Are your sales calls compelling and generating â€œbuyâ€ decisions without a sweat? Or are they unfocused, inefficient, meandering sales calls, where youâ€™re not even sure youâ€™re getting the sale till the very end? Excellence is achieved when your presentation is client-focused rather than vendor-focused.
â€¢ Do your homework: Know why prospects should buy from you. Before the sales call, identify what information you need about the buyerâ€™s current situation to determine the need for your product/service. How is the current solution inadequate? What pain does the prospect experience which a better solution could alleviate? What benefits would the prospect like to get from a new solution? Which gains would motivate the user to take the risk and start using your product?
Ideally, you know all this before the sales call, so you can use the initial client-focused Needs Assessment stage to validate assumptions. Remember, people buy for both rational reasons (itâ€™s a better product) and emotional reasons (I feel this vendor is really going to support me as our needs change). While validating the assumptions, you need to help the prospect feel the current productâ€™s pains and appreciate the gains that an alternative product (yours) offers.
Since itâ€™s rare to have all this information available before the initial sales call, your real homework is to be prepared to collect it quickly at your initial meeting. This means you need to analyze your other customersâ€™ experiences and develop an educated guess as to which pain and gain points are most applicable to the prospect. Write out a list of the issues you want to explore in advance of the meeting, so you know which ones to ask. Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with having the Needs Assessment Form in front of you to guide you; in fact, in fact it sends a message of professionalism and thoroughness to the prospect!
The order of the questions is important â€“ because they form the basis for building a persuasive presentation. As you comment on the prospectsâ€™ answers, noting how your product avoids pain points and offers the desired gains, youâ€™re building your case. The goal is to make the case cumulative and overwhelming â€“ that you have a solution which will eliminate many nasty pains and/or offer sought after gains.
â€¢ Organize your Competitive Advantages, so you can present them in an order which brings the client to the natural conclusion: if the vendorâ€™s products can really do all these things, then we really should be using the product! This means you need to know your entire productâ€™s Competitive Advantages, group them by those that go together, and present them succinctly and powerfully. Remember, a truly client-focused presentation means only presenting those which matter to the prospect. WINning means knowing Whatâ€™s Important Now.
â€¢ Build trust and confidence as you tell your companyâ€™s story. Nothing speaks like success, and relating relevant case studies make your points most effectively. The key is to demonstrate not just what your company did, but how it did it, because what the prospect is buying is your ability to analyze problems and solve them in the future. So while having a great client list and testimonials is very useful, demonstrating how you went out of your way at 10PM to save the client thousands of dollars is what builds confidence that youâ€™re the ideal vendor.
â€¢ Counterpunch your competition, without ever bad-mouthing them, so the prospect appreciates your Competitive Advantages. For instance, if responsiveness is an important feature and your company is the only 24/7 operation in the industry, you can counterpunch the competition. â€œMany companies say theyâ€™re available 24/7 to take your calls; that means they are taking your call and passing on your request for help to the morning shift. Our firm is open 24/7, which means our technicians are there to solve your problem, even at 3 AM.â€
â€¢ The Demo is really a Proof-of-Concept. You should start the demo after you have a â€œconditional saleâ€, meaning if you can demonstrate that your solution actually does all the things you said, the prospect will buy. Itâ€™s your chance to reinforce the most important buying points youâ€™ve already made! (Unfortunately, many sales people think that they are supposed to make their entire presentation during the demo; this makes the sales demo take too long, especially as there are natural interruptions and waters down presentationâ€™s impact.)
â€¢ Donâ€™t let your sales kit distract from your sales pitch. Have your sales kit available, but give it to the prospect when looking at it wonâ€™t distract him/her from listening to you (e.g., at the end of the sales call). Often a good strategy is to let the prospect see it and know you will give it at the end of the sales call.
â€¢ Ask for the sale. Know what next step you want to take. If youâ€™re selling a product, which will require another meeting with people, be prepared to tentatively schedule the follow-up meeting immediately. If the next step is to do a test, set up a time to begin the test and an estimated time schedule for completing it. If the next step is to have the person sign on the dotted line, donâ€™t forget to bring the contract and a pen!