It’s one of the most infamous quotes in retail—and movie—history:
“A-B-C. A… Always, B… Be, C… Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING!”
As sales mantras go, it’s a line that can seem manic and crass — especially when heard in the middle of a profanity-laced tirade from Blake, a ruthless realtor played by Alec Baldwin in the 1992 movie adaption of David Mammet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross.
But it does underscore a retail reality.
While customer experience, marketing, location, lead generation and merchandise inventory are all central to building a successful enterprise, completing sales—closing—is the critical action that sustains and builds businesses.
For owners, managers, and the staff of spa dealerships that offer luxury experiences, converting store traffic into paying customers can be an existential issue.
The Growth Mindset
That said, there’s much more to generating successful sales outcomes than aggressive, super-macho tirades and slogans. And nothing, according to Davin Christensen, Bullfrog’s Retail Sales Manager, may be more important than the mindset of the sales staff.
“You must have confidence in yourself, your team, your product,” says Christensen. “But it starts with mindset. If I’m a sales associate and I’m not being true or confident in myself, how can I get someone to buy a $15K spa?
Christensen says sales associates with a growth mindset consistently look for ways to improve their performance, personal effectiveness, talents, and skills.
To that end, Bullfrog Spas has been putting mindset front and center for its partners who send associates to Sales Excellence training classes, two-day sessions offered twice a year at the company’s Utah factory.
“We focus on mindset early in the first day of training,” says Adam Patrick, Bullfrog’s Director of Sales for the Eastern U.S., who runs the classes with Regional Manager Dave Henderson. “We talk about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset and encourage participants to be open to trying new things. Then they take a little mindset quiz. The scores place everyone with a range of being very fixed or being very growth-oriented and open-minded.”
Building on the growth theme, attendees receive a copy of Bullfrog’s 159-page Sales Excellence Guide, engage in sales role-playing, and focus heavily on critical steps to sales success.
These steps are part and parcel of the mindset for sales teams; putting them into action to optimize the customer experience is the key to closing.
“The first step is welcoming the prospect —how you interact with that prospect initially when they first step into your store,” says Patrick. “What your demeanor and attitude is when they step through that door is vital because their perception of who you are and how you act matters a lot. We only get one opportunity to make a first impression.”
Adds Henderson: “We talked about having the right mindset and establishing that the prospective customer coming through the door isn’t just here to waste your time. You have to believe that when they come, they’re there to buy a hot tub, and the sale is up to you. If you don’t have the right mindset or good attitude, things are going to go downhill quickly.”
The second step is having a prospect focus conversation, and involves “active listening” on the part of sales associates. “Listening and getting to know your prospect is what we call PFC—prospect-focused, not product-focused—conversation,” says Henderson.
The third step is what the retailers call the unified sales message. “It articulates what makes our product distinctively different from our competitors. So it’s the uniqueness of Bullfrog spas overall — how it’s different from a Jacuzzi or a Hot Spring or any other spa.”
The remaining steps involve “trial closing” — helping the customer narrow their choice of spa, the color, the size— and” overcoming objections,” which ties back to the importance of being honest and upfront early in the engagement.
Step Six is the actual closing and financing options, while the final step involves following up — because happy, satisfied customers are more likely to close again in the future.
The Most Important Mindsets
Asked what he considers the most crucial step, Patrick didn’t hesitate. “I would say having a prospect-focused conversation is the most critical. The unified sales message is focused on product, and I can teach anybody about the product. Taking the time to find out who you’re selling to and getting potential objections out of the way up front—is when you see a really skilled salesperson because they moved closer to the close. When the objections start coming, which is part of the process, there won’t be that many because everything has been addressed upfront. And if you can address everything upfront, it makes it much easier to close.”
But to hone that step, to practice listening and relating, Henderson recommends investing in the class. “It’s only $149, and the people who come have fun, but they also walk away with a great learning experience. We do require them to use our online training resource, which highlights the nuts and bolts of the product. But that’s because we want to talk about salesmanship and how we can polish you up. I don’t want to sit there and teach you about spa jets because you can learn that on your own. Our training is set up to polish sales teams and build confidence. We feel it’s just like playing sports. The more you practice it, the more you role-play, the more confidence you’ll have in front of that consumer.”