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Leslie Groene Website Homepage June 2017, Vol. 144

Summer Selling Success! Part 1

1. Learn the Customer:
Every time you’re with a customer, make it a point to learn something personal and professional about them. Don’t allow your time together to be so focused on the immediate business opportunity that you miss out on additional, long-term information. It’s the long- term information you gain that will help you retain the customer, and the longer you have a customer, the more likely they are to refer others to you.
When you’re gathering information about the person, look for items that are of common interest to you both. These are the items that will help you propel the business relationship to the next level.

2. A Perception is Worth a Thousand Words:
A couple of weeks ago, I went to a high end store to purchase a product and arrived a few minutes before it opened. The store signage indicated that it opened at 11:00am and as we waited out front I noticed that there was a company meeting being conducted inside. Well, as we waited outside with a couple more customers, they continued the meeting for another 5 minutes well past the posted opening time at which point we left to purchase our item from a competitor. This has also happened to me at a large national bank where I waited at the door past their posted opening time while they conducted an internal meeting. In both instances the employees inside could readily see that there were customers waiting outside.

I think you get my point....As sales/business professionals:

  • Are you "open" when your customers need you and want to buy something from you?
  • Are you more focused on the process than the customers’ needs?
  • Is your company more internally focused than externally focused?
  • Is your company more internally focused than externally focused?

Think about these concepts so that you can make your client expectations of you and your company a reality!
In today’s business climate, we all have numerous competitors who can provide service or products similar to ours. The difference lies in the confidence we provide the customer. Before you begin the next conversation, think “confidence” — not just in what you plan and say, but in how the other person will perceive you.

3. Opening the Sales Call:
Always start off a sales call by covering three things: 1. Gain a clear understanding of the amount of time the call will take. 2. Make sure the customer knows what the objective of the call is. 3. Relate the reason for the current sales call to the previous sales call you had with the person, or to information you may have sent them.
Connecting the current sales call to something previous gives the customer the comfort of knowing you remember fully everything that may have already occurred. This also gives the customer the comfort of knowing you respect their time and that whatever is decided in this current meeting will be acted upon by you.

4. “Your Price is Not High Enough”:
OK, so you’ve never heard that line, but wouldn’t it be great to hear it? A price can never be too high –it’s only too high when we haven’t taken the time to find out what the true benefits are of the item we’re selling. Remember, there is no such thing as “too expensive.” There is only the belief that the potential gain from something is not worth the cost.
This principle explains why one person might be willing to pay only $10,000 for a car, while the car might be worth $100,000 to another person. The difference? The perceived benefit.
Next time you’re about to buy or sell something, think in terms of the benefits the customer can gain from using it and not the price you’re asking. When it comes right down to it, there is nothing that is too expensive — it only lacks sufficient benefits to warrant the price.

5. Celebrate Your Customer’s Anniversary:
For salespeople who have retained customers for a period of years, it’s special to recognize them and their relationship with you. It’s also a great way for your customers to realize how much you think of them and a great way for you to take the relationship to an even higher level through this personalized type of communication.

Focus Point

73. Engage in competitive analysis, a constant requirement to keep your edge!

Knowing what the competition is up to is invaluable. This means knowing about every benefit and feature that anyone is offering in the battle for sales. When you are formulating your sales and marketing plan, take the time to find out what the industry leaders are doing. Go to their web sites and review their promotional materials. See who their clients are and what they are doing for them. Your competitors are not going to send you their materials. But if you have a supportive network of friends, they can help keep you up to speed on what the competition is doing to get ahead and stay ahead. This process can be as simple as reading your industry trades and reviewing the competing ads.

Make sure your firm and your services get listed on all the "free" links and other resource information transmitted within your industry. Usually, there is a "hot" newsletter in the industry that most of the leading clients subscribe to and read; make sure that publication profiles your company and your services.

Even in these times of continual technological breakthroughs, most of the techniques for making sales are tried and true and do not change. As we know, the techniques that get us face-to-face with potential clients are the best ones, because that personal connection can drive their business to us.

In real estate, listing agents provide competitive property analysis and project potential sales prices, hoping to acquire a listing. Other brokers and agents send periodical newsletters with tips and recent sales prices in the neighborhood.

To expedite sales, many real estate offices now tape tours of their sellers' properties or offer web-related access or services to find qualified buyers. In other industries, firms constantly try to "one up" the competition by developing clever marketing slogans that differentiate themselves through superior advertising ideas. This is the basis for consumer advertising campaigns that often spend millions of dollars to create product awareness and drive purchasing.

Industries that involve high finance, investments or legal services put more of a premium on knowledge, expertise and communication. A client will want the best counsel for every business contact or transaction. However, we still must know what the competition is up to -- to counter any initiatives they try with our clients.

Become aware of the tone your competition is using to reach its potential client base. Learn as much as possible about using the best and most appropriate graphic design and advertising aesthetic to describe your services. This is especially vital for professionals such as lawyers, accountants and management consultants.