Chances are, you’ve lost a sale that you thought was in the bag, and then wondered what happened. The way to improve the odds of success is to learn the basics. In fact, it’s been said that these are so critical to successful salesmanship that for each rule you violate, your chances of closing the deal can drop by as much as 50 percent.
As basic as these rules are, you’ll be surprised at how difficult they can be to learn and remember.
1) BE SURE YOU’RE TALKING TO THE DECISION MAKER:
Make sure the person who can say “yes” hears your proposal and is comfortable with it. Develop a relationship with the decision-making authority in the company. Often, this involves establishing a relationship with the “gatekeeper,” such as a CEO’s administrative assistant.
I remember learning this experience the hard way. Years ago when I was first marketing Daybreak, I met a plumber who expressed a lot of interest in our virtual staffing services. After some negotiating we were able to meet over lunch (which I paid for) and all seemed to be going well. As we were getting ready to leave, he said: “I really think we need your services, so I’ll run all of this past my boss and see if he’s interested!”
My response: “I thought you were the owner.”
His response: “Heck, no! I just started working there about a month ago – it’s been a great job!”
(And it wasn’t even that good of a lunch!!)
2) FOCUS ON THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE PROSPECT RATHER THAN YOUR ASSUMPTIONS OF HIS/HER NEEDS: LISTEN MORE AND TALK LESS!
By listening carefully and asking the right questions, you’ll learn what the customer needs and then be able to determine if you have the solution. (And if you’re not the solution, refer them to someone you trust who can meet their needs, and you’ll end up with two very grateful people).
3) KNOW YOUR COMPETITION:
Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt – it gives you an edge. The more you know your rivals, the more you can emphasize what you have to offer that’s different. Point out characteristics and skills that exceed the competition so the customer doesn’t make a choice based solely on price. Basically, you need to do more than your competitors, who probably sell pretty much the same service or product you’re offering.
4) LOOK FOR URGENCY:
A prospect who wants assistance within the next month or so is obviously more viable than one who is just thinking about buying. Shorten the sales cycle and create a sense of urgency by asking good questions. If you keep getting the stall, it’s probably not worth wasting your time to try to move forward.
5) JUSTIFY YOUR PRICE WITHOUT TRYING TO BE THE CHEAPEST:
When people say (or think) you’re “too expensive,” it’s often because they don’t think they’re getting enough value for their money. When you understand that all sales are based on emotion (removing pain or causing pleasure), you need to ask yourself a question: Are you just selling a product or a service, or are you fulfilling a need?
The reality is that, whatever product or service you are selling, you are really fulfilling a need; perhaps a need that the buyer hasn’t even realized because he hasn’t thought it through. So now you need to figure out how to explain your value so the buyer will understand the value you offer, and telling stories is a great way to do that.
Finally, remember that cost alone should never be the differentiation between you and your competitors, because there will ALWAYS be someone less expensive than you.
I hope you find these tips helpful.