We’re sharing helpful tips from Kevin Baumgart at Set Sales, which we call “Sales Hacks.”
For this series, Kevin shares tips and strategies that he’s seen work in print shops.
In this installment, Kevin talks about secret shopping. Stay tuned for more helpful tips!
Secret shopping, also known in the retail world as mystery shopping, is an excellent way to review how your shop operates and where it might need improvements.
Here’s why you should “secret shop” your own shop.
I’ve heard about a few shops doing this and wanted to call out the potential impact it could have on your business. From my experience in other industries, secret shopping can be eye-opening, and you might be surprised at what you find.
Let’s review how to execute this, what to look for, and how to coach staff with the information you gather.
I typically set up a Gmail account and use that for communications. When you reach out to your team with this email address, have a clear idea upfront of what you’d like them to quote out. I would pick something more complex than your usual print jobs to see their process. Then, I select and use a real company and communicate that I’m from that business.
Another option is to have a close friend or family member be the one to communicate everything. You can use their business as the company reaching out and provide them with communications like a drafted email.
What to look for
Here are some key areas to look for as you run the practice.
- Response time: How long did it take for your team to respond? How responsive were follow-up communications?
- Messaging/language: Were their communications on-brand? Did they have a friendly demeanor? Would you be happy doing business with them as a customer?
- Discovery process: Did they ask you the right questions? Did they get to the bottom of what you were hoping to accomplish with the order? Did they understand the decision-making process or just the technical details needed to quote the job?
- Quote effectiveness: Did the quote align with what you wanted? How was the delivery or presentation? Did they follow up after the quote?
Using the information from secret shopping
Revealing you were a fake customer and secret shopping to your team isn’t the most comfortable conversation. Make sure you explain why you did it and how you’re focused on making the shop better.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you coach to what you find:
- Share positives: More than constructive improvements. I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised with some aspects of the sales process. Communicate your appreciation for those areas.
- Coaching method: Follow a coaching conversation model to get their insights first before providing your feedback to them. If they are self-aware, they could come to the conclusion that you are going to communicate. It’s a much better learning experience for them if they come to this conclusion themselves.
- Acknowledgment: Show appreciation for their time, hard work, and dedication to the business and for self/shop improvement
- Recap: Share the results of the experiment with your whole team and discuss what you learned from it. You can use these discoveries for improvements across your entire shop.