There is absolutely no point in starting a business if you find no importance in the value of being able to sell whatever it is you offer. Sometime down the track you may higher a sales team to handle anything sales related but if you’re really serious about the hustle and your need to promote your business, idea, product or service you’d better be able to sell it.
After working in cut-throat corporate sales both in the private and not-for-profit sectors, retail sales and even some time in real estate, here are my proven steps for opening and closing a sale;
- Introduce yourself by your first name then pass the buck over to the customer. Let them talk about themselves more.
- Seek answers to HWWWW – find out as much information as you can about their – how, what, why, when and where as they relate to the service you offer.
- Information like – How they have purchased, sourced, used or recieved a similar service in the past and what were their experiences? What did they dislike? What did they like? What are the looking for in a product/service or good? Including the seller (you)? Why are they purchasing? When do they need to purchase by (if appropriate) and are they ready to make a purchase right now (if appropriate)? Where/who do they usually buy from?
- The answers to all these questions are extremely critical and form your ammunition later on during the part when you ask for the sale and in the event that you have to negotiate or manage rejection.
- Ask open ended questions to gather information;
- Questions like – “Tell me some of the things you liked liked about [x]” rather than “So, did you like [x]?”. This provides you with more useful information to use and gives you the details between the details. If when asking open ended questions you get resistance and short answers push back and ask the question in a different way.
- Manage expectations of the buyer and seller (you or your contract holder). Particularly if you are in middle-man sales like recruitment or real estate. Know what other deals they have in the pipeline so you can counter sell against them. Your ammunition, if gathered correctly will allow you to counter sell your product or service based on matching their desires with your features if their are rejections or objections.
- This leads me to the next point… Know and believe in your product or service. This includes having proof via a kitty of features you posses over your competitors and the associated benefits of those features (as they relate to the customers HWWWW) to come back with if the customer resists or shows uncertaintity.
- Know your fees and costs well and have them set out in a schedule or agreement. You definitely do not want to be customising prices off the cuff. If you get asked about your fees, lay them out on the table confidently and stop talking. Don’t unsell your self buy talking more.
- Ask for the sale. When it comes time to asking for the sale… Just ask for it. There is no way around it.
- Some examples – “Since we have covered all of the particulars, the next step is to get your payment details. I’ll print off the paper work for that, will be using VISA or MasterCard?”
- “If you follow me to the register I can get this packaged for you. How will you be paying today?”
- “So how will you be paying for this?”
- “I require a 50% deposit payable by credit card today to hold your spot. How would you like to pay?”
- “Now that we have covered all of the particulars, if you could sign here I will have our design team draft up your first concept before we meet again on…”
- Know how to handle the question, “Do you discount?”. If they ask for a discount and you agree you run the risk of discounting the value of your product or service if you immediately agree. Say it how it’s is… “I/we don’t negotiate on price.” Again, leave the ball in their court. Losers speak first.
- Respond to concerns or questions confidently. If you have done everything else properly people will usually agree to a purchase. If they resist it’s back to asking honest questions and then proceeding with selling your features and benefits against their desires again. Don’t fluff about, simply ask them;
- “What else would you like me to clarify for you to feel comfortable using my service or buy my product”?
- “What is making you reluctant?”
- “What questions do I need to answer for you to allow us to move to the next step?”
- When they still say no. If price is really the only limiting factor look to your other tool box which you should have – a handful of bonuses, freebies or upgrades where you can offer one as opposed to discounting your price. These should be relatively low cost items to you or ones that still carry an ability for up selling later to premium options of the same good or service. This way the buyer feels they are getting more value for no extra cost but you are not discounting your service. If you really believe in what you do and the premium you charge you should have no problems standing your ground.
Ultimately, you win some and you loose some. I’m generally ok to walk away from a sale if I know it’s going to be more time than the ROI value when heckling about price. I have found customers like this often present ongoing challenges down the track especially if your service is recurring or spans a time period beyond the current meeting.
Now go hustle your arse off and have fun.
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