I thoroughly enjoyed talking about sales success at the Towcester Business Club Christmas dinner. Any opportunity to enthuse to a captive audience about my passion, Sales.
Annie asked me to talk about Sales Success and drawing on my own experiences with forming and developing The Last Hurdle™, I divulged my most effective techniques.
The venue, Towcestrians Sports Club, provided a delicious meal and their supportive staff helped with a minor technical issue, I will definitely look at holding an event here!
As the sales success presentation was so well received I decided to share my pearls of wisdom and post the meat of my Sales Success presentation. I hope you find these points a useful reminder of what it means to be a professional sales person.
- Be yourself – people buy from people, not faceless corporations. You have to be yourself, everyone else has been taken! Relax, be yourself and enjoy the moment. If you are not being yourself, then on a sub conscious level the person you are communicating with will realise that something is not quite right, they won’t know what isn’t quite right, but it can be enough to put the prospect off.
- Very high on my priority list, find out what your potential customer wants! This is sometimes called a needs analysis. It may sound elementary, but you would be surprised how little thought is given to finding out exactly what a new customer wants, even the NVQ board doesn’t seem to understand this very basic principal! I have an apprentice. They will spend a year learning how to be a sales person, He will be studying for a Sales NVQ lvl 2, I have read through the course… it teaches people, to overcome objectives, tells them how to highlight features and benefits… and all the other important sales processes, but doesn’t teach how to find out what a potential customer wants in the first place! If our nationally recognised qualifications doesn’t teach sales apprentices to find out exactly what a potential customer wants, is it any wonder sales and especially sales calls receive such a negative response?
- Listening and communication is key – are you communicating effectively with your customers, do all your customers know all the products and services you offer? I am not proposing you call each one up and talk to them until you are satisfied they know all your offerings inside and out, but I am suggesting you may want to drip feed into your marketing a schedule of product/service highlights… you do market to your existing clients don’t you?
- Spotting the potentials and identifying new target markets – if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got. Are there new emerging markets out there that need your services or products? An example of this, we seem to be enjoying a boom in the cottage industry type of home run business, a rather yummy and fairly successful sector is the cup-cake industry… you do not get a figure like mine by avoiding cup-cakes! Seriously, a lot of small home run cottage industries, all needing an accountant, IT, printing, software, health and safety, business advice etc. etc. etc. Are you currently targeting this market?
- Follow up! Always follow up on quotes and proposals, people will surprise you, even if you are absolutely certain this person will not go ahead, follow up anyway!
- Watch your language! Try to avoid negative language. Here’s a good example, commenting ‘ I am so pleased the snow has gone’ the focus here is that I am pleased but it is also triggering the annoyance and nuisance that the recent snow became, how about I say instead ‘I am so pleased we have the sun shining’ the focus is entirely positive.
- Never under estimate the power of silence. Once you have put forward your pitch or proposal, keep quiet. This is very important otherwise the tendency is to keep talking and justifying your prospect, if you keep silent the other person will fill the gap and usually fill it with their thoughts about the offering.
- Do you like to be sold to? No? And yet we have a tendency to sell to others! So if we don’t like to be sold to why do we think it’s OK to sell to others? Rather than talking at people, let’s make our offering educational, we have already found out want they want, now we need to educate them, give them all the knowledge they need to be able to decide upon the right product or service for them.
- Don’t argue with the customer. There is a vast difference to handling their objections and arguing with them. The customer is always right… even when you think they are wrong!
- Don’t sit back and wait for sales to happen, patience is a virtue but it won’t bring you new business. Activity is the only way to bring in new business. Regular activity will produce the best results. Don’t forget it takes a minimum of 3x months to build a sales pipeline.
- Ask for recommendations, these are the most valuable leads, third party referrals are key to building your sales pipeline. Ask your existing clients for recommendations, incentivise them if you wish.
- Don’t blag it. If you don’t know, say so, people will have a lot of respect and empathy for you if you are honest. Tell them I have never encountered that before, let me find out and I’ll come straight back to you.
- Remember to smile, if you are face to face or on the phone a smile will make the difference to your whole demeanor and even your tone, pitch and warmth of your voice, try it out.
If you found these sales success points interesting and would like to chat about sales training, discuss our business development services or you would like to invite The Last Hurdle™ to speak at your event then email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01604 654545.