Brevity in client conversations:
In Hamlet, Shakespeare said it best: "Brevity is soul of wit." When marketing a particular product, a buyer will lose interest if the benefits of the solution are not expressed in a clear and concise manner. Psychologically, buyers usually have a lot on their minds (as they have their own jobs and goals too) and want to get to the point. Too much information or elaboration on a certain topic can put a sales person in a position where the client purposely avoids them due to their conversations' perceived length. If you want an example, call one of my family's petsitters (name confidential).
Question and Benefit Selling:
Either speaking in-person or over the phone, a good sales person asks the proper questions and uncovers the client's needs in a timely, friendly and professional manner. They also always write down the client's concerns in order to address them one by one. Knowing these requirements allows the sales representative to work with the buyer bit-by-bit to solve their problem via a tailored offering. In a meeting, it is the buyer, not the seller, who should control the situation.
Accessible Language with Supporting Evidence:
In nearly any complex sale, a sales person will deal with all different types of decision makers within a company. This can range from that stereotypical reserved CFO to the boisterous VP of Sales. No matter who they are, they will all understand catch phrases such as 'hit it out of the ballpark' or 'we can give you a better price, however, as we all know, at that price, I feel that the resources we can allocate may be a swing and miss.' These are aspects of everyday life, and to bring them to the negotiation/sales table can put everyone on the same page.
Efficient phone technique:
Nothing grabs the undivided attention of somebody purchasing a product better than a sales representative who speaks with a tone of voice that not only shows confidence in himself, but confidence in the product he or she is selling. Typically, I can tell a good salesperson within thirty seconds, due mainly to voice projection and confidence. Also, before a strong bond is formed with the client, intelligence and proper grammar are significant steps to becoming a respected part of that client's business day and decision making process. Most importantly, good phone technique follows the old proverb straight and to the point.
Next time you make a cold or warm-call try saying, "Mr. Smith, my name is Bob Salesman; I'm calling from ________ (maybe even add in what your company does). I do truly understand you are very busy, however could you give 30 seconds of your time? About a week ago, you came to my firm inquiring about x, y or z, and I'm hoping to set up a five minute phone conversation in the next few weeks to elaborate on our organization and better introduce myself." Ink in the appointment and, prior to that next phone call, refer to the "Question and Benefit Selling" part of the article.
In any industry, the easiest way to get in the door is to know the decision makers within your target market. These days, being able to sell to "C" level executives (the new Lexus of resume listings) is a skill in great demand. These contacts are formed over time through trust, careful relationship building and delivery of a product that the executive and her company perceive to be beneficial. The effective sales person realizes that these people are busy and that account manager must be on-call to see them whenever a free moment arises. If you want to know how to find out who these people are, websites such as LinkedIn.com, Hoovers and Selectory.com can get you the right names. Now, with the right wit and an ability to get past the gate keeper (sales term for assistant), you can build your own black book of important contacts.
Friendliness and Professionalism:
Good sales people represent their organization in a professional manner while reaping the benefits of establishing good relationships with their valuable client base. However, some of these aspects can backfire when making a sale or laying the groundwork for a "cross-sell" or future business. How can this go wrong? Occasionally, Account Representatives tend to have a very outgoing personality and can easily cross the bounds between a good working relationship and an outside friendship. The best friend tactic sometimes will work with occasional clients as they want to establish both a strong working and personal relationship with their sales representative. Other clients have their own interests and think of a sales person as only a minute (and possibly annoying) part of their work day. Unless the product and service is great, a professional faux pas can kiss just about any account goodbye.
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Article Added on Saturday, September 17, 2011
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