28 October 2014

Diverse People Working and Startup Business Concept

There are far too many bad stories around about sales people who endlessly try to sell you something that you just don’t want.  This is often coupled with using high pressure sales techniques, without the understanding, nor the questioning of whether there is a need for their offer.   Don’t become the character in one of these stories!

The Golden Rule is simple:

Seek to understand the needs of your client and then provide the correct solution, thereby ensuring a professional relationship will be established.

You will need to begin by understanding your market, understanding your product, the offer, and the service, and then quantifying who would require this?

Once completed you will be in a position to identify your market: who would be your ideal client; who would benefit from your product or service; who would make the most of your offer?  Be specific – which sector would benefit; what size of business; which location (eg postcode area) would you like to target?

You will also need to identify the key contact, the person who is in the position to make any purchasing decisions.   So much time can be wasted by not approaching the appropriate decision maker.  Depending on your offer this person could be the HR manager, the managing director, the sales director, or the production manager for example.

Compile a definitive list of your target market: companies and the contact name.  To do this effectively you will need to seek good quality data.  By using organisations who compile data banks, you can gain clean, up-to-date data very easily, which can save time and money in the long run.  Such an organisation is Marketing File , who source data from a wide variety of quality resources, including Experian.  Do your own research on other organisations and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.

You also need to identify your product/offer to ensure you can always have a consultative approach – do not try to sell unwanted products.  Understand your product/offer and know how the client may benefit from your products or services.  Identify the features and benefits and know what these are for each potential customer.

You will have to make a decision on your approach.   This could be by letter, telephone, face-to-face, e-mail marketing, etc.

A simple e-mail or letter of introduction can be a good hook on which to follow up with a telephone call.  Be aware of the Telephone Preference Service if you are planning to canvass by telephone. This is a key area where you can receive heavy fines for canvassing a company that has registered to not receive cold calls.  Click for more information on TPS.

With every opportunity to present your product remember these key points:

  • Have the tools to present your product and service.   Depending on your market an on-line resource may not be enough. Your client may have a preference in receiving information, some like to receive electronically, some may like a hard copy brochure.  Some might want to see the actual product.
  • On appointments, remember to be well groomed and appropriately dressed – first impressions count – and simply smile.
  • Prepare for objections and rejections.  You will be challenged, but don’t take this personally.  More likely an objection arises when a client is feeling unsure about the product or service and requires more information.  Listen to the customer’s comments and opinions, and ask questions throughout to ensure you fully understand their viewpoint.  Ensure that you have covered all aspects of your offer, and that you are certain it provides a perfect solution for your client.  Explain features and benefits in response to your client’s objections. Your counter-arguments should help to persuade the customer.

Finally, take advantage of Social Media.  Ensure you have an informative website, Facebook page, and Twitter account for your business.  Post good news stories and interact with your audience.

74% of all internet users use social networking, with 19% using Twitter and 22% using Linked-in. (Source – www.pewinternet.org)  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to use these platforms for commenting on the benefits of your products and services in an informative and authoritative way – be seen as a specialist in your field.

Written by Julie Pauley- Nwes Business Advisor

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