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Jul 10
2003

Make That Sale

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

Every day, Wilma connected with customers and made sales, while Brad usually left the customers' office empty handed. Each sold the same product and each had a great prospect list, but the difference was in how Wilma was able to connect with each customer.  All salespeople need to understand this basic reality: you have a very short time to connect with your prospect.  Within this reality, there are several important principles to always remember:


#1-First impressions form fast! 



Studies show that within 60 to 120 seconds, prospects will form a lasting judgment of you and your product. Everything, from your appearance to your first words, will form that enduring impression. 



Most customers will have subjective criteria for passing judgment on you and your product. Unfortunately, any negative perceptions will be more unforgettable than any positive perceptions created. 



When arriving at appointments, be on time! People may accept your excuse and let you off the hook, but the tardy impression will stick. 



Your personal appearance will also lock in a long-term image from your customers' perspective. Arrive with rumpled clothes or papers sticking out of your portfolio and that picture will last.
#2-Speed is everything


You may want to spend the first few minuets of a meeting developing a personal relationship and becoming a friend with the prospect, but those first few critical minutes may be used ineffectively. In today's fast paced business world, prospects want you to get to the point as quickly as possible.

 


The prophet Isaiah wrote, "'Present your case,' the Lord says. 'Bring forth your strong arguments'" (Isaiah 41:21 NASB). When selling, your strongest arguments must be presented quickly and articulately.
#3-What is unique should be the focus

Determine in advance what you believe is the best argument, and get there fast. If your key competitive advantage is price, quickly demonstrate that fact. If quality, service, or selection is key, go there first. 



Not long ago, I met with a soft drink company that was struggling to make sales of its "off brand" cola in the marketplace. I asked the owner how each prospect was approached and he explained that the focus was on how their cola was just as good as Coke or Pepsi. 



"You will lose the argument every time," I explained, "because if everything is the same about the drinks, then they will simply buy Coke or Pepsi." 



After further discussion, the key competitive advantage became apparent: low pricing. The sales presentations changed, with a focus on explaining how the low cost would increase a restaurant's profit margins. As a result, sales started picking up. 




#4-Customer benefit is key 



Develop and practice your introductory statement to insure you get to the point swiftly, focusing on how you can benefit the customer. This is key!


If high quality machine tools will improve tool life, saving money long term, then demonstrate that fact up front. If extensive warehousing and fast delivery time will reduce required inventory and cost of maintaining that inventory, then focus on that point.


#5-Objections are to be overcome


When challenged, be prepared to turn objections into opportunities to strut your product's stuff. Avoid canned answers to questions and develop an ease of effectively responding directly to the question. 



Take in and understand each question carefully to insure you directly answer each query.


Often, as a customer, I have asked pointed questions and received indirect, incomplete, or off-base responses, sending me the message that the salesperson is ill informed.


#6-Customer need is always first


Always focus on the customers and their needs, never your own situation. Saying you need the sale to win a contest, make your quota, or keep your workers busy only turns off the prospect.


The key is what you deliver to the customer, not what you expect the customer to deliver to you. 


Apply these same principles, whether you are selling your product or service to a customer or promoting your great idea to management, and watch your career move forward.

Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach

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