The clients that we serve today are under all types of pressures when it comes to business stability and growth. Our job in sales is to help our clients improve their position; to make their business life easier and more fruitful. When you understand that fact and feed it into your sales pitch the whole thing gets a lot easier and more logical. The client can then see why they need your services above that provided by others.
If you make a lot of presentations on a regular basis you cannot help but improve your skills and communication strategies. The whole thing can however be fast tracked with personal practice and role playing.
Here are some facts to feed into your presentational processes:
- Understand your market and where it is headed over the coming months and years
- Understand your clients business and the pressures that they operate under
- Provide comprehensive information on your service and product
- Show results that are proven and have relevance to your client
- Use pictures and graphs as part of attracting the clients attention
- Have a selection of ‘success stories’ that can be used to strengthen your presentation
- Use your database to build your personal brand and relevance to your prospects and clients
- Be clear about prices, supply chain, and supply times
- Don’t make your proposal too complex or detailed (keep it simple)
- Understand beforehand if others will be involved in the meeting or presentation and just who they are in the decision process
- Offer discounts if they are of benefit and relevance to the client today
- If possible choose a location for the presentation that gives you some control of the situation
- Find out what the timing of decisions are likely to be
- Understand the competition and how they may approach the client with a counter pitch
- Know where the client is at when it comes to purchase urgency and choice
- Ask questions to fill in the gaps with the clients knowledge and understanding of options available
When you really understand these facts, you can improve your conversions from presentations. Use your prospecting efforts to get to know more business people and prospects in your market. Your options will soon open up and the sales can grow for you.
When you are a professional salesperson, the contact time that you have with the client is both critical and compounding. It is the way in which you can grow your market share and sales. That being said you can create a set of standards to give greater quality to the meeting and telephone contact that you make with all of your clients.
You can set those standards in all of the following:
- Identifying future needs for your services
- Ensuring that established business is progressing
- Checking that previous business arrangements and current service levels are at the levels that encourage ongoing business
- Seeing if the client wants more help or information in using your services to better result
- Asking for referral business and leads
Asking the right questions with the client will help these situations. Not only that, they will help you identify any client relationships that are under pressure or threat.
In closing a client connection there is one ‘golden rule’. It goes something like this:
‘Mr. Client, thank you for talking with me today. Is there anything else that I can help you with?’
When you ask the question, the response will likely give you more information and perhaps even another item of business that you can help them with. It is such a simple question and yet so relevant to the client meeting or contact process.
The simple question is perhaps one of the most important. It sends the right message that you are interested in helping. A good client relationship is built on trust and communication. Start to use this question as part of your client meetings and discussions.
If you are looking to improve your business model, sales, or market share, have a good look at the number of times that you call your customers or prospects on a regular basis. Persistence pays when it comes to opening up opportunities in sales with your clients.
Why Make Contact?
Prospects are always on the lookout for tips and ideas to help them do things at a better price or a lower cost. For this very reason you can be a solid source of knowledge and information relative to your industry. If the competition is not serving their clients well or keeping in regular contact, you have an opportunity in waiting.
Far too many sales people stop the contact process after just a few approaches; if they can’t get the prospect or client to move to the next step in the sales pipeline, they shut down the contact process and simply move on.
Top salespeople keep the contact process going with real and relative ways. Here are some ideas to help with that:
- Use different techniques of contact so you can be real and relevant in each approach.
- Be memorable in a positive way. That will mean some relevance and importance to the client.
- Have different comments to use in each approach. Practice dialogues for seasonal sales and shifts in market trends.
- Do not show desperation in any approach or client contact. Prospects and clients can sense it and will close the door on your approach. Clients like to deal with ‘winners’.
- Ask the client or prospect if you can remain in regular contact into the future.
- Keep your database accurate and up to date in all respects.
- Get to know the Key Clients of the competition so you can disrupt and disturb their market or dominance.
Do you know what your ideal client looks like? Do you know what your client wants by way of product or service? Do you know when they want to buy or sell? Key questions like this will help you tap into the right people at the right time.
When you first approach a prospective client you never really know where the conversation will head, or if they have a need or an interest in your offering. This is particularly the case when it comes to cold calling and basic drop in canvassing.
For this very reason you need to be very flexible and conversational in getting the connection going. If you sell a service as opposed to a product, it is better to be biased towards building trust before you get to the real point of the approach. In a few words I can summarise this as ‘reducing the pressure’.
In business today, most clients and prospects do not like to be ‘sold or closed’. The days of manipulative selling are well gone. Information and trust are the keys to moving the conversation forward. Today, it could be called ‘relationship’ selling. As to how long the relationship should be, really depends on the product and the service that you offer; the relationship required can be from a few minutes to months or even years.
Get to the Facts
To qualify a client or prospect you need to know the right things relative to their business or personal situation. Here are a few tips to do that:
- Check to see if you are talking with the decision maker. There is no point talking with a person that has no relevance to your product or service. Asking questions will help you here.
- Find out what the prospect has now or if they have used similar products or services over the years. Do they actually understand what you are about to talk about? This is really important in a complex product or service offering.
- If the prospect has used that product or service before, was it helpful in their business or personal life? Working from a base of previous experience will help you connect with the situation for them today. Be aware that the situation may have changed for them; there is no point selling a concept, product or service if they have a changed business situation or circumstances.
- Could the prospect see the same solution occurring again or will it be helpful for them today or in the future? Previous experiences that the client may have had with your product or service help you relating to the situation today.
These questions will lead you to information that can help you proceed with moving the conversation forward. From all of these concepts, take the time to really listen to the facts and responses from the other person.