Any soldier prepares for battle so he has some chance of survival. Have you ever noticed that sometimes it feels like a battle in the world of sales? It’s the sales warriors who prepare as they go into the marketplace that have any chance to win the sale. Here’s what you can do to win the sale.
Forget about generic sales proposals.
All too often a salesperson thinks, “I can send the generic proposal that I send to all prospects. It has all the information about me that a customer needs.” Wrong. Generic proposals are typically all about the supplier written with the intention of demonstrating credibility. Credibility is important, but it is not enough to get a customer to switch suppliers. You need more than just credibility especially if your prospect is currently happy with his supplier.
What your prospects want to see is that you understand their situation and their business. Your proposal needs to be customized to them. Generic proposals do accomplish something. They show your prospect that you don’t care to do a little work. It shows them that you haven’t listened to their issues and concerns. It shows them that you are just like every other salesperson who says he can earn their business, but doesn’t want to do the work to get it.
Ask the right questions.
You can only write a customized proposal if you ask the right questions. One of those questions helps you identify their problems, needs or wants. You could ask, “Is what you have now acceptable or do you want it to be improved?” when you identify an area where you might offer some improvement. The prospect’s answer will show you if the current situation is acceptable. Prospects don’t need to buy anything new if they’re happy with what they have.
Nothing is worse than finding out that you’ve wasted your time selling to the wrong person. Early (as in the first sales call), you must be sure to identify all decision makers. That means you’ve asked the question, “Who along with you makes the decision to buy?” Always assume there are others. A prospect might tell you that it’s only his decision. That’s fine. At least you’ve done your job to learn if there are others you need to sell to.
You must uncover how your prospect will make his buying decision. The question to ask is, “How will you make your decision to buy?” You want to be sure you offer evidence that you can address those criteria.
The only thing worse than wasting your time with someone who can’t buy is wasting your time with someone who won’t buy. What do I mean? It’s when a prospect likes what you have to offer, but late in the sales process announces that he doesn’t have the budget or has another excuse and won’t buy. You made a mistake early in the sales process. You didn’t learn if the prospect does in fact have a plan to change suppliers or implement the buying process.
Don’t make everything in your contract be in your favor and to your customer’s detriment.
My mother recently hired a realtor to sell her house. We interviewed several realtors after researching who were the ones who specialized in her area and were most successful. We reviewed their paperwork including contracts after the interviews. What was so surprising was that there were considerable differences in the contracts. Yes, there were commission differences. That wasn’t the deal breaker. One realtor had more clauses in her favor vs. the client’s than any of the other realtors.
We picked the realtor with the contract that was balanced. Items that were included in her favor made sense. Other fees were not automatically the seller’s responsibility.
What do you think if a seller’s contract puts you at a clear disadvantage? Don’t you wonder what it could be like working with those salespeople? I think that they will always put themselves first. Those are not the type of salespeople I want to work with.
I want you to win many sales in the competitive battle of business. Go prepare so you can win!