Selling vs Order Taking

Years ago I used to market commercial golf & leisure clubs. I recall giving countless tours around the venue I was promoting to membership prospects, one after the other. And therein lies the problem – you get comfortable, reeling off a standard spiel and thinking you’re a smooth operator with a silky patter. Hopefully, the prospect signed up and you congratulated yourself on a great selling job.

But it’s really just order taking! The prospect had probably decided to join before the tour, and all you did was avoid messing it up. The real skill lies in the things you didn’t say – or rather the degree to which you asked questions of the prospect and listened to the answers. “Where did you hear about us? What kind of work do you do? How do you think you’d use the club? Was it different from what you expected?” These questions give you valuable information about how your venue is viewed in the market place, and allow you to leverage the maximum value from the member you’re signing up.

This is the skill of engagement. It’s nothing more than a chat but represents the difference between a real salesperson and an order taker.

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