80% of sales staff rate their sales training

greed is good – sell more to each customer

As the new year gets underway, it seems sensible to ask ourselves what our priorities should be for 2019. Clearly, priorities vary from business to business, but as the economy threatens to tighten, and the pressure on return on investment continues to dog us, there are things we should all have as priorities in 2019 – or perhaps any year.

This is the third of ten THOUGHTS addressing suggested priorities for 2019.

How many times have you walked into a store, made a purchase and just walked out, without the salesperson making related purchase suggestions? How often have you visited a website, made a purchase and not had a related purchase suggested to you?

No only is this a problem in terms of failure to maximise revenue, it can also be an issue in terms of reduced customer satisfaction and the reduced likelihood or repeat purchases and referrals.

I know nothing about hardware but feel compelled to pretend to be a skilled handyman when I am on the farm with nobody watching. Hence, I occasionally find myself in a hardware store buying things I barely understand. Then I find myself back at the farm with most (but not all) of the things I needed to complete the job at hand. Every time, I wonder why the salesperson didn’t ask if I also needed x, y, or z? Then I drive 20 kilometres back to the hardware store.

If the sales representative or counter staff had asked me, what task I was about to undertake and suggested other things I might need, the hardware store would be richer, and I would be happier.
Unfortunately, few sales people, especially those retail, actively work to maximise the average sale per customer. They seem oblivious to the investment that has been made by the business to get the customer into the store in the first place.

Asking – ‘is there anything else I can help you with today?’ is not an effective means of increasing the average sale per customer. It is a sales patter that most customers do not even register because it lacks enthusiasm and sincerity.

Increasing the average sale per customer involves understanding exactly what the customer is trying to do with their purchase, possibly by asking them, and then structuring the sales process not around the transaction, but around customer needs. Indeed, maximising the average sales per customer is not as much about selling as it is about putting the customer at the centre of the process and working to ensure that they are as happy as possible when they leave the business and beyond.

In my experience, most sales staff view the customer as a hurdle in the day’s proceedings – a hurdle that needs to be addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. But this is not all the staff members’ fault. A recent study found that 80% of sales staff rated appropriate sales training as being central to their performance. I agree with them.

For me, this raises questions about the approach to sales training and the emphasis that training puts on the skills required to maximise the average sales per customer. I am also given to wonder about the incentives for sales staff to maximise the average sale per customer.


Given that you are investing in attracting customers into your business, make sure your conversion rates are as high as they can be and the average sale per customer is as high as it can be.

Ensure that you have in place the staff, training, and incentives required to optimise ROI for each and every customer that comes into your business. Actively drive cross selling and up selling with an absolute focus on making customers as happy as they can be.


Wordstream, SIO Digital, Salesforce, Annex Cloud, Nielsen, Seth Godin and Small Business Trends

MORE THOUGHTS – www.djohncarlsonesq.com 

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