The Guest Model: Secure

December 1, 2017

Our favorite workflow acronym at The Brandt Group is GUEST. While the model has existed as a sales flowchart for quite a while now, we’ve tweaked it to amplify customer service over pure sales, which we believe will not only help win long-term loyalty from your customers, but also ensure lasting profitability.

As you’ve no doubt guessed, each letter stands for a step in the employee-customer interaction, and it makes for an easy mental checklist for your staff to follow. Over the next few weeks we’ll cover each of these steps and how we like to measure them in our mystery shops.

Continuing from last week’s overview of Explain, the next letter in the acronym is S, which stands for Secure. After offering products or solutions that meet the expressed needs of the customer, the opportunity to secure the sale presents itself. Sometimes, this will be easy because the customer will have no questions or objections, and will be ready to make a purchase then and there. Often, however, there will be pushback or more questions of some kind. It’s important to not get flustered and to keep the conversation casual and friendly when this happens. If the customer has objections, like price concerns or whether a product or service meets all his or her needs, listen earnestly. To effectively address those objections, the employee must make sure he or she understands exactly what the customer is saying.

Price is the most common objection anyone working in sales will face—by far. But before retreating to cheaper alternatives or sacrificing profit with pack-ins or other freebies, employees should make sure they reinforce the value of the product. Done correctly, this will be executed during the earlier Explain stage, when a product or service is described, but a reminder at this point can be very helpful, especially if the employee frames it specifically to what the customer has already expressed. Aspects like quality, longevity, features, and more should be underscored, to be sure, but how all these values tie in with the customer’s expressed needs is even more critical. This will demonstrate that the employee is paying attention and really cares about the customer’s needs. As we mentioned in the overview for Understand, everyone wants to be heard and—by extension—understood.

Finally, closing language should be used: employees must ask for the sale before the end of the conversation. One school of thought suggests that sellers should assume the sale and move to ring up or place the order of the customer without asking. This is presumptive, however, and it’s better to casually move in that direction without being so abrupt or direct. (The ABCs of sales, Always Be Closing, as punctuated in Glengarry Glen Ross, applies, but use a soft touch.) Instead, a line like, “Sounds like we found the right item for you. Are you ready to check out?” or “Are you ready to get started?” are safer and more respectful. Regardless, employees should never fear being told no; as Nora Roberts wrote, “If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.”

Whether the customer chooses to buy that day or not, we still move to the final step in the GUEST process, Thank, where follow-up commitments and more will happen. Stay tuned for next week, where we’ll conclude our overview.

The Brandt Group can help your business with its operational development, including implementing best practices like Overcoming Objections and Asking for the Sale. Call us today to learn more.

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