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BUSINESS TALK


Sales lessons from the Mercedes Benz factory


In this article, leading sales expert ANDY PRESTON, talks about the sales lessons you can learn from iconic car manufacturer, Mercedes Benz.


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would be useful ʻsales lessonsʼ for us all to be aware of.


Sales lesson No. 1 – Work the process


On the factory tour itself, it was fascinating to find out that the whole factory operates on a conveyor system, at different levels. Everything is timed and they know how long each procedure should take before the cars move onto the next station. Should they fall a few cars behind schedule however, itʼs not as if you can get a few people to come in on a Saturday to catch up – the entire factory has to be there as everything relies on small jobs on each station before moving on the next one. The sales lessons we can take from this is to think about our own prospecting process. In order for it to work as effectively as possible, it needs to be consistent, not stop-start. One of the biggest traps salespeople fall into is only prospecting when theyʼre quiet – yet only prospecting on a consistent basis will bring consistent sales figures.


Otherwise we potentially leave ourselves open to the sales roller coaster effect – our sales figures alternate between good and plain awful because we donʼt keep prospecting when weʼre busy.


Sales lesson No. 2 – Focus on the handover The handover is a key part of the process in sales, just as much as it is in the car business. Think about the handover you and your company may have to do at the moment. It might be a handover between colleagues, such as a salesperson and a project manager, or a salesperson and an account manager for example. It might even be a handover form the salesperson to the customer, or a delivery person to the customer. Whatever is the case, itʼs a vital part of the process – and also an area where a lot can go wrong. The smoothness of the handover counts for a lot – and is often the part when things go wrong. Whether itʼs the salesperson not preparing the account


n a recent trip over to the Mercedes Benz factory in Bremen, Germany to collect my new Mercedes, I noticed a number of things that


manager or project manager properly, or not managing the customer experience well, this part usually needs more focus than most people tend to give it. Mercedes excels at this part. A specially created coffee lounge where all the new owners sit and their cars are driven into the handover part of the showroom, everything is checked and youʼre given a tour of your new car and what it can do.


Sales lesson No. 3 – Do something extra they don’t expect Lots of people talk about adding value to their customers. Lots of companies bang on about their value proposition and how they excel at customer service. Yet most miss the opportunity to create even more buyer-loyalty by failing to wow them with a simple gesture.


Doing something extra that they donʼt expect – yet you know will be viewed as valuable to the customer – is one of the best ways of creating more enthusiastic and loyal customers, and more importantly, generating a stream of referrals. Yet most people still donʼt do it.


For Mercedes it was simple. Providing a map of sights and visitor attractions for a few miles around the factory was useful, as was the customer service staff member casually mentioning that because they knew I had a long drive back to the UK, theyʼd made sure my new Mercedes had a full tank of petrol at no extra charge. Now, am I naive enough to think that they only did that for me?


No. Am I daft enough to imagine it was something special they dreamed up on the spot? No again. But did it create loyalty, gratitude and a great impression nonetheless? Of course. So how can you create that yourself in your sales process?


Sales lesson No. 4 – Follow up swiftly after they’ve bought One of the most critical parts of the sales process is what happens just after the new client has purchased from you. This is an area that most salespeople neglect, as often


theyʼre not involved once the customer has bought, or have moved on to other prospects. Some time taken here to speak to the new customer can help avoid buyerʼs remorse, solve any difficult issues, and also be a good time to ask for referrals and testimonials.


It also creates the impression that you care about more than just getting the sale, and therefore deepens the salesperson/customer relationship – and thatʼs never a bad thing for business going forwards.


Mercedes excels in this area. Not only is the salesperson in touch a few days after you getting/taking delivery of your new vehicle to see how things are going, but they also have an independent customer survey call afterwards to see how they performed. Now Iʼm not saying that you have to go to those lengths, but if you or your colleagues put in a call swiftly after your customers have purchased from you, would that help your sales figures going forwards? Youʼre right, it would.


For help and advice call 0161 401 0142 or visit www.andypreston.co.uk | 70 | June 2015 www.printwearandpromotion.co.uk


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