This article was written by Barry McKinley, SCORE Orange County Business Mentor
To be successful in sales takes a lot of practice and following established principles. The basic ingredients to effective selling are the following; Product & Competitor Knowledge, Selling Tactics & Strategies and Attitude, Enthusiasm and Goals. Having all these tools at your disposal will increase your close rate 10 fold. Lacking one or more and you will struggle to get orders and loose to more qualified sales people. It is normally not the best product that is the market leader but the product that is marketed the best. No different with sales. Following is a brief discussion of each of the required skills;
Product & Competitor Knowledge
Without knowing your product and your competitors inside and out it becomes very hard to overcome objections. In any selling situation the well trained salesperson sells the benefits of the product - not the features. If you don’t know and understand your product and your competitors you will quickly be embarrassed and ineffective. A good salesperson will focus on the benefits of their product and showing the weakness of their competitors. Without excellent product knowledge you will fail. The top producer is able to offer solutions to their customers fitting the company’s products and services to their needs. They are able to professionally probe customers to establish their requirements. They will know the competition’s strengths and weaknesses. They are able to deliver the sales message to the customer without “Information Dumping”.
Selling Tactics & Strategies
What type of approach will you use with the client? Perhaps offer a demo, free sampling or maybe even a money back guarantee. Your ‘game plan’ should be organized and planned out long before you approach the potential client.
You need to sell the concept of the product and how it will benefit the user. You want to build the need of the product and its advantages. You don’t want to allow the hub of the conversation to be based around price. Price is only one of many factors in making a buying decision. You must be prepared to weigh in with other factors that neutralize price consideration. You must be prepared via client probing to deliver the sales message in the format that is most understandable and motivating to the client. It is ALWAYS about the client and their needs and wants.
Attitude, Enthusiasm and Goals
Without showing enthusiasm for your product and its benefits how would you expect to excite a client? A sales presentation requires planning and practice. You must show the client a positive attitude and “bubble over with excitement”. Remember if you don’t have the clients excited and interested the sales process quickly stalls. The final step in the process is to have a predetermined goal, whether it is obtaining presentation with the boss, product trial, or move to next level. In over 60% of selling situations the sales person does not ask for the order or what the next step is.
Effective salesmanship takes a lot of planning, research and practice. If you miss any of those key sales steps the odds of success are cut in half.