Today's blog is a summary of some sales skills research I conducted recently. If you don't regularly ready my blog you might not be aware that Profitworks performs Waterloo sales functions for various customers. Currently all of Profitworks' customers are located in the city of Waterloo and most of them focus on providing services to other businesses in Waterloo Region.
In my project to improve my sales skills I found numerous pieces of information and tips from various sources. Below is a summary of the sales tactics and tips that I thought were most insightful when looking to obtain new customers.
1. Make A Good First Impression
This first tip is easy to do but easy to forget or ignore. If you make a good first impression people will want to work with you. If you make a bad first impression they probably won't. Unfortunately as humans we make quick assumptions about someone within the first 30 seconds of meeting them. Once these assumptions are made it takes a long time to change them. If you can get these first assumptions to be that you are nice, smart, successful, professional, trustworthy and knowledgeable it will increase your closing rate. What makes a good first impression is in large part driven by subconscious body language. Refer to my blog article How To Make A Good First Impression With Potential Customers to refer specifically to how you can make a great first impression.
2. Always Out Dress
By dressing at a higher level then who you are meeting it makes you look smarter, more professional and organized. If you are trying to sell something why would you not want people to think of you in this manner? Out dressing also gives the impression that you are successful. People like to work with successful people not unsuccessful people. The exception to this is rule to make sure you don't over dress to the extreme that you are out of place or place your self on a higher level that will make the person you are meeting feel like they can not associated with you.
3. Go Big Or Don't Bother Showing Up
Make an impression on your customer or potential customer! If you are going to do anything make it worth while so that they will remember it, otherwise don't do it at all. For example if you are taking a potential customer out for lunch or dinner often we think about what is a place that will be nice but not break our bank account. Instead we should be thinking how can you really wow this person and do something with them that makes you completely standout from anyone else. If your business is not into lunches and dinners there are still ways to wow your customer or potential customer. Instead of just meeting a potential customer, invite them for a tour of your facility and really pamper them on the tour catering to their every need and showing them a good time. A perfect example was just a few weeks ago. I had been trying to land a larger account for one of my customers who is in the food service industry. What we did was have the prospect come to the customers office and trail a bunch of the products my customer provides, showed the prospect all of the equipment the customer carries and gave him a tour of the facility. From the interaction you could tell he was having a good time. And in the end we got the account even though he was happy with his current supplier. By going the extra mile we stood out enough that he wanted to buy from my customer instead. So if you stand out and go big when presenting to a potential customer you will be more successful in closing the tougher but often more lucrative deals.
4. Listen, Don't Talk
People in sales are often known for being great talkers. What is really the skill that you need though in sales, before your talking will be effective, is listening. A sales person can only make use of their great talking skills if they know what the customer is interested in. A lot of the research I looked at said in a sales call your goal should be to talk as little as possible and get the other person talking as much as possible. If I look at my most successful sales calls I would have to agree that this approach appears to be correct. Going forward I will be trying to do as little talking as possible in my future sales calls and meetings.
5. Qualify Prospects, Don't Chase
The biggest waste of your valuable time is chasing after prospects that are no longer showing interest. Following up once or twice with a prospect that seemed interested is okay but if they don't reply after a few tries they are just not that interested. Put them back into your marketing process. If you have a email marketing program put them back on your email marketing list. By adding prospects that now seem disinterested or that require constant follow up to your email marketing list this will ensure you stay in contact with them. With further marketing they may come back to you and be actively pursuing your company to get your services....which is much easier to sell to. A explanation of how to use email marketing can be found in my blog article related to Email Marketing Guidelines To Generate New Customers.
6. Turn Down Clients
That is right. Turn down clients that are not a good fit. When you do recommend them to another supplier that would better fit their needs. If you sell to someone who you will not be able to service well both you and they will be frustrated and less then satisfied. Instead spend your time delivering your services or products to people you know you can trill and they will become loyal customers you never lose. Also, by showing you can turn away business and are honest when giving advice regarding the best solution for their business you will gain respect in your prospects eyes. If you give a prospect good advice on a solution that is not your own product or service you will quickly gain trust with that person. You may not get their sale, but they may end up sending a referral or multiple referrals your way at some point. They won't forget that you were honest and helpful.
7. Don't Walk Away From A No
Don't walk away but also do not try and convince them immediately. Instead listen and agree. Follow this by asking for an explanation in more detail. Then reflect back what you heard to make sure you understand the situation and objection correctly. This will let the other person feel truly heard, which in itself will be valuable towards building rapport, trust and a desire within them to work with you. Once you have listened intensely and verified the situation then and only then attempt to address the situation and objections. By waiting to pitch your solution and address objections until this point you will have much better success.
Of everything I read these are the seven points that seemed to make the most sense and hold the most truth from my experiences. I will definitely be working to incorporate each of these into my next sales call.
I help various B2B small businesses in Waterloo and Kitchener generate new customers. If you are interested in keeping up to date on issues related to generating new customers for B2B small businesses subscribe to this blog by email below. Just enter your email in the box provided.
I hope you have found this summary of sales skills a worth while read. Hopefully it can help improving your own or your entire sales team's sales skills as well.