Last updateWed, 15 May 2019 3pm

Brad Huisken

Sales Contests


Sales contests are a means by which you can increase sales and/or profits while at the same time making the job fun for your salespeople.  Salespeople overall are very competitive by nature and it is to your advantage to make the most of this competitive spirit.

You hate it – but you have to do it!

Most people hate to role-play.  However, as professional salespeople you have to do it.  Athletes have to practice, lawyers run mock trials, doctors work on cadavers, mechanics spend hours practicing before they are allowed to work on a machine, and pilots spend hours in flight simulators.  Sales is the only profession that I can think of where the people that are doing the work actually practice on their customers.  No wonder most stores don’t maximize their potential in sales.  Why do baseball players stand in the on-deck circle swinging two bats or a bat with a weight on the end?  Why does Tiger Woods hit 5000 golf balls a day on the driving range?  The answer is simple: In order to be the best they can be.

It amazes me that in many stores that I go into the salespeople have never sat down and thought about what they were going to say to a customer before they said it. Many have never written down, memorized, and practiced asking good, solid, information gathering, open-ended questions.  Most have never written down, memorized, and practiced questions that cause the customer to tell them what other jewelry pieces they may be interested in buying not only now, but in the future as well. 

We all know that people buy our products for a variety of different reasons.  Some are emotion based, some technically based, others are impulse buys, and some are even just to keep up with their peers.  Therefore, salespeople should have practiced all these different types of situations. 

Practice giving Features, Benefits, and Agreement Questions.  Most jewelry salespeople that I encounter give presentations that are chocked full of features, yet customers don’t buy features, they buy benefits.  It is not what the item has; it is what the item will do for the end-user, the customer.

As adults, it is very difficult for us to learn new information.  Our brains are full of so much stuff that it is sometimes extremely hard to retain new information that is to be learned. Some people are visual learners others are more auditory and still others need to learn through hands on experience. The bottom line is that all of us need to learn, retain and apply new information in all areas of our lives, especially professionally when it comes to salesmanship. There is so much new information to learn and the industry is changing so quickly that it sometimes seems nearly impossible to keep up. 

It is my experience that if an adult is to learn, retain and be able to apply new information the following five criteria must be met.

1) Hear the information - through the spoken word or through audio media.

2) Read the information - reading the information allows the participant to go back through the information and review immediately if the information wasn’t understood completely.

3) Write the information - Written understanding, or testing, of the information being taught guarantees that the information was understood and through memorization the retention begins.

4) Role-play the information that was taught - through role-playing a person begins to retain the application of the information that was taught, thus increasing the retention and application factor.

5) Do it in real live situations - Doing the strategies or techniques as taught in real life makes the learned information “real” and proves to the participant that the information does in fact work. Again throughout the process adults will retain and be able to consistently apply the information being taught.

If you have taken responsibility for yourself and your own success, you will follow these five criteria for training.  I can assure you the most important of the five is role-playing.  Get yourself to the point of when a customer gives you an objection, asks an unusual question, doesn’t know what they are looking for, doesn’t have any product knowledge, etc., you will be saying to yourself, “I have practiced that situation a hundred times.”  True professionals get themselves to the point where when a customer comes in they are thinking, “I wonder how much I can sell them,” as opposed to what most salespeople think, “I wonder if I am going to sell them.”  Role-playing gives you confidence and confidence makes good salespeople great.

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and  produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit his website at www.iastraining.com.


My staff doesn’t seem motivated!

So you think that your staff doesn’t seem motivated. You don’t see them prospecting, making phone calls, enthusiastically helping customers, and generally aren’t doing much of anything to create sales. They just sit back and wait for customers to come in and then they give them a half-hearted presentation. What can you do?

The Be-Back Bus isn’t coming back

Last month we started to discuss the process of handling objections. Objections should be recognized when a customer says something like, “I need to think it over,” “I need to shop around,” “I’ll be back,” etc. When a customers gives an objection, they are telling you they are not convinced.  This tells you that something is going on in the sales presentation. The primary reason a sale is made is based on trust and value; therefore, a sale is lost due to a lack of trust, value or both. The reasons for the lack of trust and/or value are numerous. Every selling situation is different.

The process of saving sales

You have done everything in your power to give the customer a memorable presentation. You have developed a relationship, established trust, shared in the emotional reason why the customer is buying jewelry, asked the proper questions to determine what is important to the customer in the selection of jewelry, demonstrated the product based on the information learned and have finally asked the customer to buy. Then it happens, the customer gives you an objection. The customer states that he/she needs to look around a little bit, that your store is the first place they have shopped, or they need to talk to the spouse. Believe me it happens to everyone - rejection! Apparently, somewhere in the sales presentation, something went wrong.

How to turn over

There are three basic types of Turnovers that I will explain in the course of how to turn over.  They are the Technical Turnover, the Formal Turnover, and the Second Voice Turnover.

25 Customer Service Commandments

People have been in search of good service for decades, if not centuries.  Prospects and customers will continue to patronize the salespeople that provide exceptional service to them.  Good, bad, or indifferent, the service that you give when selling has a direct effect on your success in sales.  The rewards of exceptional customer service are high - completed sales, referrals, and repeat business.

1. If you say it, do it.  Nothing will upset a customer faster than not fulfilling a promise that has been made.

2. Satisfy every customer.  At the very least we need to insure that every customer we have is satisfied.  In reality a professional salesperson will attempt to take every customer to the next level, that being a personal trade customer. 

3. Keep personal problems out of business.  Everyone has personal problems.  I know that 90% of the people out there really don’t care about your personal problems, and the other 10% are probably glad that your life is more miserable than theirs. When dealing with your customers, always leave your personal issues behind.                

4. Use their name.  Customers love to be addressed by name.  Using their name gives the customer a sense of acknowledgement that you recognize their importance.  Using a customer’s name also instills a sense of personalization to the entire sales process.    

5. Dress for success. I believe that customers want to deal with professional looking salespeople.  No matter what industry you are in, you should always look your very best.         

6. Give them your full attention. Always give customers your full, complete, and undivided attention.  There is no way that you can concentrate on every word that the customer is saying if there are outside conversations taking place, the telephone is ringing off the hook, other salespeople are distracting you or any number of other occurrences that can take place.          

7. Never interrupt. Never, ever interrupt a customer for any reason whatsoever. What the customer has to say is far more important than anything you have to say.                                

8. No fast-talking. The days of the slick, fast talking salesperson are gone.  If you are talking fast and go past a word or a phrase that the customer doesn’t understand, in all likelihood you just lost a sale.    

9. Sell with enthusiasm. The amount of enthusiasm that you project in your presentation will have a direct effect on the amount of enthusiasm your clients have toward your products and services. 

10. Smile, Smile, Smile. A smile is contagious.  No one wants to deal with a sourpuss that acts as though they hate their life, your life, and everyone else on the planet’s life. 

11. The Golden Rule. Do unto others, as you would want them to do unto you.  Someone said to me recently “Do unto others as they want to be done to.” 

12. Make it fun. If it isn’t fun, it probably isn’t worth doing.  Whether it be buying or selling, the entire process has to be fun for all parties concerned. 

13. Don’t point, take. It is rude to simply point the customer in a direction. Take the extra few seconds and walk the customer over to what they were interested in, even the restroom.

14. Don’t tell people what you can’t do, only what you can do. I get so tired of hearing what people can’t do. The customer only cares about what you can do for them.

15. Acknowledge every customer within 10 seconds. At the very least a customer must be acknowledged when they walk into the store. I would prefer they are greeted, however if busy with a customer at least acknowledge them with a look or a hand gesture.

16. Look for opportunities to provide Heroic Customer Service. Offer to carry a package, walk someone to their car, help them load or unload things, use an umbrella if it is raining. These are the things that customers tend to tell others.

17. Follow proper telephone etiquette. A warm, friendly greeting, i.e. Good morning, the complete name of the business and your name, is the proper way to answer the telephone. If you have to put someone on hold, ask them if its OK. In addition, offer to take a message and make sure the message is complete.

18. Sincerely thank and invite back every customer. Whether they did business or not. To say “your receipt is in the bag, no problem, enjoy, here you go,” or “thanks,” is unacceptable. A sincere “thank you” and an invitation to return is the way to go.

19. Offer a Customer VIP Card. Most people want to be a VIP. Give them the opportunity in your store. Introduce it in a way that is customer benefited, and above all, get permission for future follow-up and an e-mail address.

20. All inquiries must be handled within 24 hours. This goes hand in hand with commandment #1. If a customer has inquired about a repair, special order, date of delivery etc. make sure you handle those situations within 24 hours and let the customer know exactly when you will be getting back to them.

21. Send a Thank You note to every customer that spends over $____. Bring back the lost service of thank you notes. You will find your customers actually come back and thank you for the thank you, thus further developing your relationship with that person.

22. Introduce yourself and attempt to get their name. Always introduce yourself and attempt to get them to tell you their name. Name tag or not, an introduction is more professional. This should be done after having a meaningful, non-business conversation.

23. Answer all questions accurately or get someone who can. You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff I have heard salespeople say to a customer. Don’t make up stuff, get the correct answer.

24. Review terms on all transactions requiring payments, and have customer sign documentation. Eliminate any misunderstandings on lay-aways, special orders, custom jobs, buys, loans, etc.

25. Go the extra mile. True professionals will go the extra mile and do something different to ensure that the buying experience was a memorable one. In turn you will receive word of mouth advertising. There isn’t a more powerful form of advertising than simple word of mouth.

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and  produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit his website at www.iastraining.com.