Three Good Sales Ideas from my Waiter

Customer Service, Mystery Shopping AdelaideOver the weekend I was out and about doing my bit for the retail industry and sharing my resources with various lucky South Australian retail outlets.

I was surprised at how underwhelming some sales people can be.

It was a day of extremes with me feeling like a swinging pendulum as I encountered quite poor selling technique only to have my faith in personal selling restored upon meeting a passionate and skilled waiter in a new cafe.

The variation in sales skills and passion were so dramatic that I thought it worthy of sharing with you in the hope that it might spawn a couple of good sales ideas for you to use in your business.

He chased us

Yes, that’s right a waiter chased us.  This was after we had taken a quick look through the venue and could not find a table for four.  The waiter followed us outside a few meters and called to us to let us know that a table was about to become available.  Fantastic! How passionate is that and how chuffed were we to be such sought after clientele.

Now I am not suggesting that you wait for your next customers to walk out so that you can chase them down the street and invite them back in.  However, I think the concept of being aware of the value of each customer and being so passionate about customers that you won’t let them get away unnecessarily has significant merit.

Assertiveness, follow up and ‘chasing the sale’ are critical in competitive environments.

For many sales people and business operators the equivalent of my Waiter chasing me down the street is simply called ‘follow up’.

We were up-sold

Then after taking my order the same waiter took the time to up-sell me.  Apparently the Huevos Rancheros can be served with or without Chorizo.  Naturally, when asked I selected the premium option.

How many times do sales people, service staff and other business employees and operators miss the opportunity to ask their customers if they would like more or something else in addition to what they have already committed to.

Remember, more often than not, the old rule applies:

If you don’t ask – you don’t get!

He knelt before me

Well, he knelt before my seven year old daughter.

My youngest had decided that she was not hungry and that she was happy to just have a juice (i.e. more sugar).  The waiter immediately knelt down and brought his face down to her eye level. Now speaking eye-to-eye and in a very expressive way the waiter was quite irresistible to a young lady in need of assistance with her lunch order.  Together they soon agreed on ‘Toast with Friends’ (i.e. Toast with Jam and Honey).

Adaptability is often what separates a ‘good’ sales person from an ‘outstanding’ sales person.

So there you have it.  Three sales ideas from a waiter who gave me the impression that he had not had any formal sales training in his life.  He was a natural who clearly enjoyed his job, liked people and possessed these three personal qualities:

  • Assertiveness
  • Expressiveness
  • Adaptability

If you are keen for more on sales related topics my previous articles on Sales Metrics, Sales Projections, Sales Tools and Sales Tips might be of interest.