3 days back I asked 3 questions: before going into the details let me share some interesting facts – my questions elicited responses from just 3 readers and they didn’t take more than 3 sentences to answers my questions. I had asked:
1. What would you do before you make the first visit to a client?
2. What are some of the ways you can influence this person?
3. What will be the indicators of your own conviction in the product / service you are representing?
If you thought I was joking about the answer received, take a look – here they are; only spell-check has been done:
Take time to prepare yourself, your presentation and learn about your client.
Sales is as much about being able to sell yourself to the customer, convince him!
Every approach for a customer call should be specific and to the point, and more over you should have product knowledge and self confidence!
Preparation is the key here- knowledge of your product, business is essential to build the confidence inside you before you come face-to-face with the client.
It would be good also to get some background information about the client and customise the presentation; cut the frills and get to the point; be a good ambassador for your company and explain the positives.
Lead the client into asking you about the competition and once you have done your homework, would be a piece of cake to go for the kill and get the client to buy your product or in my case become a loyal repeat guest.
Know your product thoroughly know your client and his requirement find where your product fits in what is the salient features you have which can be of advantage in terms of quality and productivity most.
Important find where the person your meeting stands vis-a-vis decision making what is the procedure for taking decisions.
Once you know this you plot your way into the organisation.
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Yes, they have got it right – but I would have loved to hear much more from these seasoned campaigners; maybe they wished to leave some of it for me. Here is a summation of their inputs with a little bit from my side:
A.1 – The preparation we do prior to meeting a client should focus on our company, its product/service range, how they can be used to solve a need and finally on the customer itself. The details we convey about our company should build trust and confidence and convey loud and clear that we can solve their problems and provide service support whenever needed. While speaking about our product and its applications focus on those aspects that can be used in the context of the client organisation – which means we need to study the customer’s organisation in detail and prepare carefully so that we achieve maximum impact by using just the right amount of firepower.
If you are meeting the person for a non-sales requirement, for example a charity, focus on those elements that can make the strongest impression – create a video, carry testimonials and information on what’s been achieved till date; you can invite the person to the organisation or the place place where the charity work is dbeing done.
It would be good to find out as much as possible in advance about the person you are meeting – their position in the hierarchy, how much is this person contributing towards the final decision, what is the person’s likes or dislikes, what kind of a person is he/she and so on? The more you know, the better your chance of achieving the planned objective.
A.2 – If a picture can create the impact of a 1000 words, a video can do the work of a million of them – a smartly prepared presentation on how our products can be used to solve problems or a presentation on our facilities and our achievements or testimonials from our clients would help to generate interest and prompt action from the client’s side.
Speak with a major client and ask for support to answer specific queries from a prospect, who is seeking confirmation on the utility and benefits of your offering – a favouarable response can strongly swing the deal your way.
Offering a trial run or a demo for a shot period is another method used to get the prospective customer used to your solution – there are times when the customer would tell you not to take back the trial piece and ask for a bill instead.
It is also important to convince the client on the competence, capabilities, enthusiasm and track-record of the team of people working in your organisation.
A.3 – How you present yourself is a major indicator your confidence – being tentative and unsure are clear indication of your lack of confidence. Your body language has to be positive and the words you use should carry conviction. Even lack of preparation can cause hesitancy and nervousness – so be prepared and ready.
If you are going to present a PowerPoint or a video or conducting a demo do a dry run at your office before presenting to the client – have an audience to observe and listen; get them to ask the most uncomfortable questions and prepare answers for those. By going to such details you are increasing the chance of success immensely.
I am stressing once again on Preparation simply because there is a tendency to relax, particularly the more experienced Sales Professionals or Campaigner’s, who believe that they have seen it all and they can handle any situation just as it unfolds – such complacence can lead to loss of face and loss of business; you are never sure when an unexpected or previously unseen situation will have to be confronted – hence it’s important to stay grounded and go through all the steps involved before you start every major campaign.
If what has been done so far is good enough then experienced pilots would stop flying sorties, Army Chiefs wouldn’t lead the troops for War games and top-ranked athletes would not do any practice before a competition!
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Wow! 3 days into the new year already! “Yalla, Habibi!!” My Arab friends would say. Get going … time to gather momentum!
This morning I spoke with a close friend, now living in the USA.
He is a model of what I constantly aspire to be, but fall short of for want of consistency. I have some distance to cover before I can honestly say that I am focused on just the essentials, and what’s relevant.
Today, I get involved in a lot of stuff – particularly, on Social Media – way beyond what is really my core subject. It’s fun and engaging, but terribly distracting and delusional. Activity on Social Media makes you believe that you are in it and gainfully occupied, but in reality you may be frittering away the most perishable resource, Time – and your LIFE!
Yesterday, I read an article, by a young entrepreneur, about the importance of Doing – he stressed that Effort is the only thing we can really control. He was only repeating what wise folks have been saying for millennia, but it’s an important insight gained – once internalized you are on your way to lasting success.
My friend truly practices that. He left Indian shores more than 2 decades back armed with an M.Com. Degree; after reaching USA he added a CPA to his credentials – he does not waste much time on anything that distracts him from his goal. From the time I met him, back in 1978, I have only seen him doing what’s important – his job, the teaching assignments he did post work and his self-development activities.
Today, while the American Economy is tottering and many Americans are out of jobs he has a full-time Government job, a teaching assignment at the local University and an independent Tax Consulting practice (the last two with the permission of his Superiors).
It’s a living example for the returns you can expect from Effort!
His journey has not been without disappointments – being an outsider he is at a disadvantage and has not been given what he is justifiably due – but then, that has never got him down. He gives each day the best shot and it has paid him handsome dividends.
He has a fabulous house (Trust me on that!), goes on vacation every year and his son goes to the University – now what percentage of Americans can echo such a boast. But he does not boast about it – it’s just me saying it in passing!
The definition of Effort in Physics is Force applied against inertia. How apt!!
As Sales Professional, execute your plan rigorously – Eat the Broccoli first! Yes, do everything that you don’t like doing.
- Make that call – spend more time with the customer
- Prospect – strengthen your pipeline
- Write reports – put more measurable information into it
- Solve customer complaints – Happy customers give more revenue
- Analyze the quality of your work and make the necessary corrections
- Attend that Industry Seminar or Training Program you have been postponing
Ruthlessly eliminate all activities that don’t matter and focus just on the ones that will make you a Winner.
Do! Do! Do! ….. Do you read me?
It’s a brand new year – this was my Tweet to start the Day / Month / Year:
- A clean slate, a fresh start … 365 opportunities to be a Winner – take them one at a time! You can do it, so can I! Let’s begin…
Took just 132 characters – dots, dashes, spaces included!
All it needs is just 1 more character … U (Me when said in first person!)
Yes, you need to make it happen, and I.
What does the clean slate indicate?
- It means opportunities- to do things afresh, to go for goals, to think differently and to learn new skills.
- It means we have been the space to do what’s right.
- It means the past is over – we have learned from our successes and even more from the failures; but we won’t linger long to celebrate the wins nor to lament the wrongs … it’s time to move on.
I am reminded of the noble thought from Mother Teresa:
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
- It means we won’t be prejudiced by our beliefs, notions and values; we will take people and events as they are and try to learn from every interaction.
As Sales Professionals we will:
- Go through the drill every day.
- Have the target in sight all the time.
- Spend more time with the customer.
- Listen to our customers and support team; give them the benefit of the doubt
- Apply the knowledge and skills we have gained.
- Do things differently.
- Analyze data, events and interactions with the intent to understand, not to judge!
- Spend time to Coach the team and give them constructive feedback
- Commit only what’s possible.
- Surprise Customers, Co-workers and Superiors by exceeding expectation.
Yes, it’s time to PLAN, but it’s also the time to DO – Hurry, the clock is ticking!