Selling can be defined as everything that happens from the first contact with the prospective customer to the satisfactory delivery of the product or service.
If your advertising is effective, it will attract prospective customers to your business. If you’re engaged in direct selling, where you telephone and make appointments and then go and see the customer personally you have to prospect for customers. Each part of the professional selling process must take place no matter how you meet the customer for the first time.
The first rule of selling is to spend more time with better prospects. Your first job in the prospecting process is to separate “prospects” from “suspects.” Your goal in the initial stages of your first meeting is to determine whether the person is a genuine prospect or just a “tyre kicker.”
For many people shopping around is a form of entertainment. They are polite and pleasant and they ask lots of questions, but they have no real intention of buying in the foreseeable future.
In prospecting you must ask carefully planned questions to determine whether this person has a genuine need that your product or service can satisfy. These questions will differ depending upon what you sell and who you sell to.
One of the best investments you’ll ever make is in books, CD`s and professional sales training programs that teach you how to become excellent at prospecting and finding new customers.
2. Establishing Rapport And Trust
Customers today are pampered, spoiled and fickle. They will only buy from someone they like and who they feel likes them. “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
People decide emotionally and then justify logically. In the first few moments with a prospect, you must slow down and take the time to build a minimum level of trust and likeability with that person. You do this by asking friendly questions and listening closely to the answer. You establish rapport and trust by being genuinely interested in the other person, as a person, rather than just as a customer.
3. Identify Needs
In this part of the sales process, you ask the prospect questions about what they’re currently doing, what they need at the moment, and what their plans are for the future.
Whenever someone asks me for my advice about which of our programs they should buy, I always ask, “What sort of business are you doing now?”
When somebody comes into your business, perhaps the worst question you can ask is “Can I help you?”
This question will almost always generate the response “No thanks I’m just looking.”
A better question might be “Is there anything specific I can help you with today?”
You could also say, “Hi is this the first time you’ve been to our store?” Whichever way they answer you could continue by saying, “That’s great! We’ve got some really terrific specials this week; can I show them to you?”
In medicine they say, “Prescription without examination and diagnosis is malpractice.”
Most sales people commit “sale malpractice” every single day. They start talking to the customer about the product or service before they have taken time to do the examination or diagnosis.
4. The Presentation
Once you’ve established rapport with the prospect and clearly identified what they want and what they’re looking for, you can then show how your product or service is the very best choice for them at this time.
You use what is called “educational selling” instead of trying to persuade the prospect to buy your product or service, you teach them about the product, what it is made of , how it works and especially what it does for the customer. You teach the special benefits that owning this product offer your customer. You do not try and sell at all. Instead you focus on giving the prospect good information and let them evaluate that information without pressure.
5. Answering Objections
There are no sales without questions or concerns. A good customer will want to know about what will happen if they buy what you’re selling. The customer may have questions or concerns about the price, competitive offerings, or the suitability for them at this time. You must be prepared to answer these concerns openly and honestly.
6. Closing the Sale
This is often the most stressful part of the sale for both the customer and sales person. However, it does not need to be difficult. It simply requires that you develop two or three simple ways of asking the customer to make a buying decision.
- The Assumptive Close. After you presentation, you ask a question like “Do you like what I’ve shown you so far?” or “How do you like this?”
If the customer says “It looks pretty good” or “It looks fine” you assume the sale and behave exactly as if the customer has said “Yes, I’ll take it.” You ask “Well then, would you like me to wrap this up for you?” or “If you have no further questions, how soon do you need this?”
- The Invitational Close. You ask, “Do you have any other questions or concerns that I haven’t covered?”
When the customer says, “No” you close the sale by saying “Well then, why don’t you give it a try?” If you’re selling services, you say “Why don’t you give us a try?” If you’re selling a tangible product you can ask, “Why don’t you take it?” or “Why not purchase it now?”
In every case, once you’ve explained your product or service to the customer and explained how they can best use it, you should invite them to make a buying decision – “Why don’t you give it a try?”
- The Alternative Close. Customers often find it easier to buy if you give then a choice instead of an ultimatum. For example, “Which of these do you prefer, the red one or the blue one?” or “Which do you like better, model 25 or model 30?”
If you only have a single product, offer a choice between methods of payments. “How would you like to pay for this, cash or credit?” Or you could offer a different delivery, “Would you like to take this with you now, or should we deliver it to you tomorrow?”
There are more than one hundred ways to close a sale however I believe you only need to know about seven closing techniques. Once you’ve learned and memorised these techniques, you have them in your head to use at the appropriate time.
7. Getting Resales and referrals
Immediately after making a sale you should ask. “Would you happen to know of anyone else who might be interested in getting what you’ve just purchased?”
To get resales, you must be sure to follow up the sale with excellent customer service.
The Most Profitable Sales
The reason that resales and referrals are so important is because they are the most profitable and easiest to make. A sale to a satisfied customer is ten times easier that advertising, selling and getting new customers. This means that it take one tenth of the time, cost, and energy to make a resale than it does to make a first time sale. All successful, profitable businesses are built on the second sale (and third, fourth, fifth etc.).
A referral from a satisfied customer is
fifteen times easier to sell than a cold call or a new customer. This means it takes fifteen times the cost and energy to find a new customer through advertising, promotions and sales effort as it does to sell someone referred to you by a happy customer.
Credibility Is The Key To The Sale
Perhaps the most important word in business is “credibility.” The higher your creditability the easier it is for someone to buy from you. And everything you do in your transaction with your customer either raises or lowers your credibility. Everything counts.
When you get a referral from a satisfied customer, it will almost always be to a relative or friend or close business associate of your customer. The customer already has established a high level of credibility or trust with that person. When you call on a referral it is with the credibility that has already been established by your customer. As much as 95% of the sale has already been made.
Consistent Customer Service
The third part of successful business development after marketing (lead generation) and selling (lead conversion) is customer service and satisfaction. Almost any company can attract customers for the first time. But it is your ability to keep the customer coming back and buying again that is the true measure of your effectiveness as a businessperson.
Just remember, professionalism is the key to a great sales person. The more professional you appear, the more your prospects will listen to what you have to say.
People like dealing with experts in their field, with someone that really knows what they’re talking about and somebody who will look after their interests. They want good advice and information before they buy.
They’re very wary of being caught by some clever sales person whose only interest is to make money.
So make the choice, treat every sale like it really matters, build rapport and trust with your customers and provide excellent service and performance.
Do this, and watch your sales multiply!
For further information on how your business can benefit from these and other exciting business and marketing tactics call Bob Lyon direct on 043 883 0937 or get your FREE report entitled “How To Sell Your Business At Your Price … And Cause A Stampede Of Prospective Buyers Literally Begging For Your Time” by simply going to www.betterbusinessreport.com/ab4s1.htm