In a Late-Winter Funk? Here are 5 simple suggestions that you can incorporate right now to freshen up your approach to sales.
April 2, 2013
If you live anywhere besides southern California or Florida, you’ve had a rough few months. Though you’re seeing signs of spring, it’s hard to shake off the malaise that winter weather can cause.
So now’s a good time to re-examine your sales approach and see if you can’t reframe it a bit. Sometimes, just making a few small changes can energize you. Here are five ways to tune up your tactics:
- Always suggest the next move. Just as your marketing materials contain a Call to Action (CTA), your personal interaction in sales conversations is never done until you’ve approached the possibility of a next step. Try not to be vague here. Don’t just say you’ll be in touch, or you’ll have to talk about this again soon. Do your best to pin down a follow-up meeting or call or online chat. Make sure that you both understand its agenda.
- Have many answers for “Why” questions. Make a list of the types of things you’re likely to be asked that begin with that word. Why are you bothering me? Why should I take the time to listen? Why me? Why would I want what you’re selling instead of a competitor’s products? Why doesn’t it have [feature]?
- Don’t focus on features. If you just rattle off features, your prospects will have to take the next step and match those to their needs. Do it for them. Emphasize how your products solve problems. If you’ve done your homework, you know something about the prospect’s challenges, at least in a broad sense. If you’re spinning your wheels in a conversation, ask the individual to name three stumbling blocks in his or her professional or personal life (depending on the product type). Even if your company can’t solve any of them, you’re developing rapport and displaying empathy.
- Never have an empty prospect list. When you lose a sale, it’s tempting to lay back for awhile and shuffle papers. Make sure that you always have a few possibilities waiting in the wings, and either do some of the groundwork required or reach out to one of them before you start noodling around with tasks that can wait. Get one good conversation with a prospect under your belt; it can help you erase some of the sting caused by your recent rejection.
- Separate the wheat from the chaff. Three small sales might equal a larger one in terms of revenue and commission, but who is the more promising repeat buyer? Whose recommendation might lead you into other big sales? Comb your contact database and prioritize. That major prospect will probably require more work on your part, but the potential payoff is more promising. Do this early in the sales cycle.
Take a page from nature. It can be hard to follow through on resolutions you make during the short, cold days in early January. Spring is a more invigorating, natural time to make fresh starts. Make yours manageable, realistic and achievable, and see what grows.
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