Selling 

Everyone lives by selling something. - Robert Louis Stevenson


 

Most of us are actively involved in selling on a routine or continuing basis, even though they may not think of it that way.

Lemonade Stand 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 
 
For some the sales process seems natural. Others need coaching and assistance. Their attempts at communicating are awkward.
 
Any example of persuasive communication is a form of selling - whether it's selling hardware or a point of view. Effective selling requires a lot of hard work. And, working hard doesn't mean just making a lot of customer contacts. It means being prepared mentally and physically. It means acting professionally. And, it also probably means making a lot of customer contacts.
 
There are some classic definitions of stages in a sales process: getting someone's attention, developing their interest, creating a desire and allowing them to act by closing the sale. The manner and speed with which this process occurs has a lot to do with the products or services being sold and whether or not the customer interaction will likely lead to a long term business relationship or a single transaction. It's also a function of the complexity of the product or service, its price and several other factors.
 
Regardless of how aggressively or quickly the customer is approached, there are a few good pointers for all sales professionals to keep in mind:
 

Do your homework

Know your product! This seems obvious. But, it's so important it needs to be mentioned. You're the expert. Be able to answer all obvious questions. And know where to get answers to all the non obvious ones.

 Before a business to business sales call be sure you’re familiar with the basic operations and
organization of the company you’re calling on. Find background information on them. Visit their
web site. Try to develop a sense of their needs and challenges and the environment in which they
do business. This can help you make sure you’ll have the information and materials you’ll need
during the visit. Also, know your competition. If the prospective customer isn’t buying from you,
they’re probably buying from your competitor. And get to know their competition as well.

Listen

Use your time during a sales call to learn more about what the customer needs. Let
them tell you what they want before you explain what you can provide. Ask questions to clarify
your understanding. Make your presentation based on what you believe they need. Value their time.
Don’t spend it talking about unrelated aspects of your company, service or product.

Follow Up

There’s an old saying, "It takes three calls to make the first sale.” Don’t
expect instant results and don’t expect the person you’re calling on to care as much about your
product or service as you do.

Be Persistent

Prioritize your sales contacts and set various frequencies for contacts depending on
the prospect and the circumstances. But make contact with all current and prospective customers
on a regular basis - in person or by other means. There are many customer resource management
(CRM) software packages on the market that can help record, track and plan contacts with
customers.

Be Professional

This means dressing appropriately, using proper grammar and social
etiquette and being honest and respectful of others, even your competitors. Stay clear of
controversial topics. If you’re in a position to compare your product or service to the competition,
do so based on facts you can document, rather than emotions or hearsay.

Be Positive

Sometimes you have to take "No” for an answer. But try to never give it. Do
everything possible, plus 10%, to find an opportunity at every sales call to be of assistance or
develop a relationship for future contact. If you can’t sell them something at least leave on good
terms so you might make a return visit in the future.