“If I go to one more customer service seminar where they tell me to smile, I’ll just scream”, exclaimed one conventioneer at this year’s Bowl Expo.
This same refrain, I am sure could be heard from a conventioneer at the American Restaurant Association, The Hardware Retailers Association, The Amusement Park Association and any other association that has customers…which is just about all of them.
Everyone is teaching and training and doing their best to increase the “customer experience”; to give great service; or “over the top” service; or “service that delights”; “service that exceeds expectations” and “service that makes the customer feel appreciated, wanted, needed and loved”.
Problem is everyone is focusing on the wrong thing.
Service is important, no doubt about it. But you can’t give great service to someone if you don’t have anyone to give it to and you can’t give service to someone if you or haven’t already sold them something or are not actively trying to sell them anything.
You need sales to service people. You need revenue to train people on “better service.” You need profits to expand and modernize your center so people will be attracted to come into it so you can sell more.
Without sales, you won’t stand a chance.
So here’s today’s $64,000 question: Who is teaching your employees to sell?
Recently a copy of Apple’s training manual got out. It’s called Genius Training- Student Workshop – all hundred pages plus.
It talks about training the employee to better help and serve the customer, but the reality is it is a very slick psychological training tool to get employees past sales obstacles and to use the famous “feel felt and found” tactic that has been taught for decades; fortunately it still works
Here’s a little excerpt of it. Note that the emphasis is on selling; NOT servicing. After all it is a store, says Apple.
“Before you can don the blue shirt and go to work with the job title of “Genius” every business day of your life, you have to complete a rigorously regimented, intricately scheduled training program. Over 14 days you and will pass through programs like “Using Diagnostic Services,” “Component Isolation,” and “The Power of Empathy.”
If one of those things doesn’t sound like the other, you’re right—and welcome to the very core of Apple Genius training: a swirling alloy of technical skills and sentiments straight from a self-help seminar.
The point of this boot camp is to fill you up with , listed conveniently on a “What” and “How” list on page seven of the manual. What does a Genius do? Educates. How? “Gracefully.” He also “Takes Ownership” “Empathetically,” “Recommends” “Persuasively,” and “Gets to ‘Yes'” “Respectfully.” The basic idea here, despite all the verbiage, is simple: Become strong while appearing compassionate; persuade while seeming passive, and empathize your way to a sale.
No need to mince words: This is psychological training. There’s no doubt the typical trip to the Apple store is on another echelon compared to big box retail torture; Apple’s staff is bar none the most helpful and knowledgeable of any large retail operation.
A fundamental part of their job—sans sales quotas of any kind—is simply to make you happy. But you’re not at a spa. You’re at a store, where things are bought and sold. Your happiness is just a means to the cash register, and the manual reminds trainees of that: “Everyone in the Apple Store is in the business of selling.” Period.
So your challenge for today is: start hiring people who have some propensity to sell, who may actually like it and who can succeed at it. Then go to your local college and see if you can find someone who can help to train your “sales organization.”
This isn’t about outside sales or inside sales. It’s about sales training; about developing a sales culture; about being in the business of creating business.
If you need help on this, please call us. We have been doing it for years: 516 359 4874