Small Business Advice
Five tips to ensure a positive sales outcome
QUESTION: I spend an inordinate amount of time crafting what I believe is a compelling sales presentation. However, my success ratio leaves much to be desired. What else do I need to do to ensure a more positive outcome?
ANSWER: The successful sales presentation is much more than delivering a lot of information that you believe will be of benefit to the client. The following five tips should help ensure a more positive outcome:
- Know your customer. To the best extent possible, try to find out everything you can about your client’s company. What do they do, who are their competitors, what are their specific needs, and how can what you offer address those needs and improve their bottom line?
- Allow your client to know you as a person. Don’t be in a rush to make your pitch. You must first develop a rapport. Start with a little small talk. If you see a golf trophy on the credenza, inquire about the circumstances and if you play too, let that be a conversation starter.
- Your time is valuable. Always deal with the decision maker. If you are making your presentation to anyone other than the person who makes the final decision, you are wasting your time. If you are unable to arrange a meeting with the decision maker walk away and put your efforts to work for someone who is willing to consider what you have to offer.
- Address objections respectfully. You should expect and encourage a dialogue with your customer. In fact, if you are doing all the talking how will you know if your message is getting through to the client? A seasoned sales person knows how to counter objections, and the customer has a right to receive straight forward answers to their questions.
- Ask for the sale. One of the biggest mistakes novices make is they fail to ask for the sale. In most instances, this is caused by the fear of rejection. It is a given that for every sale you make you will probably receive two or three rejections. Treat rejections as a learning experience and your success ratio will improve over time.
Remember, sales is a numbers game. If it takes three sales calls to make one sale, and your goal is five sales a month, plan on making at least 15 sales calls.
Gray Poehler is a volunteer with the Naples Chapter of SCORE.
A SCORE counselor since 2005, Gray Poehler owned and operated an independent insurance agency with 20 employees and two locations. He has earned the Certified Insurance Counselor designation and is familiar with both personal and commercial property and casualty insurance. Areas of expertise include: Business Finance and Accounting; Business Strategy and Planning; Business Operations; Human Resources and Internal Communications; Sales, Marketing and Public Relations.
To learn more about management issues of small businesses, contact the SCORE office nearest you.