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HOW TO INCREASE SALES – Why your teams’ attitude and ability to service is affecting your sales

Did you know that 93% of your customers are likely to make repeat purchases if you provide excellent customer service.

But here’s the catch, it’s your employee's ability and attitude towards sales and service that will either motivate customers to return and buy or encourage them to leave and never come back.

G’day guys, My name is Ian I am the founder of Train The Workplace, the free learning community for helping the business grow their people, improve productivity and generate more profit.

In this video, we will be looking at 3 types of hospitality salespeople and how each of them influences your customer's willingness to buy.

Your sales are a direct reflection on the quality of your products, your price and also quality of service you provide. 

This means that that you can have a great product at a great price, but if you don’t have a team of salespeople with the right ability and attitude, then you can still struggle to sell it.

To understand this better, think of your own experiences as a customer in a restaurant, café or bar and what type of salesperson you want to be served by? 

The first type of salesperson is the under-seller, this person is usually nervous about talking to customers, they have poor menu knowledge, they just don’t think about make any suggestions, or promote and specials or daily promotions. And where you the customer have to take the lead, and ask them to take your order, and tell them everything you want. 

The second type of salesperson is the over-seller, unlike the underseller they are usually overly confident and cocky, and they try to push you to buy more then you want to, or even the most expensive items on the menu. 

Most likely both of these experiences will leave a bitter taste in your mouth, where you either feel that you have had an underwhelming or unpleasant pleasant experience or where you feel that you have been ripped off. 

The problem is both of these types of salespeople will only end up annoying the customers and hurting your business, and studies have shown that as much as 

‘66% or 2 out of 3 of your customers will leave due to receiving this type of poor service. ’

The 3rd type of salesperson, is the service seller. These employees have high self-confidence and good menu knowledge, but just as importantly they are focused on consistently creating great customer experiences.

They ask questions to identify what the customer wants, they make sensible suggestions, and they can read when the customer is happy or dissatisfied.

Because they care about the customer's experience, they are able to quickly build rapport with their customers which leads to greater trust, and increased sales. 

So of these 3 types of salespeople do you want to be served by? 
The under seller, the over seller or the service seller?

The answers pretty obvious the service seller right. But how often does it happen? How often do you receive the quality of service that will encourage you to want to return and buy more? 

And more importantly what type of sales experience do your team give to your customers, and how does this influence them to buy or even return? 

Do you have a team of service sellers? 

And if not what can you do to help them to develop the right ability and attitude towards sales and service, that your customers want. 

What are your thoughts, do you agree, or do you have your own thoughts or comments on the different types of salespeople?

If so then leave some feedback in the comments section below.

HOW TO INCREASE SALES – Without using discounts and promotions


Are you looking for a simple and effective way to generate sales and increase customer loyalty in your restaurant, bar or café, all without having to resort to outrageous discounts or giveaways?

Then stay tuned because in this video I am going to show you how to do it.

If you own, run, manage or just work in the hospitality industry, then you know how hard it can be to increase sales, after all, you have lots of competition, more demanding customers, and every day of the week someone is offering outrageous promotions to try and steal your customers away.

Well, I am here to tell you, that if you focus your energy on increasing sales and building customer loyalty by offering freebies, discounts and giveaways, then you are setting yourself up for a fail.

The reality is apart from increase your prices there are only 3 main ways that you can increase revenue in your business

  1. You can get your existing customers to buy more of the same products, now this is relatively easy because your customers already know what you do and they are already buying these items from you.
  2. The second way to increase revenue is to upsell and cross-sell to your current customers, this requires your team to know what your customer wants and to then suggest additional items they may like.
  3. The 3rd way to increase revenue is to attract new customers to come and buy from you.

 And so this leads us to the big question.  

Where do you need to focus your energy and time? 

And the answer is to get mote customers right, after all your current customers are already buying from you so you.   Now, this seems does logical because more customers mean more money in the till.  Right!

Yes, this is true, but there is a catch, research has shown that it can cost as much as 5 – 10 times more money to attract a new customer then it does to sell to and keep your current customers.

These costs include everything from

  • advertising,
  • storage of additional menu items,
  • additional staffing costs,
  • and the lost revenue caused by those discounts, sales and promotions.

And even after spending all this money to get the new customers through the door, if you are unable to provide them with a great experience, then there is no guarantee they will want to return.

Plus your competition will be doing the same types of promotions, as they try to hunting for these same new customers as well.

And so, here is the irony.  Your current customers are your business's most valuable asset, and this is because they already know what you do and they already want to buy from you.

And if you consistently provide great service and great products, your current customers will want to  return,  and they will promote your business to their friends and colleagues to come as well.

Which means more sales.

But like all good things, building customer loyalty takes time and effort, it is not just about providing a great product at a great price, it is also about the service you provide

Your team need to build a relationship with each customer by getting to know them by name, remembering their order and creating a personalised experience every time they visit.

And once your customers love what you do, then why not ask them to review your business on  their social media communities like Facebook, open table or google.

These online reviews are powerful, because they encourage new customers to visit and buy, but best of all they are completely free. 

One word of warning through. Just make sure that as each new customer comes through those doors, that you treat them as if they are already a loyal customer, because when you make them feel special then you encourage them to want to return?

And maybe they might want to leave a great review online to.

What are your thoughts, do you agree or perhaps you have other some other tips to help increase sales?

If so then leave some feedback in the comments section below. 

Why performance gets worse before it gets better

When all employees learn a new skill, process or procedure their ability to do the job will be affected, no matter how much experience they have. 

One of the main goals of workplace training is to improve individual’s and team’s performance.

Let’s assume you want to introduce a new procedure on how to deal with customer complaints. It seems quite logical to assume that after someone has received training they will get better more confident and better at dealing with complaints, and customer service will increase. Right?

Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that.

The reality is when employees are learning something new like a new business process or procedure or how to use new tools and technology it is normal for general productivity and performance to drop. Even the experienced employees.

The reason is simple; as the new information or skill is learned the employee needs time to process and practice it in the learning environment before they can practice and adapt it to their job. In many cases, they may even need to unlearn old habits to accommodate for the new way of doing things. 

"the employee needs time to process and practice it in the learning environment before they can practice and adapt it to their job."

Why does it happen?

It doesn’t matter if the learner is experienced or new to the role, all employees will have a drop in productivity as they go thought each of the learning stages from awareness to practice to experience and finally to form the new habit.

The challenge is to ensure that the length of time from discovery to competence is as quick as possible.

To make it more challenging this will be dependent on each employee’s current level of ability and their willingness to change.

As an in-house trainer, our job is to provide effective direction and opportunities for them to practice. We then need to consistently reinforce the positive behaviours and correct the negative ones quickly, by providing regular feedback about each employee’s progress.

So next time you are looking to introduce something new into the workplace like technology, software or new procedures make sure you are supporting them adequately to compensate for potential changes in service speed and quality.

Tips to reduce the time to greater performance

  • Keep customers informed that you are looking to improve your service, and there may be some small changes happening.
  • Give employees chances to learn and practice in a non-customer focusing environment
  • Provide additional resources to support any drops in service or productivity
  • Reinforce learning constantly in team meetings and daily huddles
  • Have an effective way to monitor performance to support your teams
  • Praise positive behaviours/ learning
  • Correct negative behaviour quickly
  • Encourage healthy competition between employees

What are your thoughts, do you have a question or want to share your own experience?  then leave leave it below

Why trainers need to adapt their training style

How well your team learns, depends on how well you can identify what they know and can do and then adapt your training style. 

When adults learn new skills or refine existing ones, they go through 4 learning stages. Each of these stages has two measures. 

  • Awareness – The level of conscious thought on a skill
  • Ability – The level that something can be done.

The ‘Awareness to Ability Learning Model’ also referred to as the Conscious Competence Model demonstrates how each employee goes through the different stages from becoming aware to being able. 

  • Stage 1 - Unable & Unaware - During this stage, an individual lacks the awareness of the skills, knowledge or ability they need to do a certain task. They just don’t know they don’t know
  • Stage 2 - Unable & Aware - During this stage, the induvial becomes aware of their lack of knowledge and skill and ability to do the task.  They now know what they don’t know
  • Stage 3 - Able & Aware - Through practice and repetition the individual develops the essential knowledge and skills to do the task. However, progress is slow and requires a lot of effort and thought. They know what they know and can do
  • Stage 4 - Able & Unaware – In time and after repeated use, the individual can now complete the task without having to think about it (as if on auto pilot).  They are no longer consciously aware of what they known or what they can do.

This is a continuous cycle, and as the employee achieves 4th stage (Able and Unaware), they become good at the task and this then enables them to be able to find more complex tasks to learn.  

Example – Learning how to use a new Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) for processing sales 

Stage 1 - Unable & Unaware

Before seeing the programme in action, the employee/s are unaware of the software’s functions or how it works. 

Stage 2 - Unable & Aware

After attending a training session, employees become aware of the computer programme and its features and functions. They become aware of it but do not know how to use it.

Stage 3 - Able & Aware

After having a chance to practice employees are now able to use some of the functions of the EPOS, however, these take time and effort to do and progress is generally slow.

Stage 4 - Able & Unaware

After using the software daily, employees become both very competent and confident using the EPOS. The employee can use the general features of the programme with minimal thought, completing tasks with ease, almost as though they are on auto pilot.

The irony of bad habits 

However, there is an irony for employees if they develop bad habits along this journey.  As they reach the 4thstage (Able and Unaware), if they are not made aware of their bad habits and the impact they have, then they slip back into stage 1 (Unable and Unaware). Here they will need to learn how to stop doing the bad habits and exchange them for good ones.

How trainers can support their teams through each of the stages

As each employee progresses through the learning stages, the workplace trainer’s role must adapt from ‘tell and direct’ activities to, ‘asking and guiding’.    

  • Tell & Direct – The trainer needs to give clear and simple instructions, demonstrations and time provide additional support with manuals or how to guides.
  • Ask & Guide – The trainer takes on a coaching role by asking questions that encourage performance or challenge negative behaviours and attitudes.

The trainer's role through each of the learning stages

Tips for the 4 stages of learning:

  • Employees will progress through each of the stages at different speeds based on their current ability and experience.
  • Employees will become most frustrated as they progress from Stage 2 ‘Unable & Aware’, and Stage 3 ‘Able & Aware’.
  • Remind employees it is 'ok' to make mistakes.
  • Attitude is the hardest to change and will require constant reinforcement.

Have a question or comment about this article? Leave it in the comment section below. 

Why satisfied customers are affecting your business

Satisfaction does not create customer loyalty

Over the last decade there has been a massive push from businesses to deliver and measure on customer satisfaction.  

Today business use a wide range of tools from of GAP scores, Mystery shopper experiences, and on-line communities like Trip Advisor, GOOGLE and Open Table etc..

Typically, customer satisfaction is a measure of how your product or service meets a customer’s expectations

The customer loyalty myth

Customer satisfaction does not create customer loyalty.

Why?   you might be asking yourself. 

Surely if a customer is satisfied with their experience they’ll be happy and more willing to return right.   Well not really - a customer can walk away from your business satisfied with the service, the meal or the drinks but this is not enough to make them into a raving fan. 

Today’s customers have more choice and options than ever before, so building loyalty is harder than ever.

If we use a typical customer satisfaction rating scale and ask customer to rate their experience from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied).  Logic would suggest that the higher their level of satisfaction, the higher their level of loyalty to a brand would be. 

But this is not the case. 

The customer loyalty reality

Customer loyalty is both an attitude and behaviour of a customer to favour, visit or buy from one brand over another. Each customer’s loyalty towards a brand will be influenced by how they value the product or services.

However, the reality is that the way a customer value’s your products and services is not as simple as you might expect. Studies in the late 90’s by the three Harvard professors (JL Heskett, The Service Profit Chain; The Free Press; New York 1997) identified that customers can be slotted into 3 different zones.

  • How Rating 1 – 3.5 - The “Defectors” are those customers who are “extremely dissatisfied” to “slightly dissatisfied” with the service of the company.  These customers will not only leave, but they are also most likely going to tell their friends, colleagues and post reviews on the internet
  • Rating 3.5 – 4.5 - The “Indifferent” customers are generally happy with the service but will they come back? Maybe. They are happy but not loyal. 
  • Rating 4.5 – 5 - The “Loyal” customers are truly satisfied with the company or the service offered resulting in true loyalty to the company. They will continually return, bring their friends and buy off you.

In a world of high competition, and even higher customer expectations there is now an even greater need to deliver your products and services to exceed the customers’ expectations and deliver great value. 

If you looked at your current customer service scores which zone are most of your customers?  

Do you have any questions or comments?  Leave them in the comment section below. 

Customer Service Training Vs Coaching

If the fundamentals of customer service are so easy why do most training programmes fail?  

One of the biggest challenges to running a customer service programme is that each of your employees has different levels of

  • ABILITY (knowledge and skills),
  • ATTITUDE (how they think about customer service), and
  • EXPERIENCE (either as an employee delivering customer service or having been a customer themselves).

 This causes problems because a one size fits all approach to training doesn’t work.  

Imagine you run a restaurant and you deliver a great product but your customer service scores are ordinary or poor, and you decide you need to do something to improve them.

 What would happen if went to your experienced team members and told them that you were going to deliver a customer service training? How would they respond? Would they cheer and congratulate you for the great news, or would they roll their eyes, mutter under their breath, or just tell you outright ‘What a waste of time it would be’

Most likely the latter 

On the flip side, what happens if you tell your inexperienced staff they are going to be doing customer service training that involves lots of roll-playing and group activities to help them create real life scenarios to help them deal with customers.

Instant shock, resistance and even in some cases fear.   

Why training by itself doesn't work

The reality is if you put your entire team through the same sheep dip style training programme, your only guarantee is, that it will not work.  

You also run the risk of demotivating the experienced employees who due to their influence in the team, can become negative about the training, which influences how and what the new employees learn.  

So, what’s the solution?

When you design any type of customer service programme you need to consider your team’s needs and expectations. 

  • Inexperienced employees need more hands on and direct training where you provide all the information and directions they require.
  • Experienced employees who already know what to do and how to provide great service, however, for what ever reason may not be doing it, so you need to find out why and help them to resolve it. 

 To do this there are two main types of learning activities you can choose:   

  1. Customer Service Training – When you need to impart new knowledge and skills to the employees (usually the inexperienced ones). 
  2. Customer Service Coaching – When you help employees who have received the training and are capable to do the task to improve their performance.     

You can see in the table below how and when to use each learning activity. 

When do you stop training and start coaching?

As we have discussed training is great for introducing new topics and approaches to employees, however, without repetition, reinforcement and practice employees will either forget, fail  or choose not to use what they have learned at work.

The key to ensuring all employees can and will provide consistently excellent customer service is to:

  • build their ABILITY (knowledge and skills) by providing training when needed,  
  • reinforce and encourage their ATTITUDE (why they choose to do the right thing) through one to one coaching, and giving constant feedback. 

And, over time and with the right EXPERIENCE, they will soon learn the value of delivering exceptional customer experiences, which will motivate them to continue to do it. 

The reality is that adults irrespective of their experience are always learning, either something new or reinforcing what they already know or think they know.

Meet each of your employees learning needs and expectations and you are well on the way to helping them to generate great customer experiences. 

Do you have any questions or comments bout this article?  Leave a comment below.