Ravin S. Papiah - "EPIC YOUR BUSINESS THROUGH SALES LEADERSHIP THE RAVIN PAPIAH WAY !"
SHOW 6 – Sales Leadership Lessons 2
Welcome to the Sixth show on Epic Your Business through Sales Leadership ….the Ravin Papiah Way !
Starting off on the right foot is absolutely essential in sales meetings. Simple things go a long way toward making a good first impression: looking and acting professional, treating clients with courtesy and respect, and coming up with a creative way to introduce yourself and your company.
Being memorable (for the right reasons) will ensure that your name comes up time and again when possible solutions are being researched.
Segment 1 – A Basic Opening for Warm Calls
The first impression people form of you is based on both verbal and nonverbal factors. The nonverbal factors may actually be more important when selling in person. These include such things as:
None of this means that you should pay any less attention to the verbal factors. Pay attention to the language that you use, and ensure that it is appropriate for the circumstances.
As a rule of thumb it is advisable to be as polite and formal as you can be on the first meeting. As a business relationship is established you may find that a natural rapport emerges, but taking an informal approach into a first meeting can make a bad impression and end the potential relationship there and then.
When on the phone, too, pay attention to your “verbal nods”. These are short responses like “Yes”, “Of Course”, “I understand exactly what you mean” and so on. At certain points it is beneficial to use these rather than pitching, as they will show the customer that you are interested in finding out where they are coming from.
Warming Up Cold Calls
An opening statement should include:
Here is an example:
“Hello, this is John Jones at Solar Solutions. I saw in the paper that you’re planning a new office building in Smallville. Our company has a product that can cut your heating and cooling bills in half. Have you considered adding solar panels to your building?”
From this opening you have introduced yourself and what you do, as well as showing that you know something about them. By finishing with a question you invite a response which can then lead to further discussion.
The example above is a basic one which can be tweaked to suit personal style and situations, but serves as a demonstration of a strong, complete opening.
Segment 2 – Using The Referral Opening
When using a referral, tell the client what their friend found most appealing or beneficial about your product. If you do some research, you can focus on features that the client should also find appealing.
Be prepared to respond if the client says something like, “Well, Charlie’s business is a little different from mine. He has different needs.” If you have done some research, you can respond by saying, “I understand that, but this is what our product can do for you.”
This allows you to show that your product is versatile but, more importantly, it also shows that you have considered their business needs and how you can meet them. You are not just trying to badger them into a sale; rather you are showing understanding about their business.
By preparing in this way, you demonstrate your business’s strength and credibility and give the person to whom you are speaking reason to consider you as a potential business partner.
You also encourage them to think of you as someone that is worth speaking to on a business level and give yourself more time to build a coherent pitch. You may even find that no pitch is necessary, but it is nevertheless useful to have it in your reach and be able to deploy it.
Making Your Pitch
Once you have made it past the opening, it’s time to make your pitch. In preparing your pitch, work on coming up with a clear, persuasive explanation of what your product can do for the client. Be prepared to answer the all-important question that all clients have: What’s in it for me?
This is, after all, the basic question in all financial dealings. If you are trying to persuade people to part with money they have earned, you may well need to work to give them reasons to do so. The central point in any sale is getting the customer to see why what you are offering them is better than any competitor’s offering, and that you will see that their best interests are served.
When making a pitch it is important to get the balance right between attractiveness and believability. You can promise the earth to a potential customer in order to get them to sign on the bottom line, but if they do not believe you can deliver on what you are offering then it will be completely pointless.
Also, as most deals have a “cooling off” period, the chances are that if you oversell your product they will be dissatisfied and bring the deal to an end before it has had time to become established.
Segment 3 – Features & Benefits
Sometimes the relationship between a particular feature and its benefit seems obvious. For example, a self-setting clock on a DVR has the obvious benefit that you don’t have to set the clock. But a salesperson might expand on this benefit by saying something like this:
“If the power goes out or you have to unplug the DVR, you don’t have to read the manual to figure out how to reset the clock.”
It’s a good idea to describe benefits in explicit terms. This is not because customers do not have the intelligence to work it out for themselves, but rather because they will often be looking at a deal from a point of view of why they might be best served by keeping their money in their wallet.
In order to convince a customer to part with their money it is essential to deal with any objections and to make them see how the benefits outweigh the cost.
Therefore, a DVD player that you are selling may be a “multi-region” model. Simply saying that it is “multi-region” is telling them something they can work out for themselves by reading the box. The “multi-region” element of the DVD player is a “feature”.
The “benefit” in this situation is that they can buy DVDs from other countries and play them on the same system. In many cases, DVDs will be cheaper from a different country in a single-region format. Buying a “multi-region” DVD player will save them money, and so is beneficial to them.
It is things like this that make a person purchase a specific item. The question that they may ask on the surface is “what does it do?” but the question you need to answer for them is “what will it do for me?” One item may have various selling points for different possible purchasers.
It is important to be aware of what tack you should take with each customer. A sales pitch is absolutely not a “one size fits all” matter – for the salesperson or for the customer.
Outlining Your Unique Selling Position
Some people assume that price is always the deciding factor in purchasing decisions. In fact, these decisions are often based on a variety of factors, such as:
Segment 4 – The Burning Question That Every Customer Wants Answered
Of course price is important. It will frequently be a deciding factor in a purchase, but bear in mind that most people start out with a set budget in mind when looking to make a purchase.
Therefore, as long as the item you are aiming to sell falls within that set budget, you should give as much time to other concerns such as those listed above. Your goal is not a simple, straightforward matter of persuading them to buy from you, but also a matter of persuading them not to buy from someone else.
To make the point clearer, a customer’s objections to buying something are not the opposite of their reasons why they should buy it.
It is therefore not the case that you can just reel off a list of reasons why someone should buy something and imagine that this cures their objections. In reality it is more complicated than that and you need to highlight the positive aspects of the item while dealing with any negatives.
You should also be ready to “sweeten the deal” with reference to many of the above terms. If there is room to maneuver on payment terms, this may persuade the customer that they are getting a good deal. If you can give them a discount on peripheral equipment to increase the benefits of the item they are interested in, this may also work.
Customers are always asking, “What’s in it for me?” This is another reason why it is important for salespeople to focus on benefits rather than features. Sometimes salespeople are so enthusiastic about the features of their products that they forget to explain what the products will do for their customers. Customers might not care about all the wonderful features of your products, but they will care about how your products will solve their problems or make their lives easier.
If we suspend disbelief for a moment, imagine that tomorrow someone invented a machine that woke you, got you out of bed, dressed, and fed you before taking you to work and doing your work for you.
If it then took you home in the evening, made you dinner and did all of this while providing sparkling conversation before tucking you into bed at night, ready to repeat the cycle the following day and kept you fit and healthy into the bargain, it would be worth investing in, without a doubt. But would you buy it if all you knew about it was from a sales pitch which described it as having a “24/7 facilitation setting” and being “usable in a range of locations”?
The technical terms which are listed as specifications in the manufacturer’s literature will certainly be enough to convince people who are technically minded and have been scouring the industry magazines for a period of time looking for the right model, but for many people there is only one question: “What’s In It For Me?”
That question should be answered in a few sentences at most, setting the customer’s mind at ease and allowing them to put any follow-up questions that they may have. The likelihood is that they aren’t buying it for any of a whole list of reasons, but for one specific one. The fact that they show some basic ignorance of what else the product does means nothing in terms of their being prepared to pay the agreed price, so battering them over the head with “tech talk” is self-defeating.
See you Next Wednesday for the 7th and LAST session of our Show!
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