It’s amazing what you can learn about sales in the most unusual places!

I wish I made time to go to the swimming pool more often but I don’t. This afternoon however I decided to take a little time away from the PC and have a swim at my local leisure centre.

Despite it being the school holidays and the pool being full of screaming kids and anxious parents, they had still cordoned off two lanes for “serious swimmers” and so I got my exercise. The problems only arose when I came to leave after having showered and changed. The usual entry/exit doors now had turnstiles and were marked “No Exit”.

Puzzled and a little confused I followed the new arrows directing me down a corridor I’d never ventured before and through a set of doors into – guess what – The Cafe! Now there is no escape from the centre without going through the cafe and the temptation of spending some of my hard earned cash on a coffee, sandwich or a muffin!

Even the leisure centre has fallen in line with every other “attraction” which cunningly forces you to leave only via the shop!

So what can we learn from this little story?

Well first off – It’s a highly effective strategy – I bought a coffee and lots of other parents were there buying drinks and food for their little angels too.

So how can we apply this to sales and marketing. Well here’s a couple of ideas to get you started.

If you sell products on your web site, how good is your site at leading your visitors to your “shop”? The more links you have to other pages on your site or indeed to external sites, the easier you are making it for people to exit away from your selling messages. That’s why so many Internet marketers use product or service specific micro sites for selling. – The only links you see in these types of sites are to the shopping cart or to further product related sales information.

But what if you don’t sell via the web? Well in my years as a salesperson, sales trainer and coach I have seen many salespeople have wonderful “conversations”with their clients without ever asking the customer if they are ready to buy. If you don’t ask closing questions, you are allowing your prospects to potentially exit your “store” without passing the cashier!

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