Posts tagged sales
As a Sales & Marketing pro, you already know what to say when negotiating with a customer. But it’s what you don’t say that can be even more important.
There are several words and phrases that make you unknowingly (and unwillingly) send messages to a customer that you’re running up the white flag — or that you’re a novice at negotiating.
- Using “between”.
As in, “We can sell that to you for between $5,000 and $6,000,” or “You’ll get that sometime between Nov. 10 and Nov. 12.” Using the word “between” is like running up the white flag of concession. You don’t know which figure is right, and savvy customers will jump on the lower figure in a flash.
- “We’re getting closer to an agreement.”
Again, it’s a white flag. You’re weary of negotiations and you’re ready to sell the store, if it they’ll sign the contract and close the deal. Worse yet: Some customers will see that as an opportunity to grind you a little harder, and pull out even more concessions.
- Let the buyer start the bidding.
Some Sales pros agree that encouraging customers to name a price first gives them an advantage in controlling where negotiations go. But wait, new research indicates that when the seller makes the first offer, the final price settled upon is higher than the buyer’s initial offer.
Source: Inc. magazine’s Ultimate Guide to Negotiating
by Ken Dooley
Here are seven steps that may turn your presentation into a winner…
- Determine your purpose.
Are you looking for information or feedback? Do you hope to close the sale with one meeting? Is your goal to secure a second meeting after you pinpoint decision makers? It’s important to determine your purpose and stay focused until you accomplish your goal.
- Visualize a successful outcome.
Try to run through the entire presentation in your mind, concentrating on the important points you want to make. Picture yourself as being confident, knowledgeable and articulate.
- Find out how much time you’ll have before the meeting starts.
Then be flexible enough to change your presentation to fit the time allotted.
- Differentiate yourself.
Always keep in mind a list of benefits that make your product or service unique. Prospects want to know what you can bring to the table that no one else can. Try to provide practical solutions to their problems.
Go over the key points you’ve made and the key concerns the prospect has raised. Show your prospect that you understand their problems and offer solutions that work.
- Keep your purpose in mind and close for the next step.
That could be getting more information, securing a demonstration or asking for the order.
- Follow through.
Strong follow-through is what keeps customers loyal, and the best salespeople make it a part of their sales philosophy.
This simple sentence is enough for some salespeople to leave a prospect’s office and never return:
“I’m satisfied with my present supplier.”
But what those salespeople forget is that “satisfied” customers switch to competitors every day.
- Avoid assumptions.
Just because a prospect claims to be satisfied with a present supplier doesn’t mean that he is. He may be unhappy and not even know it yet. The key to overcoming rejection is persistence — because most customers are never completely satisfied with their present suppliers.
- Look for problems.
The customer is buying because his present supplier is solving problems for him. Maybe new problems have surfaced that aren’t being resolved. So try to find how your product or service can solve the problem better.
- Look for clues.
Believe it or not (tongue firmly in cheek), there are customers out there that rely on the telephone or email to stay in touch with your business. What should you do? Ask customers if they wish to be in contact with you through social media, and how you both can make it work. Or check to see which methods of communications they are using to contact you. That will give you a starting point.
- Look for clues.
Sometimes a prospect’s dissatisfaction is indicated by a pause or no comment at all. It’s a good idea to ask questions when a prospect becomes silent. Try to focus on the facts about what the current supplier is providing and where problems aren’t being solved. Here are some possibilities:
- Technological weaknesses in the current supplier’s product may result in the prospect falling behind the industry leaders, resulting in lost sales and lost revenues.
- The current supplier’s delivery schedule means it’s impossible for the prospect to take advantage of certain market opportunities.
- The current supplier’s product or service presents a risk to the prospect that could translate into lost dollars or higher insurance premiums.
- Pitfalls to avoid
Here are three pitfalls to avoid when selling against established relationships.
- Getting aggressive too early. Your prospect will probably be sharing your arguments with your competitor.
- Coming up with trivial objections. Trying to dislodge a competitor with a list of minor objections may backfire. Selling against established relationships is less about answering objections and more about making your prospect feel comfortable doing business with you.
- Giving up too easily. A well-established relationship may take months, if not years, to sell. Look for incremental victories, dig in for a long siege and keep on going.
- Accept the challenge
Some prospects look at changing suppliers the same way they look at divorce — they’re not going to do it unless you can convince them why your product or service will make things better for them.
Here are eight strategies that may help you get a prospect to look beyond a veteran supplier and consider your product or service:
- Be unique. Try to offer something the present supplier can’t. Distinguish your company, product or self in some quantifiable way. The best strategy to dislodge a present supplier is to offer uniqueness or differentiation.
- Do a competitive analysis. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the present supplier may help you capitalize on your strengths. Try to get the prospect to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in the products or services being purchased now.
- Identify problems that are not being resolved by a present supplier. Prospects become customers when you can solve problems for them. So a key task in replacing present suppliers is to create interest by identifying problems that are important to prospects and showing that you have the ability to solve them.
- Try to appeal to the prospect’s sense of fairness. Acknowledge the existing relationship but ask for a fair appraisal of your product or service. A tight economy may put the strongest buyer-seller relationships in jeopardy.
- Consider the possibility of turnover. Sales based on relationships are the most volatile of all. If your competitor has established a relationship with a customer and that customer retires, gets promoted or moves on to another company, the relationship leaves with him or her. Be ready if that happens.
- Try to build your own relationship. Different prospects have different expectations as to what a buyer-seller relationship might mean. Even the strongest relationships may weaken over time. Emphasizing professionalism and product knowledge may help you get a relationship started.
- Consider the prospect’s personality. Is he or she ambitious and on the lookout for value added products or services that might enhance promotion possibilities? In this situation, the relationship is the value-added component that tips the scales in your favor.
- Stay on track. Be relentless when selling against an established relationship. Stay with a plan and call on the prospect regularly, despite the number of times you hear the words “satisfied with my present supplier.”
Adapted from the book Value-Added Selling: How to Sell More Profitably and Confidently by Competing on Value, Not Price by Tom Reilly, President of Tom Reilly Training Inc., a sales training and consulting firm.
The 5 Toughest Types of Prospects – And How To Close Them All
by Ken Dooley
Selling to these types of prospects isn’t easy. But it can be done by using these five tactics…
- The Skeptics: Salespeople who run into a brick wall with some prospects could be dealing with closet cynics. While the salesperson is making a presentation, these prospects may be dismissing everything being said about a product or service as hype.
Recommended approach: Back up claims with hard statistics.
- The Comparers: Some prospects will refuse to make a decision until they’ve shopped around.
Recommended approach: Accommodate these prospects by giving them space to check your claims against the competition’s.
- Now-or-Never Prospects: These prospects want your product or service in a hurry. Otherwise, they feel the deal isn’t worth it.
Recommended approach: Make sure the product or service is accessible without having the person jump through hoops or wait too long to start benefiting from it.
- Disappointed Prospects: Prospects who’ve had bad experiences with a comparable product or service in the past may be tough to sell.
Recommended approach: Show them why the problems they’ve experienced in the past will not crop up again in the future.
- Confused Prospects: Customers who aren’t quite sure what your product can do for them will be hesitant buyers.
Recommended approach: Ask the prospect whether he or she has all of the information they’d like to make an informed decision about your company.