We all read about the right way start a business, we all research our target audience, build our databases, write our business plans, speak nicely to the bank and get our company registration documents through and dream about a rosy future.
Now it’s time to make it happen!
That means selling your product or service to your carefully researched audience- Yes, it’s bull by the horns time.
There are so many preconceived ideas about how to sell, most of which stem from those irritating scripted calls we get when we are trying to serve supper or scary reality shows featuring double glazing companies, or maybe our own experience in the past as a student or a naïve first job – you know, ‘earn a million in a week’ type ads in the classified section of our local ‘rag’.
In this series of articles I intend to put you at ease, how you that selling to potential clients is rewarding and fulfilling and that you can win new clients simply by taking a breath and going for it.
First and foremost, the best advice anyone ever gave me was, be yourself, because it’s true, people do buy people first. No need to sound like an excited ‘game show host’ offering the deal of the century or like someone auditioning for The Apprentice… why be something you are not?
Self-belief, confidence and huge dollop of passion for your product or service are all you need to win new business as well as a simple structure to help you sell more effectively.
Openings and questioning
There are lots of ways to sell, SPIN, DIPADA, AIDA, PANDA – I grew up with DIPADA, I would lie awake trying to remember the sequence. Forget about acronyms and focus of the simplest way to get from A-B.
- It is vital to have a strong introduction, sound confident, like you’ve been selling for years. You probably have been selling unknowingly in your previous roles- so why should this be any different?
- Always speak to the decision maker –it all very well having a lovely conversation with someone in an organisation, however, unless they can sign a contract there is little point.
- If you get resistance from a gatekeeper/receptionist/secretary – be nice; ask for their help, people find it very hard to refuse a request for help.
Once you have located the decision make sure you don’t just launch in with how wonderful your product or service is – we need to establish the clients current position and listen to their needs first, by doing this we can establish how we can best sell our product or service.
In order to find out the key business needs of our potential customers we need to extract pertinent information. We do this by asking questions, open questions, to get the conversation flowing, closed questions to confirm understanding or to steer the conversation and leading to gauge how interested they are in buying our product or service.
We need to think about our questions, we only have a few seconds to create an impression. We understand our market so ask market-related questions.
How they are currently buying, sourcing?
What their annual budget is and how they currently chose suppliers?
When they review their business strategy?
Remember to intersperse your ‘open questions’ with ‘closed questions’ the conversation needs to flow naturally. So adding questions which give either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer enable you to steer the conversation. Finally leading questions like, I am sure you will agree, as an example, will give you the chance to see how interested our potential client is.
Next time we’ll look at linking in to selling the benefits of your fantastic product/service and how your tone can mean the difference between gaining new business or not.
About the Author:
Anita-Clare Field is Director of training company Round Peg Learning and Development Ltd. Her background is Publishing in the commercial field and her expertise is centred around business development sales and marketing. Round Peg Learning Development offers a rounded approach to training, developing people from the inside out.