Once it is recognized where you may have erred, it is very easy to move forward on a positive path for future sales. Reviewing past experiences is the best way to learn how to improve. Recall conversations, client requests, and delivery follow-up as these will lend insight for future improvement.
Here are some additional tips for increasing your odds for gaining the sale:
1. Ask questions of your prospect; in particular, “What’s your budget?”
Most salespeople and entrepreneurs are afraid to approach the subject of money with prospective clients. In fact, many hide from the subject until the last moment. It’s a waste of time and energy when, in the end, you hear, “Oh I don’t have that kind of money to spend!”
Early in the conversation, after the introduction and pleasantries are exchanged, be brave enough to state your service isn’t the least expensive. Add you would like to comfortably work together so you need to know their budget. Understand, a smaller amount will be conveyed than might be truthful, but upon question and answer, it will all be revealed. Just as you are summing up your client-to-be, they are doing the same of you. Work to build the trust.
2. Get the entire list of needs, wants and deep down desires
You may have multiple complimentary services and products to offer. Through additional questioning you will gain insight as to which will be the most appropriate. Asking general questions such as, “Have you ever considered…” or, “How are you currently handling…?” This will lead to a deeper discussion and unveil new possibilities.
Key to making a sale is to take careful notes in your prospective client’s vocabulary. Put those words in the proposal as they will be recognized and convey you were paying attention. Your proposal will be considered more seriously.
3. Reflect all of the above in your proposal
After spending much time with your prospective clients, they will want to see everything they shared in the proposal. Anything omitted will raise question, possibly concern, and potentially ruin the sale. The following true story reflects this:
A salesperson and manager were in a meeting with a client for close to an hour. In that time, the client relayed he was happy with the service the company provided and so their forthcoming proposal would be given first consideration. The sales representative believed he had a 75% chance for getting the sale.
But the manager made a giant error. He advised the representative to omit a requested item because it would significantly raise the price. The salesperson knew this was wrong but felt he had no choice. Upon presenting to the client, the salesperson saw the discontent. Simply put, omitting the item omitted the trust between the two. The proposal was folded up as if it would soon be tossed into a wastebasket. Next, the salesperson was told that competitive bids would be sought. The episode became a poor reflection on the salesperson’s personal brand.
The lesson learned is every pursuit requires personal reflection from every angle. Doing so will lead you to the smooth sale!
Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, (800) 704-1499; authored “INSPIRED Business: A New View for Building Business and Communities”; “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results”, and “HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews”.