Build on Trust
Use your communication skills to convey a message that it makes good business sense to trust you, because you are honest and trustworthy. Successful salespeople inspire trust. The hallmarks of a good leader are one who has vision, deserves respect, is accountable, has a clear sense of direction and has confidence.
Stick to Business
Ask important and real questions. A little small talk to establish rapport is fine, but get down to business, so you don’t waste your prospect’s time. Use a single question to make the transition from small talk to business, such as “As was mentioned in our call/email, we are here to talk about XYZ?” Plan to ask about the clients’ responsibilities, so you can help them improve, whether that involves increasing sales volume or performing other tasks better.
Be in Control
Guide the conversation in the direction you want, and inform the prospect where you are going. Take the lead in stating where you are in the sales cycle, so he or she feels more comfortable about the process — from initial contact to closing the sale. When you arrive, explain that first you will inform the prospect about your company; then note that you are ready to ask questions to get the information to move the sales cycle ahead, and so on.
Respond to their requirements
Engage your prospects by responding clearly to their statements about their requirements and what you sense are their unstated requirements. Create a “core of understanding” or a framework you can use to achieve solutions to their current problems. Adapt these responses, since every customer is different and will react differently to your presentation.
Know your target market
Identify the most suitable customers for your product or service and tailor your approach. Look for prospects that match your profile of a good customer for your product. Determine your niche and the customers most likely to buy from you and target them. When you contact these selected people, be as tactful as an educator or a facilitator. Win your prospects with information, not with high-pressure tactics.
Cover all the bases
Don’t be pushy with the leads that “fall into your lap,” such as when someone calls for information. You may be tempted to close the sale right away, but don’t leap too quickly. That’s a turn-off. Focus on developing a relationship first. Share some small talk to build rapport and get a sense of the person. Then, ask questions to learn what the person wants and why he or she contacted you. Don’t try to close a sale on the phone, even if the person seems to want to. Your goal is establishing a personal relationship first.
Make your solution specific
Make your product or service fit your prospects’ needs. Find ways to be adaptable and flexible. Look at different ways to make your product presentation different or find new groups of people to approach.
Fix rather than sell
Present yourself as a consultant — and see yourself as one, too. You are doing more than selling a product. You are a “professional problem solver.” When you sell to a business, you are solving their problems about becoming more profitable.
Take notes — writing them down has value and so does owning them to guide you after your meeting. Taking notes will help you: 1) listen and pay attention to important points; 2) show that you are in a position of control and authority; 3) analyze the information from your meeting; 4) encourage the prospect to give you more information; 5) send a positive signal to the prospect about your interest and concern.
Stick to what is Real
Be honest in whatever you say. It’s easier to remember what you’ve said when you speak only the truth — and it shows you are trustworthy. Sales depend on relationships; relationships depend on trust. But don’t misrepresent your ability to solve a business problem; that’s at the heart of your professional relationship.
Support your prospect meetings by calling or writing to follow up the next day. Create a system or write in these calls into your daily schedule. This reminds your prospects of your presence and shows your commitment to addressing their problems.
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