Selling lies at the very heart of every business. Whether you’re a new start-up or a growing company, you need to sell to survive.
Without a doubt, it’s a tough market out there. There’s never been more opportunity but there’s never been more competition. Price conscious and buying-savvy consumers are driving costs down and expectations higher. Time-starved consumers want to buy but resist being sold anything.
You’ve got less time to make your pitch and more competition knocking at your prospects’ door. It doesn’t matter whether you’re online or offline, whether you’re selling products or services, you have to make sales. Your pitch may be in an email, a phone call, or a boardroom presentation. Whatever it is, you need to include these elements:
1. Introduction. An introduction seems like an obvious thing to have. So obvious, in fact, that many sales gurus leave it out. But there’s a big difference between an introduction and an intentional introduction. You need an intentional introduction. Before you’re able to sell a single product or service to your prospect, you need to sell them on your credibility. If they won’t buy into your credibility, they won’t buy your product or service. Some of this may be taken care of when you set the appointment, but you need to reiterate it when you’re face to face with the prospective buyer. Take fifteen to thirty seconds of your sales call to:
a. Re-introduce yourself
b. Re-introduce the company
c. Tell them what the company can do for them (but do it in a way that doesn’t come across as “sales-y”)
EXAMPLE: “My name is Jim Johnson. I’m the marketing rep for XYZ Equipment. We’re the leading industrial safety equipment suppliers in North America and the reason why I work for them is because I like the idea of making businesses like yours safer for the worker and free of workplace injury claims for the employer.
2. Discovery. This is where you ask questions, then shut up and listen. Too many sales are lost because the salesperson’s voice drowned out the buying signals from the prospect. What’s more, don’t just listen to the words, but to the whole prospect. I know someone who was in a sales call with a prospective client, just last week. The client was saying that they weren’t interested, but their body language and inflection suggested otherwise. They contradicted themselves and back-peddled regularly. The sale was made because the salesperson saw their true interest and pushed-through the resistance.
3. Presentation. After discovering the needs and wants of a client, present your product or service in light of what you discovered. Emphasize the things they’ve indicated are important to them. Perhaps your product is much better than your competition’s. If the client only cares about delivery fulfillment (that they’ll get the order each week without delay) spend your time highlighting your success in that area and forget all the other bells and whistles that make your product special.
4. The Close. Ask for the order. There are lots of ways to close someone and that’s a topic for another time. The most important thing you want to know is this: If they say no, go back to the “Discovery” stage and try to understand why they didn’t buy. Don’t fall into the trap that many sales gurus suggest: that you need to keep going back to discovery until they do buy. That just makes you a pain in their schedules. Instead, go back to “Discovery” and try to determine:
a. Is it the right product but the wrong time? (You can come back later)
b. Is it the right product but the wrong price? (You can negotiate)
c. Is it the right product but there’s something else blocking the sale? (Discover it and deal with it).
d. Is it the wrong product? (That happens. Sometimes you misunderstood their needs. Thank them for their time and ask for a referral, then move on; don’t hound them).
Although email-based or phone-based sales may have slightly compressed or elongated times to perform these steps, you can be sure that effective sales calls contain these factors to some degree. Use them to sell more.