Kamis, 03 April 2008

Your Own Sales Success Check-off List

by Henry Gibson

All money-making ventures, in some way or another, involve selling something to someone. Be it a product, a service, your time/talent etc you're going to have to sell something. But what if you're not a natural salesman? Can you still succeed?

You bet you can! What you need is a plan:

1: Find your target market. It's no good selling hamburgers to vegetarians. Check out your local patch, see which companies are going to generate you money. If you live in an industrial area pop in and ask who's responsible for buying new products or sourcing new services. It sounds scary but it does get easier each time you do it. Always keep a data base of the companies or opportunities you have investigated for your own records.

2: Have a list of questions that will let you know straight away if the company, person or opportunity is right for you. Do they use the service you are offering? Does their particular business make use of your own special skills, knowledge, etc?

3: Make a list of points that you want to raise when you call back to speak to the decision maker. Remember to include the really important stuff like why your service/product is different, special offers you're promoting, etc. Don't write a speech though and keep the language casual. Nothing is more off putting than hearing a sales guy who sounds like he's reciting a script parrot-fashion.

4: When you do call back, make sure you are speaking to the right person. Sales managers spend hours drumming this into the heads of their guys 'on the road' because trying to sell to the wrong person is a more common mistake than you'd think. There could be layers of decision makers to plough through, or the guy who orders the supplies is not the guy who signs the cheques, etc. So don't waste time. Ask the person you're speaking to if they make the decisions and then - if it's business - ask if they have 'sign off on the budget'. If they do, then you've got the right person.

5: Keep your introduction short and snappy. Nobody wants to know your life story, the history of your company or what you had for breakfast so keep it short and sweet. Give them your name and your company name.

6: Don't kid a kidder. The people you are calling know that you want something from them; a meeting, an order, and you're not going to be the only one who's called them that week, day, hour etc, so don't try to conceal the reason you're calling. Be upfront and professional. Remember the person you're talking to has heard it all before, and if he asks upfront if this is a sales call, don't lie.

7: Be honest. Don't promise the Earth if you can't deliver it. If you don't understand something the guy on the other end says, asks him to explain a bit more, don't try to bluff it. You're trying to build a relationship here.

8: Don't be pushy - take a hint. If someone says he's not interested find out when would be a good time to call back. It's one thing to overcome objections like, "Won't changing suppliers be a hassle?" and that sort of thing, it's another thing altogether to hassle them.

9: Always try to end the call with some kind of commitment. An arrangement to call back, to send further details by post or email, or, ideally, an appointment. But if he is adamant that he's not interested, just leave him and move on to the next prospect.

10: Listen to what people are saying. Do a short, concise presentation and then ask questions. Find out what the company wants to do, and why, and listen.

11: Always follow up. Whatever you do. If you've said you'd do something then do it. Sales people can be seen as lazy, so this is a golden opportunity to put yourself ahead of the heard. Be efficient, responsive and professional and you'll be on their short list in no time.

And finally: be persistent. You might not always get through the first time. And most of all stay positive. People can hear how you're feeling in your voice. Smile at them when you speak and let them know that you're a happy person that it would be a pleasure to do business with.

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