Today’s selling environment is much more challenging and complex than it has been in our history. Buyer’s are highly educated, and the Internet has opened up vast reservoirs of information to the consumers and corporate decision makers to enable them to be better informed when making purchase decisions.
To be effective in selling to a more sophisticated, well educated and informed buyer, you must match or exceed the buyer’s level of knowledge of the products and services you are selling, and be able to articulate how they will directly benefit them and their organization. You have to be able to sell with purpose.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for that all important first call to a key prospective client to enable you to sell with purpose.
Have a solid plan. You only have one opportunity to make a good first impression, so come prepared with an agenda of topics that are “top of mind” to the prospective client. Make sure to review the agenda with the prospect prior to your first meeting to get “buy-in” and ensure alignment with his/her expectations.
Do your homework. Learn as much as possible about the prospect’s business prior to the call. Review all of the available resources including the company’s web site, annual reports, quarterly financial statements, D & B reports, Hoover’s, etc. to gain knowledge of the business.
Bring something to the table. The best way to build credibility with a prospective new client is to be a problem solver. So, focus the discussion on the known areas of the prospect’s business your product or service can deliver the greatest value in solving a current problem or need.
Find an internal champion. Find an internal champion who can help you navigate the decision making hierarchy, provide you with a grass roots perspective of the company’s culture, business operations and challenges, and endorse your recommendations at proposal time.
Gain commitment to next steps. Most first calls do not result in a sale, so you need to be able to outline the next steps for the decision maker, and gain his/her concurrence as a part of the first meeting. This will help you stay engaged with the decision maker and keep the sales opportunity moving forward to closure.
The keys to effectively selling with purpose are planning and preparation, consensus building with the key decision makers at each checkpoint, and delivering a solution(s) that adds value to the prospective client’s business.
Sell with purpose by being prepared to do business the moment you walk through the door of the prospective client’s office. Good luck and good selling!
COPYRIGHT © 2010-11 John Carroll