The ingenious quick thinkers in Jelly Towers needed to think of a word …after much deliberation we came up with lemon. Well…it took 17.2 seconds of speedy thought!
Sales people talking at you is a real bugbear of mine. What is the point? Before you can sell anything you need to fully understand the prospects needs, understand their business, appreciate their target audience and so much more. They won’t be interested in watching boring PowerPoint presentations with copious amounts of slides full of geeky product info. Ask a series of questions, take notes and pay particular attention to the needs of who you’re listening to and get to know them. Despite what you may think, people do like to talk about themselves so let them. If they identify with you and enjoy the meeting they’ve had then you are much likely to have found yourself a new customer.
You may have years of sales experience under your belt selling a plethora of products across a wide range of sectors but never for one minute think you’ve got there. No body is perfect in any career, everyone still has a lot to learn. If your sales meetings are the same every time then there’s something wrong. I would out money on you not applying the ‘L’ bit of this blog. If you’re not listening then you’re talking, probably using presentations or sticking to a robotic and boring script. Everyone has their own approach to sales – there isn’t a set style which works and I believe we can all learn off each other.
I’ve been to many sales training sessions over the years and whilst sat in some of them, I’ve been bored to death but on reflection, I’ve learnt something. I remember one session I was forced to go on by a company I used to work for; I was in a room with no aircon, no refreshments, horrible plastic chairs…the presentation was definitely interactive, the slides were boring and I don’t remember anything of the course. Perhaps my bosses had wasted the best part of a grand but looking back I picked up a valuable lesson. I didn’t take anything from the sales training as intended but I did become to fully appreciate that your prospect needs to be comfortable with the surroundings and you need to be on the look out for signs of boredom. I sat in that room for 6 hours a day for 2 days and felt I’d wasted my time. As a sales person, if you bore your prospect or you make them feel uncomfortable, you are wasting your time and are sure to lose the opportunity.
What I’m saying is that you don’t only have to learn from good examples, you should also learn from what not to do.
OK…I’m stretching the use of words here but I think I’m onto one so bare with me!
I’m thinking along the lines of speed, timing and pace. If you get this wrong you will lose out to one of your competitors. Some industries have been spoilt and relied in reactive sales…not many businesses have that luxury nowadays and have had to adopt a much more proactive approach. This shift in the sales process means that timing is key and you need to move towards your customer instead of the other way around. How are you going to find that prospect? When will the opportunity arise?
I give up on this one!!! I do think move is a good word but to avoid me waffling, I’ll leave it up to your imaginations.
I believe this is the most important part of this blog, without an opportunity the is no sale. It really is as straight forward as that. Therefore, you need to find an opportunity to win new business. Who has a need? What is their need? and how can you grab it?
Opportunity combines all the other parts of the LEMON. Without listening, you won’t understand an opportunity, without having the skills you won’t understand how to spot an opportunity, without moving you won’t find an opportunity and without nurturing, there will be no success. Opportunity is the core of the sale – winning the business isn’t the most challenging part of the process…it’s the finding and looking after the potential, without this there is no new business to be had.
Business doesn’t happen overnight unless you are extremely lucky. I accept that referral based sales may be quicker and that part of the nurturing process has already been done by an introducer. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy and I am predominantly focussing on generating new business from scratch. Most potential customers will be talking to a number of suppliers within your field, many will require more than one appointment and all of this takes time. When it comes to nurturing, there’s a fine line between not doing enough and pestering and it’s finding that balance to suit the opportunity. I try my best to give as much control to my prospect. I will say that I’ll give them a call on a specific day of the week and I’ll ask if that’s OK. I have never had one person who’s said no other than days out of the office or other work commitments. If they’ve said it’s ok then you can’t be pestering. It also saves you time because you’re much more likely to get hold of them rather than playing voicemail ping pong. The key thing is once you’ve said you’ll do something then do it. If you fail to deliver proposals, miss meetings or not call when you said you would then your prospect is already envisaging what your after sales support will be like and you’ll no doubt be slipping down the selection ladder, losing you the business.
The nurturing process is all about that fine line and where that is depends on the individual opportunity, the individual and the business your selling to…you need to judge how to move, when to move and you’re likely to find the right balance keeping you at the top of the ladder.