As a sales professional you should be in control of the sale, not in control of the customer, in control of the sale. Controlling the sale means leading the customer to buy. This is not manipulating the customer but rather helping them to make the buying decision.
This does not all have to happen at the first meeting, it might require 3 to 4 meetings, maybe even more depending on the industry you are in and the type of product or service you sell.
The way to effectively control the sale is to follow a sales process. Do you have a sales process, do you follow it? If so is your sales process effective and is it current?
Customer’s needs have changed over the past 5 years. They no longer have time to waste on meaningless presentations and meetings with salespeople, they expect the salespeople they deal with to get to the point. And that means following a simple sales process.
Below is an example of a simple 5 step sales process:
- Have a clear call objective for each call.
(Why are you meeting with this customer or making this phone call? Is it to give information, the get information, to sell, to follow up on a previous meeting or information sent, etc.?)
- Prepare at least 3 or 4 well planned questions based on the call objective.
(Having a few well prepared questions, which get to the point of the meeting, will show the customer that you are actually interested in their needs and are not there to waste their time)
- Ask questions. Listen carefully to the answers and ask more questions to properly establish your customer’s needs.
(Ask open ended questions, What, Where, When, Who, Why, Which, How. Get your customer involved in a sales conversation, listen to the answers, listen with the intent to understand and not the intent to respond)
- Get commitments.
(Present your solution, present it with pride and enthusiasm. Don’t just talk, talk, talk and talk. Get the customer involved in the presentation and get commitments from them, get them to agree with you on your major benefits)
- Ask for the business. Close.
(It is your responsibility as a salesperson to ask for the business. As long as you have done the preceding steps correctly, closing then becomes the logical conclusion to the sales process)
Before you go to your next meeting or make the next phone call to a customer, decide what the objective for the meeting or phone call is and then follow the steps above.
Selling is a simple business, don’t overcomplicate it with too many methodologies and or systems, keep it simple and get to the point!