Monday, June 30, 2008

Sales Secret #1: "Thank You" Cards Work

Do you want an easy way to set yourself apart from your competitors? How about looking into hand-written "thank you" cards? As the internet and computers come to dominate our lives more, personal mail is becoming less frequent. All of us are getting less personalized hand-written mail as each day passes. We all still appreciate it, however, when we recieve something hand-written in the mail.

Sending out hand-written "thank you" cards will go a long way in building rapport with your prospects and customers. Keep a stack in your car (they are dirt cheap at any office store!) and write one after the first meeting with a prospect when you leave. A two or three sentence will do fine. Drop it in the mail as soon as you get back in your office or when you go home for the day. This will instantly set you apart from your competitors. It is professional, personal, and should be expected from top salespeople.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Product Dump...Please Don't Do It!

The product dump is the most overused and overrated sales tactic that exists. It bores prospects and causes thousands of salespeople to lose sales. Since most company sales training programs simply cover products or services, salespeople (especially new ones) are lured into using this as their main way to gain new business. This is a big mistake.

Would you like someone to go on and on about a product or service you don't even need? Many salespeople, even veteran salespeople, launch into a product dump before even finding out the needs of a prospect!

I am being a little harsh, however, I have made this mistake as well. Be interesting, ask questions about their customers, ask about their website, just do something other than a product dump. Arm wrestling a prospect for business is more effective than performing a product dump in most cases. So start lifting weights, and stop dumping!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Selling is a Viable Skill Set

Doctor, lawyer, accountant.....salesman. What do they all have in common? They are all careers that require a great deal of skill to be successful.

Really, even a salesperson? No, most salespeople aren't viewed this way by others, nor do they themselves view their profession this way either. But make no mistake, it takes a great deal of skill to be a superstar salesperson.

How is that one individual can take a product or service and fall flat on his or her face when it comes to selling it in the marketplace. Then another comes along and blow quotas through the roof with the same product or service. This is a quite common occurrence in the business world.

We must all remember that selling is a skill always in need of updates. Continuing education and dedication is a must for us to maintain a superstar sales status. Selling is, after all, a viable skill set and profession that businesses pay very good money to acquire.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Punishing Honesty

About a year ago, I was in front of a large prospective target customer in my territory. This prospect ran a great business and was well regarded within their industry. After getting the opportunity to tour their facility, we started discussing some possible business between our companies.

The prospect came right out and stated how great their relationship was with their current vendor. Instead of taking this in stride and appreciating their honesty, I pushed back with pricing, quality, service, and a bunch of other nonsense this prospect was not interested in hearing. I should have instead thanked them for their time, sent a follow up thank you note via mail, and thought a little more deeply about how I could obtain business from this company moving forward.

When buyers mislead or deceive salespeople, we tend to get frustrated. With the accuracy of hindsight, however, I readily understand why buyers do this. Look at my actions with the prospect in the above paragraph. Here was a guy just being honest, and I punished him for his honesty by firing back with a product dump along with a boring company story. Later on, I actually did devise a different strategy and ended up selling to this account. But imagine if I wouldn't have reacted like a typical salesperson. I might have ended up doing business with this company sooner.

My main point here is simple. Don't punish prospects for being honest! This is the biggest favor they can do us.