Posted on 29/02/2012, 09:16
Almost my entire working life has been spent in sales, a good many years of which were in direct sales both over the phone and face-to-face. Whether you know it or not, if you run a business, you are very much in sales too! Every day! Here are just a few ways to do it better…
One of the key reasons why so few sales conversations are regarded as valuable by the potential prospect is simple: they fail to bring any new information or thinking to their mind.
If the prospect is already aware of, or, agrees with all of the points you are making – If you fail to challenge their thinking or come up with an important new fact, all you are doing is reinforcing their existing perceptions.
The conversation may appear on the face of it to be agreeable and might seem like a successful call or meeting. But you will probably have done nothing meaningful to differentiate your company or your offering in their mind.
However if you tell them something relevant that they didn’t already know, if you help them to think differently, if you arouse their curiosity and intrigue them with your pitch, the chances are that they will want to learn more.
Even if you’ve managed to persuade them to look at things in a different light, you’ve then got to follow up by bringing to their attention the consequences of not addressing the issue.
Before you pitch in with your solution, pause to explore and develop the potential impact – and get them to help you identify the issues themselves. Get them agreeing with you and steer that toward your solution.
The key here is to start to steer them away from the undeniable comfort of sticking with what they already know. You’ve got to help them recognise that addressing the issue is going to be less risky – and ultimately less uncomfortable – than hoping that the problem will go away.
Create the desire within them to want to solve the problem.
You have to sell the need for a solution before you can sell your solution.
Before you jump in and claim to have a “better” solution or product, it’s often better to establish just how and why your approach is different – and how you really understand the problem you have helped them identify and have managed to offer a better solution.
Where possible its advisable to make sure you describe what you do in a way that cannot easily be copied by your competition. A good idea is soon stolen!
Finally, the conversation should result in a positive affirmation of the difference you can help them make between their situation as it stands today and the outcome that by drawing upon all your experience and expertise – you are going to enable them to achieve.
Always remember that price is rarely the only factor driving a sale. Often quality will come above price in the list of list of priorities, that is not to say price is important. It’s almost always going to be a major factor. But if it’s a choice between a cheap but shoddy product or a slightly more expensive and better made one, generally option number two wins through.
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