By Sam Palazzolo
RISMEDIA, Dec. 6, 2008-In business, nothing matters more than selling your products or services. It doesn’t matter how educated your recent hires are, or how cool your website is, or how great your products or services are if your company doesn’t have the ability to sell. And then when sales do occur, it’s as if they are an unquenchable thirst or an insatiable appetite-you constantly want more; your achievements never seem to be enough! So if you’ve got sales “hunger pains” (and who doesn’t?) here are five techniques you can implement to get more sales!
1. Give It Away! Yeah, that’s right, give it away! No, not the farm…your experience. Right now your customers are concerned about where they are and how they’re going to get back to level ground! And your services can perform better than others in the current economy, right? Well let your customers know, and let them know right now! Offer your experience as the differentiator amongst your competition and you’ll rise to the top. Your current customers will love you more (they do love you, right?) and they’ll receive even more value from the product or service you provide. Information is like fish: If you sit on it for a few days, it will not get better with age! This leads us to our next technique…
2. Get Referrals. Nothing is such sweet music to a salesperson’s ears as is the soothing sound of a phone ringing from a referral. Why? Because referred customers are nearly 80% sold on you already, thanks to your current customer base. Converting them the remaining 20% of the way is a no-brainer. However, most salespeople rarely get this opportunity because they never take the time to buckle-back to their current customer base and ask for the referral. Now, there is something inherently exciting about the hunt and chase associated with going after new clients, but it’s way too hard! Contact those people you’re already doing business with (technique #1 provides a golden opportunity) and up your level of service to them. Once you have, ask them who you might be able to contact that would enjoy a similar level of service!
3. Introduce Yourself with Influence. The first step to meeting a new client, either face-to-face or over the phone, is an introduction. The way you’ve introduced yourself in the past won’t work anymore! It just won’t. Can you imagine your prospective client answering their phone and hearing “Hello, Ms. Jones, this is John Doe calling from Company XYZ, how are you today? Did I catch you at a great time?”
First of all, they probably have gatekeepers answering the phone. But if they do answer the phone, you’re going to have to be a lot stronger than the typical, “How are you…Great time?” salesperson. You’re going to have to introduce yourself as an expert. How? You don’t have 30 seconds to rattle off your resume and talk about all the degrees and certifications you’ve got plastered on the walls in your office. You’ve actually got just two seconds! Immediately introduce yourself and say who referred you: “Hello, Ms. Jones, this is Sam Palazzolo. Jane Doe recommended that I give you a call and here’s why.” This is much better, and straight to the point of why you are calling. Whether your prospect woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day, or happened to be late to an important meeting, he or she is going to want to know why Jane suggested you to call them. Notice you should not say your company name or title …Why not? Simple answer … they don’t care! It just gets in the way right now. There will be plenty of time to tell them where you work later.
4. Know Thy Stuff. If you are going to tee yourself up with the line “…referred me and here’s why…” the next information out of your mouth had better be the good stuff! What’s the good stuff? It’s the merits of why this person would want to do business with you: Rank order your merits regarding why the customer should do business with you versus your competition and know each one in order of “important” to “majorly important!”
5. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect. There’s that romantic notion that you can get in front of a customer and “fake it ‘til you make it” … wrong! There’s a simple recipe as to why people succeed; work hard + work smart! Here’s your opportunity to do both. As discussed above, practice the merits of your argument both backwards and forwards, and know them inside and out! When you present them to a prospective client, start with the “important” items and work towards the “majorly important” ones. But before you communicate the most important merit that drives the most return on investment (ROI) for your prospect, do something that no one else will do. You know the negatives of doing business with your company, right? Maybe you’re very expense, have slow production cycles or shipping cycles, or perhaps it’s the cost of your product or service. If it has lost you a sale in the past, it’s a negative. Now, right before you give your customers the biggest merit for doing business with you, tell them that negative. What?!? That’s right, rattle off the positive merits of doing business with you versus someone else and then right before you tell them the biggest advantage of all, tell them a negative merit! This is something advertisers discovered years ago which will make you an instant authority. You will gain incredible ground in the “trustworthy and credibility” areas. In a matter of seconds you can accomplish what would otherwise take you weeks, months or years!
Regardless of how you’ve performed when “selling” in past, these five sales techniques will provide you with more influence to achieve more success and feed that sales hunger. After all, nothing else matters!
Quick Tips for Working with the “Gatekeeper” in this Economy:
– Be Brief – Get in and get out.
– State Your Purpose – Tell them why you’re calling and be “nice.”
– Be Polite/Courteous – Remember their name and be “nice.”
– Leave Your Name – Duh, it should go without saying, but…
– Follow-up/Follow through – When you call back call them by name and recount when you called previously … Ask them for help/guidance.
Got Influence? You’re either an “InfluencerR” or you’re being “InfluenceD”! Take the “Influential Leader Inventory” at www.GotInfluence.com and see where you rank against other leaders who have the “Influential Edge”! Sam Palazzolo is the author of “The Influential Leader: 10 Critical Skills You MUST Possess For Success.” As President and Chief Influence Officer at Pathos Leadership Group LLC, Sam conducts Influential Keynotes, Workshops, Webinars, and one-on-one Coaching. Discover more at www.PathosLeadershipGroup.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 817-605-1942.