Section One: Sales Performance
Effective sales performance depends on a great many factors. In this section, we’re going to look at what leads to effective selling. Once you know what is needed, you can then assess your own selling abilities.
Keys to Effective Sales
Some of the requirements of an effective salesperson are:
Your channel of distribution may involve the following:
Basic Selling Process
Selling essentially involves four steps:
A need is something that a customer wants or desires that can be satisfied by services or products.
When customers are expressing a need, they generally use statements such as these:
Finding customers with a need for your product or service is an on-going and constant activity.
Your market research results will help you to identify your potential customers and the best methods to reach them.
The activity of searching and seeking customers who may be interested in your product or service is called prospecting.
Prospecting is the number 1 priority of top sales people. It is an “everywhere” and “anytime” activity. Your goal is to identify “qualified prospects” and avoid “unqualified suspects”.
A qualified prospect is 5 times more likely to buy than qualified suspects!
Click on Worksheet 5.1 (Word Document) to identify possible prospects for your business.
Every sales situation involves some form of presentation. Sometimes the presentation may be in a prospects office, home or conference room. At other times, presentations take the form of greeting and detailing with customer in a retail store. Presentations also take place every time a potential customer calls your company over the phone.
Whatever form of presentation applies to your business some preparation is needed. Similar steps need to be followed to ensure success.
Preparing to Make the Presentation
The first step in any sales presentation is to prepare yourself — both physically (appearance) and mentally (how you feel about yourself).
The ability to be successful in sales depends on your ability to be confident and sure of your abilities. In short, the selling process begins with you.
The following techniques will help you to positively prepare for a sales situation:
Preparing Your Presentation
After preparing yourself, you should be ready to make the presentation. However, you must prepare prior to making the presentation. Usually, the preparation for a presentation is three times as long as the presentation itself.
There are four steps to preparing your own presentation:
1. Product/Service Knowledge
2. Knowledge of your Company
3. Knowledge of the environment, industry and competition
4. Understand the Value of Your Product or Service
Refining your Approach for the Presentation
The purpose of the approach is to capture the interest of the potential customer. While there are many methods of achieving this, here are some factors to take into consideration.
Elements of an Effective Sales Presentation
Every successful sales presentation includes some elements.
1. Define your objectives: Know precisely what you hope to achieve as a result of your presentation.
2. Focus on the long-term relationship: Consider your sales presentation as the beginning of a long-term relationship with the prospect rather than a short-term meeting.
3. Focus on the prospect.
4. Establish credibility:
5. Present the product/service benefits:
Click on Worksheet 5.2 (Word Document) to identify your product and service benefits.
6. Understand group dynamics:
7. Arrange another call:
Click on Worksheet 5.3 to prepare your sales presentation.
During any sale presentation, you will encounter some rough spots. When this occurs, probing is one technique to continue the presentation on a positive note.
If you are unsure whether or not a customer has a particular need, you should try probing to confirm if a need exists.
Probing involves using questions which start with phrases such as:
Types of Questions
There are a variety of question types you can use in your role as salesperson:
Trial Closing Questions
Once you have uncovered the customer’s needs, it is important to do two things to help build relationships with your customers:
1. Indicate the Benefits
2. Acknowledge and Confirm
Other situations that will develop during sales presentations are objections — questions or concerns raised by the potential buyer about your product or service.
Buying objections should be welcomed in any sales situation. Without any buying objections, you have no way of determining the prospect’s degree of interest and have no idea what they want or think. Objections are the opportunity to address and clarify the buyer’s concerns.
The key to handling objections successfully is preparation – anticipate typical objections and be prepared to address them in terms of the benefits the prospect is seeking. The other key to handling objections is learning to identify “real” buying objections from smoke screens. Active listening, experience and skilful probing are means of identifying “real” buying objections:
Dealing with Objections
The following highlights the effective way of dealing with buying objections:
Common Buying Objections
There are three primary buying objections when dealing with potential customers.
Not Interested: This is one of the most common responses of consumers particularly to door to door and Telemarketing sales. Not interested is not a valid objection unless the person does not have a need or want for the product. If you have prospected properly, you will have ensured that the customer has a use for what it is that you are selling. Therefore, it is advisable to follow “not interested” with an open probe to determine why the person is not interested. Usually, there is another reason for them not wanting to purchase and in fact they really may be interested.
Price: Price objections are usually phrased in terms of not having money available, money has not been budgeted, or the price is too expensive. The most common means of dealing with this objection is to offer payment alternatives such as postdated cheques, lay away plans, credit, or credit card charges. Another approach is to illustrate the cost vs. benefits of making the purchase. This is particularly useful when dealing with large ticket items to illustrate to the prospect how purchasing now and at this price can actually save them money in the long term.
Current Vendor: Another common objection is that they are already dealing with a current supplier. Indeed, many companies are already using products or services from established suppliers. In many cases, they are very satisfied with the current vendor and may not be interested in changing to you. It is important to probe to ensure that this is a legitimate objection and not just a smoke screen. You may wish to ask closed probes to determine the degree of satisfaction with their current vendor including service, quality and price. Another approach is to have the prospect use your product or service on a trial basis in order to compare with their current vendor. This is one of the most effective means of overcoming the current vendor objection.
Click on Worksheet 5.4 (Word Document) to prepare for objections you may encounter in selling situations.
Closure occurs only after all objections have been effectively handled and there is a transfer of energy or enthusiasm about the product.
Notes on closing the sale:
There are four steps to closing the sale:
An effective way to close the interaction is to first summarize the benefits that the customer has accepted, then develop an action plan that requires a commitment from the customer.
The action you suggest may be agreeing to an appointment, attending a demonstration, placing an order.
Building Long Term Relationships
The Friendship Factor is a key determinate of your success. Take good care of your customers. Treat them as friends.
Low pressure selling keeps the conversation and focus on customers’ needs and wants and not on your product.
Always keep the subconscious needs of your customer in mind:
The most powerful way to build trust is to listen. Why?
Effective Time Management
Consultative selling involves seeking out ways in which you can help your customers increase revenues or reduce costs. In this sense, you become an advisor for your customers rather than simply a sales person. Customers come to appreciate that interaction with you benefits them directly. The result of building this relationship is confidence, trust and longevity.
Influences on Buying Decisions
Many factors affect the buying decisions of your customers. Here are three main ones:
1. Unconscious influence or reciprocity.
2. Other people
Why People Buy
Some reasons why a customer might buy your product or service: