3 Keys to Building Your Front Desk Sales Team
You own, or manage, a small to medium-sized business. You have staffed your front desk with individuals whose responsibilities go beyond just answering phones and making appointments; they have to sell.
Congratulations on finding people to work at your front desk! It is a challenge to find people that you feel are qualified to be on the front lines of your business. Now comes your real challenge; turning a group of people into a team. Notice I did not say your challenge was to train them to become salespeople. That is important, and hopefully your onboarding process landed you some individuals who have at least some previous sales experience.
Here’s the thing: Individual skills are important, but they will become useless, or at least underutilized if your people are not operating as a team. That is why the title of this post includes the words “Sales Team.”
Here are three keys that I have found to be crucial when turning a group of people into a sales team. There is a lot that goes into getting a group of people to work together in harmony, but this list offers three building blocks that are essential for success. Implementing these three keys transformed my own team from a closing ratio of 17% to 35% in just three months. It works.
1) Leaders don’t just delegate, they participate: You can boss people around or you can train by example. You can guess which method is more effective. When you are training your people you should be right in there with them doing the same job. You don’t have to have regularly scheduled shifts, but you should be able to demonstrate to your team that you know how to do the job and do it well. Otherwise, your words and training will lack power because no one will take seriously advice from someone who cannot themselves do what they are advising.
2) Mindset Training: This is almost always overlooked, but the importance of this cannot be overemphasized. Without a proper mindset, no amount of training will make someone a success. Here is where any weaknesses in your hiring and onboarding process will show up first. You goal when hiring is to weed out, as much as possible, those people who have a predominately negative outlook on life. Any person who has such a mindset will not be receptive to coaching and will drag down the rest of the team. When training on mindset with my team, I take a twofold approach. First, I train on creating an overall positive mindset about life in general, and then I apply those same techniques to the specific job I am training them for.
The image below (from my book, Your Time Is Now)is a visual tool I use to teach these techniques:
The technique is really quite simple. Achieving any goal, dream, or objective (Destiny) is dependent upon the decisions you make. The quality of the decisions you make are influenced by your state of mind. Your state of mind is determined by how you feel (emotions etc). How you feel is determined by the thoughts that dominate your mind. The thoughts that dominate your mind are determined by your focus (what is receiving all of your attention). As you can see, what you focus on is the foundation of it all, and will determine whether or not you achieve your goal (or “destiny” as I worded it in the image). It is not difficult to see how this teaching method can be applied to one’s life or occupation. It works the same.
3) Implement a structured training program: Recently, I created, along with our management team, a four-week training program for our new team members. Four weeks works for what we want to accomplish, but the length of your program is not as important as the content. I said that we created our program for new hires, but we transformed our current team by using this same training. The point is to create a program with crystal clear goals in mind. Know what it is you want to accomplish before you even start. Once you know exactly what you want to achieve, you can design your training.
I will share with you what we do in the business in which I work. Perhaps these examples will give you ideas on your own training strategy. Remember, we stretch this out over four weeks, and the first few items on the list we do off-site.
*We give each team member a packet which contains a book of all of our scripts. Additionally, it contains a FAQ about the position, as well as our company’s philosophy and even blank pages for notes.
*Mindset training- We do this right at the beginning.
*Job-specific training- meaning the computer program we use, and other duties.
*Sharing and discussion around our culture and ethos. A good company culture does not happen by accident. It is intentionally designed. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of books written on this subject and for good reason. The attitude and atmosphere of your business trumps everything else. Everything. If you have a morale issue, or a climate where it is “every man for himself”, then THAT is your starting point.
*Basic sales training. We primarily handle this in-house, but we also utilize outside trainers, videos and anything we deem useful. It is important to be flexible and drop what does not work, and adopt what does work.
*Shadowing. We have new hires come to work and observe their more experienced team members in action. That is all they have to do during this phase. Observe, ask questions and take notes. Doing this helps to solidify what they have previously only learned in theory.
*Role playing. This is very important. Some people feel awkward doing this at first, but if you keep at it and make it fun, it will pay off in a big way. The point of doing role playing is for each person to become familiar with the information and comfortable saying it to your customers. We have a saying where I work: “The first time you say something should never be to a client.”
*Hands on- This is the phase when we have our team member actually doing the job, but they are being closely supervised by another, more experienced coworker.
That is it in a nutshell. Keep in mind that each step may take place multiple days in a row and we tailor the training around each person. Everyone learns at a different pace and we ensure that we leave no one behind. It is also important to know that this is an ongoing program. We do not train once and are finished. You can master a skill through training and hard work, but continuing to train will ensure you stay at the top of your game.
I hope you found this post useful!
Keith E. Smith is the author of Your Time Is Now, a non-fiction book that encapsulates the principles and philosophy that will transform your life or business. He helps people (and teams) awaken to their potential and believes every person already possesses everything they need to live an amazing and fulfilling life…they just need to ask themselves the right questions. His greatest joy, and life mission, is to ignite the dreams of others, and to help them achieve success in their chosen endeavor.