Name: Iftikhar Hussain Location: Edinburgh...
So you finally get to meet a potential customer face to face, how do you clinch the sale? Most people make a decision on like or dislike in the first five minutes, so first impressions are key.
You need to be on time, smart, firm (but not over friendly) handshake, good eye contact (but not too long, it’s spooky) and of course, a smile (hugely significant).
Having got past the opening hurdle, what next? Don’t launch into the sales pitch, it’s a turn off, instead ask open questions and listen. Asking the right questions will enable the buyer to discuss problems or needs which you can use to your advantage.
Essentially, people are looking to solve one or more of five areas as follows:
Most people I am sure, will have read sales books on illustrating benefits and fears. Listing features is not terribly helpful; people want problems solved or required functionality (my watch can tell me the time in China but am I ever going to use that function?)
Clearly some products (particularly attached to “celebrity” or “must have” brands) sell themselves but of course these are quite rare.
An even easier sell is when the lead is already primed and ready to go. Your best sales force are your existing happy customers who refer you onto other contacts. There is nothing better than a glowing testimonial to inspire confidence in the buyer.
There are a few “organisational” processes to go through to give you the best chance of success. An Agenda for the meeting (sent through in advance) is advisable – both parties should know what is to be covered in the meeting. We have discussed the “opening” and “listening” places of a meeting. At some point you will do the “pitch” and of course there then has to be a next stage.
In reality, a sale at the first meeting is quite rare, more usual is a conversation that runs along the following lines:
“So you believe we can assist you in a number of key areas, you are happy with the illustrated pricing and delivery schedule? As soon as I get back to the office I’ll confirm everything in an email and I suggest we put a follow up meeting in the diary for 10 days, giving you time to digest all the benefits we have discussed”.
Big smile again on the way out and hopefully another sale in the bag.