” They wanted to make the sale and they wanted to make it now. They were active towards their customers to make it happen.
By contrast, I can walk into 10 different stores here in the US and only find one or two salespeople who genuinely want to make a sale. Too often I can walk into a store and not even be greeted by the salespeople. Which type of employee would you rather have working for you? The ones who can’t even say “hello” or the ones who put active effort into selling your product?
3. Upsell whenever possible.
Chinese storeowners understand the value of upselling. At every purchase I made, I was presented with an opportunity to buy something else – usually a trinket conveniently placed by the cash register. The storeowners made a conscious effort to increase my customer value as I was pulling out my wallet.
At first I thought it was just one or two stores, but I quickly realized that every store wanted to “upsell” me something. They asked questions, made suggestions, then offered deals. I took the storeowners up on a few of their offers, which put more money in their pockets for very little extra effort on their part. After all, I was already in the store.
Do you offer upsells? Do you have a plan in place with items close by that you can quickly present as someone is pulling out their wallet? This isn’t just for the brick and mortar businesses, this is also for the online business too. You need to have something readily available that you can attempt to upsell each customer as they make a purchase.
4. Attract potential customers.
The Chinese stores also do an outstanding job of luring you in. You’ll find someone standing outside just about every store inviting you in. They want your business so they actively pursue it. I found a lot of things that I was looking for just by asking the helpful salesperson standing outside the door.
Are you asking your customers how you can better serve them? Are you asking them what else they need? Are you “standing at the door” asking them to come in and telling them you’d like to help them? If not, you are losing sales. You can't just cross your fingers and hope customers come to you.
I had the same experience no matter what area of China I was in. Most of my time was spent in Southern China. This was not a major tourist destination, yet all the storeowners were able to communicate with me and had the same desire to make a sale.
In many ways, we need to be more like the Chinese salespeople and store owners who aggressively pursue each sale and attempt to make bigger sales. Like them, you should constantly be looking for new customers and asking everyone to take a look at what we have to offer. If you’re not directly making sales yourself, you need to manage your sales force effectively with the same principles.
Now that you know, what are you going to do to increase your sales?
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by Entrepreneur.com.ph.