Once upon a time, the only sales process salespeople had to master, was for foot traffic or, customers who physically came into the business and possibly the occasional phone call prior to them visiting. However, the nature of customer traffic and what constitutes a sales opportunity has changed. More and more customers are using the internet to research and purchase products and services, including big ticket items such as a new car or building a new home.
The old school salesperson may struggle to see online customers as genuine sales opportunities, believing if the person was legitimately interested in purchasing, they would take the time to visit the store or showroom. However, for a variety of reasons this is not necessarily the case. Today, people are time poor and shun the inconvenience of going from store to store to make a buying decision. With the amount of information now at people’s fingertips, many are choosing to start and continue a sales conversation from the comfort of their own home by browsing websites and submitting online enquiries.
This means, a shift in mindset for some salespeople is necessary, to not only see an internet enquiry as an opportunity but being open to learning a new process on how to handle them effectively and with confidence.
When a customer enters a store or showroom, a salesperson is able to greet, answer questions and chat with a customer to build rapport. With an online enquiry however, they are required to engage customers and build a relationship and trust without even meeting the customer. This is usually done through a combination of email and phone calls, depending on the nature of the business and requires a whole new set of skills.
Many businesses have mastered this process by bringing their procedures, systems and salespeople up to speed on engaging, nurturing and converting online customers. Those that haven’t, are running the risk of burning potential customers, not to mention the negative impact on their service reputation if online enquiries are being ignored, not responded to promptly or handled ineffectively.
Traditional foot traffic in many industries, is on the decline and large sums of money is being invested by businesses into having a website that attracts customers and encourages them to make contact or interact. These leads should be seen as potential customers or as opportunities that need to be maximised just like any other.