In sales, there is only one goal: turn a prospect into a satisfied customer. That satisfied customer pays your bills, advertises your business, and refers their friends. They are the single largest revenue generator your company has, and they are the goal that all other activities in business must serve. Building the sale carefully creates satisfied customers. How do you do it? For today, let’s use the example of a waiter in a restaurant.
The Restaurant Example
The prospect is the diner seated at a table in your section. They are not yet a customer because they haven’t ordered. And you don’t know if they’re satisfied until you see the tip, or better yet, see them come back to dine again. The waiter (salesperson) has the job of building the sale (order.) If the water asks, “What would you like to drink?” the check will be smaller than if they come to the table with a sparkle in their eye and tell you all about the “cool, refreshing Mojitos” that are tonight’s drink special. The more things a diner orders, the more opportunities the restaurant has to delight them, and turn them into a loyal customer. And the more things they order, the larger the check.
If the waiter recites the appetizer specials like a grocery list, that’s going nowhere. If he says, “Asparagus is at the peak of it’s season right now, so the chef created an amazing asparagus appetizer. It’s grilled with a little salt and olive oil, some plum tomato slices, and served with a caramelized onion jam and goat cheese. It’s amazing!” with some energy, it’s likely to sell pretty well. Even if the diners weren’t planning to order an appetizer, that presentation will make them consider it. The appetizer helps in building the dining experience, and in building the sale.
What if you, the waiter (salesperson), hate the product? You may have to work harder. Your customer should never know you’re a vegetarian selling steak. Your job is to present each dish (product) in its most attractive light. When you do this, people will buy it. Bigger checks mean bigger tips, and the company stays in business to employ you tomorrow.
The biggest mistake waitstaff (salespeople) make is putting themselves in the place of the diner (customer). You are not making a living as a diner. You are making a living as a waiter. When you walk into work, you are now a sales specialist. You need to educate the diner, make sure their needs are met, and both of those things increase your check. It’s not about “fooling” them into anything. They’ve come to the restaurant with the intention of enjoying food. They want a dining experience that they couldn’t replicate at home.
Assuming the waiter has done his job properly, the diner may leave with an uneaten portion of food in a doggie bag because they ordered more than they could eat. That’s terrific. When they’re enjoying their leftovers, they’ll be looking forward to when they can go back to the restaurant! Best of all, the waiter will know he has maximized the check. They ordered something from each menu category, and ate as much as they reasonably could. The tip is as high as you could achieve.
If the waiter is truly a professional, he encouraged them to come back. He planted the seed for other ways the diners can enjoy the product, like catering or private parties. When the diner comes back in and wants to be seated in his section, he’ll know they are a satisfied customer. Now he needs to do it again!