How To Make A Sale
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
- 1.Research your market carefully. Don’t waste time trying to sell to people who don’t need your product or who have no power to place an order.
- 2.Get past the receptionist and on to the decisionmaker. Be cheerful and polite, have – and show – a good knowledge of the target company. Explain that what you offer will need to be assessed by an appropriate manager.
- 3.Where possible make appointments. Different businesses will have different ‘best times’ to see them. You’ll struggle to catch a builder or farmer when the weather is good and remember that most people still adopt the traditional lunchtime.
- 4.When arranging appointments always offer a choice. Asking ‘Which is better for you?’ makes them choose, and is better than an open-ended ‘When would be good for you?’ which can elicit a negative response.
- 5.If you’re selling a product that needs demonstrating make absolutely certain that it’s working perfectly before you leave for the appointment.
- 6.Know exactly what you want, but try to think, talk and respond from the buyer’s point of view. Sell the benefits and not the features of your products or service. Remember that the likes of Kodak don’t sell films, they sell memories.
- 7.Try to ask, early on in the conversation, questions which cannot be answered with simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses. Open questions lead to improved discussion, and if you’re listening closely to the answers you should be able to work out any problems the buyer may have. You need to know these if you are going to sell solutions.
- 8.Take objections seriously, but try to turn them to your advantage. Think creatively about how you can offer to overcome objections and make sure you fully understand each objection before addressing it.
- 9.Recognise buying signals – questions like ‘Will it take unleaded?’ and ‘What guarantees do you give?’ When you begin to hear these close the sale quickly.
- 10.Never forget to go for the close and don’t be embarrassed about asking for the order that is what you’re there for, after all.