Written by Chris Clark
Hey all, here are five steps that I have found to be successful when attempting to sell:
1. Networking: As a sales person the most valuable thing that you can do is networking. There are two things that you need to know when networking: People buy from people they know and people buy from people they trust. That said, I’ve learned in business there is always a problem to be solved, the question is can you listen well enough to identify the problem to present a solution?
2. Initial Meeting: After a relationship has been established it is important to set up an initial meeting, and ask as many questions as possible. Good sales people ask all the right questions to get the client to tell them their entire life story, so to speak. Think about this, the more comfortable the prospect is with you the more likely they will disclose information that could help you later land a deal. If you want to get a pearl from a clam, you have to strategically position yourself to retrieve it.
The same is true for clients. Ryu Murakami, author of award-winning books like “In Miso Soup” says that “Everybody wants to talk about themselves and everybody wants to hear about everybody else’s story.” So when you’re talking to your prospects think about this: the more information that you can extract from them the better position you will find yourself in to put together a successful RFP.
3. Follow Up: After your initial meeting you should have left your client with just a taste of what you do (less is better). The more they have about your business the deadlier they are. At this stage in the game most prospects think they have a good understanding of your business model, and from that they can make an educated judgment about whether they need your services. Your job is to give them just enough to have a basic understanding, but request a proposal from you to understand how it would fit into their business model. Once this request has been made, you’re half way there.
At this stage in the game you can create your proposal. Try to use language that was used in your previous discussions with the prospect. This does two things, the first is it makes you sound like a professional in the industry, and two is it lets the prospect know you were paying attention during your initial discussions.
4. Make Your Pitch: The idea here is to present the solution to the problem presented in your initial discussions, but to do it in a way that gives the prospect strictly the facts. Visual aids are always good; prospects should still be doing most of the talking in this portion of the meeting. Try practicing residual questions such as “Do you think those objectives align with the problem we are trying to solve?,” statements like this take your pitch from being one sided to interactive and engaging.
The moment your prospect feels gung ho about your product or service is when you know you’ve got them hooked. You’ll notice this because the questions will become much more tailored to their business model. Such as “How would you fit this in here?” When you hear this BE QUIET, and let them talk, it’s kind of like that moment when a concert finishes and that last note is still resonating, and that annoying person starts clapping too early (don’t be that guy/girl). Pay attention! At this moment your job is to be a “Yes” man or woman, because your meeting has just been hijacked, so go along for the ride. End the meeting with a definitive next step, because if you don’t your prospect has room to wiggle out when you get ready to send them that contract to sign.
5. Follow Up & Close: No more than 24 hours you should send a follow up note thanking the prospect for their time, and attaching or addressing any follow up items. This stage in the game is very fragile; too much follow up is not welcomed, however too little and your lead goes cold again. Once a week seems to be a good rule of thumb. When the client realizes that this is something that they want to do, write up the contract and send to them, and there you have your sale.