Beat The Competition
Have you risen to the top of your selling game? Do you intend to?
Check please …
Just getting your sea-legs in sales? Or perhaps you've been in management for a while and are now moving back to the sales team. You could even be a seasoned veteran of the Art of Selling, but whatever your status is, it never hurts to review and examine your approach to a sale, before, during and after the sale. Are you remembering everything you need to do, say, ask? As for me, I'm a list-maker, so I like to write checklists for myself to ensure nothing's been left out during the sales cycle. It's easy when you're juggling several clients in different phases of the cycle to get a little muddled. It then becomes more likely that you may miss subtle nuances with your clients that can make the difference between closing and not closing. Again – this is why I like lists.
Here is a helpful checklist for the various phases of the sales cycle to make sure you don’t miss a beat:
- Do your homework on the company and person you’ll be meeting.
- Do your homework on which of your competitors the company works with or has worked with in the past.
- Do your homework on finding common interests or shared acquaintances to create rapport when you meet.
- Observe and note the prospect’s office vibe, décor and dress style to make sure you look like ‘one of the gang’ on subsequent meetings.
- Observe and note the prospect’s personal space for photos, mementos, awards and toys or gadgets in order to find common interests.
- Ask questions about the company’s goals and challenges.
- Ask questions about your prospect’s personal goals and challenges.
- Ask if there’s anyone else who is involved in the decision-making process.
- Ask what they like and dislike about their current vendor.
- Ask about funding and timeframe.
- Ask broad, open-ended questions in order to learn what the prospect needs, wants and doesn’t yet know they need.
- Respond positively to all objections.
- Commit to finding more information related to objections or questions you couldn’t answer off the cuff.
- Do homework on presentation attendees.
- Send agenda to prospect at least a day before the presentation.
- Re-establish rapport; use anecdotal conversation to reaffirm common interests.
- Assume the sale in the language you use; for example, "This will improve your output" as opposed to "This could improve your output".
- Link each benefit to a stated client need.
- Check for understanding before moving on to next subject.
- When summarizing, draw clear parallels between the client's needs and how your product meets each of those needs.
- Ask for the sale.
- Ask if they have any unanswered questions.
- Ask what the next step will be.
- Lock down when your next contact will be and if it will be to close or to discuss further.
Closing the deal and follow up
- Re-establish rapport.
- Remember this is not the end of your responsibility, it’s the beginning of your relationship
- Introduce the client to their new contacts at your company; technical support, customer care, account manager, etc.
- Make formal arrangements to meet with your client again after delivery for a feedback session.
- Review the next steps regarding your delivery cycle and contacts.
- Downplay the actual 'signing' and play up your customer care program.
The crème de la crème
Have you risen to the top of your selling game? Do you intend to?
No matter how complex your product, no matter how esoteric your service, selling it still depends upon remembering and following the basic tenets of Sales 101.
What are those tenets? Well, I’m going to tell you, but be forewarned; when you read them you’re going to think to yourself, “Duh. I already knew that”. Which I’m sure you do, but do you put them into practice? Are you aware of when and how you’re using these tried and true commandments of selling? Think about that hot-shot.
- Be able to simply define your differentiator. You must know why you’re different in order to confidently tell your prospect why. This means doing your homework. This means keeping current with what your competition’s doing. This means really understanding the delivery process of your product, not just memorizing what marketing told you to memorize.
- Know what can and can’t be done with your product and why. You don’t have to promise your prospect that your product will cure cancer in order to sell them- but you do need to give them clear expectations so they understand exactly what they’re getting for their money. Can it be customized? Does it function at peak efficiency only in very specific environments? Is it missing certain bells and whistles that the competition has because your company knows the fluff doesn’t actually enhance the product? All this stuff is okay, and sales resistance is easy to overcome as long as you are able to discuss the specifics openly and in an informed manner with your prospect. Customers appreciate knowing both the pros and the cons of what they’re buying. Doesn’t mean they won’t buy it…in fact, it often means they’ll come back to you when they’re ready to upgrade your product, because you gained their trust by being honest with them.
- Sell and provide value to your customer. Don’t tell them why your business is better and more profitable than your competition’s, tell them how your business can make their business better and more profitable than their competition. Get the picture?
- Provide continued service after you’ve made the sale. Customer service isn’t just the responsibility of the folks answering the phones in the call center. Follow up with your clients after your delivery or engagement has been completed. Did they get what they thought they were buying? Do they have any feedback about the ease of use, functionality, compatability, etc.? if they could change one thing about the product or service, what would that be? This kind of information is crucial to take back to R&D and marketing so that your business can continue to provide value to your customers.
- Build relationships with your prospects, your current clients, and anyone you’re introduced to via your prospects and clients. I hate to drag out this tired old word, but “Networking” wasn’t a fad. It’s how you expand your reach into your targeted market. How well do you connect with your clients? Do you remember the spouse’s and kids’ names? I see you rolling your eyes, but I’m serious! This is not ‘old school’, this is what the sales world is about. People want to be remembered. People want to believe that they have made a lasting impression on you. People want to feel like their business is important to you. Use formal stationary to drop your customers and acquaintances a quick notes if you’ve been out of touch. It makes a difference! This is why customers will be more loyal to a salesperson than they will to a product brand.
‘Networking’ is not a four-letter word
Just the mention of the word is enough to make some people shudder. Why is that? Well, it’s because the process of networking can feel very similar to cold calling, which terrifies almost everyone; you’re initiating contact with strangers, telling them about what you do, asking questions, trying to find a fit, and attempting to create a way to continue your communication with this person or entity in order to grow your client base….except that it’s generally done in person, which can feel very scary. Ideally, you’d like to get a few clients with accounts that pay well, and they would remain loyal and prosperous resources forever. But how often does that actually happen? Try ‘never’. So networking is a vital and effective way to expand your circle of acquaintances, get your name and product out to new prospects, and grow that client base. Believe it or not, with a bit of practice, it can start to feel comfortable, familiar, and not at all scary. Try these tips to get to that place:
- Always listen more than you talk- When you meet new contacts, ask lots and lots of good questions. Find out who they are, what they do, and what their needs and challenges are. If what you hear qualifies them to warrant your efforts and attention, then pursue the communication further.
- Follow up- When you make a solid contact, that fresh new contact needs lots of nurturing and attention to make it grow. Write a quick handwritten note to every new contact just to let them know you enjoyed meeting them and look forward to speaking with them again soon. All you need is a supply of high-quality note cards and envelopes (you can never go wrong with Crane brand) 4×6 does the trick, and just a few simple but sincere sentences. Please always use black ink. Not blue, not teal, not red. Trust me on this.
- Be selective- When attending a function for the specific purpose of networking, make it your goal to meet 3 or 4 highly-placed people and get as much information from them as you can. Do not dilute your results by chatting with anyone who crosses your path. The object of this game is not to see how many business cards you can collect, but to see if you can widen your circle of quality resources, prospects and alliances.
- Practice, practice, practice- Turn everything you do into a game of networking- try to make one new contact every day whether it be by phone, in person, or by referral.
Selling is a matter or persuading, convincing, or influencing. To look and sound like a snazzy salesman, you will need to follow a combination of rule and traits and avoid certain behaviors and appearances.
The Look – Over the top Salesman
- Greased up hair, raised eye-brow and a cheap smile all scream, "I'm a slimy salesman!"
- Avoid flashy body language that is pushy or aggressive in nature. You don't need to put on a show.
- Garish clothing is another trait a good salesman should avoid.
The Nervous Salesman
- A sloppy hair cut and disheveled clothing displays a lack of professionalism.
- A timid and nervous salesperson will always struggle with closing a sale.
- Poor posture and lack of eye-contact will exhibit low confidence.
The Snazzy Salesman
- A great salesman is well groomed and is always considerate of their hygiene.
- A snazzy salesman aligns with their client with a welcoming smile appropriate body language.
- A sales professional wears suitable attire that matches the product they are selling.
The Sound – The Good
- "Hello, I was given your name by our mutual friend Joe. He said you were looking for some assistance, so I thought I'd drop by.
- "Are there any other issues or concerns we have not covered sufficiently?"
- "Do you have a moment to learn about the incredible specials we are offereing?"
The Sound – The Bad
- "I was just in the area and thought I'd drop by."
- "What would I have to do to get you started today?"
- "I have an incredible special I'd like to offer you."
In the interview, your cloths, manners and mannerisms are all on display. Within the first 60 seconds, your self-confidence and ability to present yourself is assesed. Be prepared to make a strong first impression.
- Model your clothes aftyer the company dress code.
- Wear clean, wrinkle free clothes.
- Trim and clean your hair
- Do not wear excessive jewelry or perfume/cologne
- Polish your shoes
- Cover up tattoos and remove and body piercings
- Do not talk on your phone or listen to music while in the waiting area.
The Phone Interview
More and more businesses are making it a habit to weed out unqualified candidates by doing a phone interview before the traditional face-to-face interview.
Sex has been employed in marketing since the beginning of advertising. In 1885, W. Duke & Sons inserted trading cards into cigarette packs that featured sexually provocative starlets. Duke grew to become the leading cigarette brand by 1890.
The use of sex in advertising can be highly overt or extremely subtle. Over the past two decades the use of increasingly explicit sexual imagery in consumer-orientated advertising has become almost commonplace.
Any seasoned salesperson applying to your job knows that they must have over 90 days worth of funds in their bank account to cover their expenses. It costs money to bring in good sales people, and when candidates don’t see a salary of any kind they think that it’s too high of a risk. In fact 90% of salespeople today will not take a sales position without there being some sort of salary or compensation. Candidates are more likely to look at companies that can’t afford to pay a salary as being ‘shady’, ‘turn and burn’, or ‘fly by night’; therefore too high of a risk. Our visitors are of a much higher quality of candidates, they come from multiple backgrounds, and salaried +commissioned positions.
Craigslist will give you responses from anyone looking to get into sales, ex: a gardener looking to move into sales. You have to ask yourself how many hires have you gotten from that site.
Everyone wants to find ‘Hardcore’ salespeople, but you have to understand that it comes with a cost. A higher caliber site draws higher caliber candidates, because it offers higher caliber jobs from employers such as you. That does not exclude you from offering something tangible. Try changing your job to say the following;
- Who are you? How long have you been in business? Say everything there is to know about your company.
- What do you sell, who do you sell it to?
- What is your competitive advantage (why would somebody come to work for you for 100% commission)?
- What is the working environment like?
- Who will they be reporting to? Do you offer leads? Training?
- What are the qualifications for this job?
If you put all of this into your job description, making it more seductive, you will receive more resumes from candidates applying to it.
You’ve got to sell it in a way that would convince someone to leave a salaried plus commissioned position to come to work for you for 100% commission.
Your resume makes your first impression—whether it is a good one or a bad one. A potential employer immediately assesses your skills and qualities in order to fit their job opening, and if your resume comes up short, you won’t even get an interview. When it comes to crafting the perfect resume, employers are looking for certain things, and when you follow these tips and tools of the trade, you will come out one step ahead of your competition.
From initial research to final job offer, keep reading to see what your resume can do for you—and for future employers.
Making a sale depends on more than good timing and knowledge of a product. While some people in sales have instinctive attributes that lead toward success, others have to cultivate these traits over time. Being a good salesperson is truly an art form, a specially calculated collection of techniques, practices and “that extra something” that combine in the culmination of a sale.
From the drawing board to the real deal, these statistics and examples help you become the master artist of sales in any sphere. Much like a job interview, a career in sales requires a full display of your talents, and when you perfect the art of the sale, the graph of your sales figures will speak for itself. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.