Guide to Sales Success

Sales SuccessThe guide to sales success is simple really. Plan out the best actions to take. Then act on your plans.

Self-discipline really encompasses nearly everything in life. Do you remember in school when you were given 30 days to write a term paper? Did you start it that first night? Most of us didn’t.

Instead, we thought about it every night. “Got to get moving on that ratty project. But I’ve got almost a whole month left. It can wait.” As time goes by, worry about getting a failing grade looms larger in our minds. At first, the pain of starting the term paper is greater than our concern about the failing grade. So after a week, we still haven’t started. Two weeks go by. What are we doing every night before we go to sleep? Worrying about that “F.” “I better start. Tomorrow, I’ll get moving on it.”

A week before the term paper is due, the “F” is getting larger, but it’s still not quite large enough to offset the pain of working at preventing it. All of a sudden there are only three days left before it’s due and at last the “F” looms larger than the pain of working on the term paper. So we start.

As you lay it out, you begin to feel some enthusiasm. “This isn’t bad. I may get an ‘A’ if I do this and that.” When you walk in with your paper, you’re happy but you wasted 27 days worrying about starting. In other words, you operated at a deficit emotionally for 27 days when you could have been in the profit column the whole time. [Read more…]

Decision-Making in Sales

Puzzle PeopleDecision-making in sales situations is not drastically unlike making decisions in life in general. Before you can help a potential client make a decision about owning your product or service, you must have certain knowledge. That knowledge will give you power in the selling situation because knowledge is power but only when properly applied.

So, what knowledge is it that you need?

  1. You need knowledge about your product or service. How strong is your product knowledge? Can you answer any question that pops up during a client contact? Granted 80% of your clients will likely ask you the same questions about your product but what about that other 20%? Don’t you want to serve their needs as well? Get your product knowledge down. Never wing it with answers about your product or service.
  2. You need knowledge of your current inventory. You never know when a chance encounter will find you facing someone with a desire and the means to purchase multiple quantities of your product. How embarrassing would it be to make the sale, then have to tell them your product is on back order or that you don’t have enough in stock to fulfill their entire order?
  3. If your product is one that requires some folks to finance it over time, what type of financing is available? How many ways do you know of for them to afford and own your product today?
  4. Do you know if this person you’re investing your valuable time with is qualified to own your product? If not, here’s how to ask about it, in a polite, and non-threatening way: “John, who other than yourself might be involved in making a final decision?” “Mary, what’s the procedure for making purchasing decisions?”
  5. Is this person ready, able and willing to make a decision today? Too many salespeople waste time presenting to people who have no intention of owning their products or at the very least no intention of owning today. They are just “researching” the product or “interested” in it. Consider working this question into your conversation, “If this product is right for your needs, how soon do you expect to make a buying decision?”  Or, “How urgent is your need to get this product on your shelves?” Get the answer to this question early in your client meetings and you’ll have the knowledge you need to maximize your efforts with them.

If you don’t have this knowledge, you don’t have what’s necessary to close a sale. This knowledge will indicate to you how to work with each and every potential client.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.