Your 5-Step Sales Method
You are meeting people every day. You are meeting them for any number of reasons but if you have a business or represent someone’s business, your antennas should be out because there are always opportunities out there. Your antennas should be out whatever the case, but that is another kettle of fish, not for this discussion.
There are some simple steps you should be aware of, some concise things you should be doing to improve your sales/business potential. Let’s call it ‘Your 5-Step Sales Method’.
1. Understand your Solutions and your Audience
This may sound like an obvious one but you must have a clear idea of what you’re offering and stick to it (at least until you have had enough feedback to justify some adjustments). Saying that you are a Graphic Artist or a Coach isn’t enough; nor is mentioning something like ‘I can handle many situations’. You surely can but this doesn’t generate credibility with your Audience nor does it provide enough information. Be precise. By the way, who is your Audience? You must have a specific group of businesses in mind or certain people functions as a target. You probably can reach many people and business types but it works much better when you hone it down. Spreading too thin is an actual problem, not just a theory.
2. Understand what the Needs are
You’ve heard this many times, the fact that we have two ears and one mouth. It has, of course, strictly nothing to do with the following but it is very useful as a visual example of the way most meetings should go: take the focus off of you and give the other party the floor. Chances are you’ll make them feel comfortable and you’ll find out more about their context and what they actually need; not what you thought they should have. Yes, you should be talking too: asking the right questions, making an interesting remark or shoring up the person in front of you, if required. You’ll come out with a clearer contract most of the time and end up with a happy customer. You can always go back for more after. By the way, you won’t get all this done if it’s a five-minute networking intro but a well-led intro may lead to the actual meeting.
3. Prepare what is required
Now that you know what is wanted, what do you need to do? If you weren’t taking notes at the meeting, write things down now while they’re fresh: impressions, specifics of conversation and needs. Then think it out and write it down: what do you need to pursue? Are you missing some elements of the solution? Are other interveners required? Have other questions surfaced? If so, get some answers via phone or email. Will this require a presentation? A demo of some sort? Must you prepare a preliminary quote or the actual contract right now? Be ready for your next meeting, which is often the last one.
4. Expose your Solution to the needs
You have the whole scope of what is required and your solution covers that in the best way, at least in regards to the quality/price ratio. If you’re not convinced of that, you are wasting your time and have gone too far. You should know in Step 2 or 3 if you are to continue or not. So present, demo or expose your solution to your potential customer and watch the impact you are having; just listening to yourself is no good. Whenever you see doubt or incomprehension, you want to find out what it is and settle the issue before a negative opinion starts solidifying. Don’t wait till the end. One key point almost everyone flubs: do not go too fast! Pace yourself and articulate.
5. Close the deal
When your exposé is over, you are ready to ask for the order. Unless there is a certain level of complexity which requires that the contract be finalized at the office, you should have it with you. But whatever the case, the closing happens now. You have just gone through the whole solution and covered everything necessary. It is time to get those last objections on the table and confront them; otherwise, it won’t happen. “Thinking about it” doesn’t cut it. Look at it simply: you and your prospect have everything on the table, all his/her needs are covered and you have the best deal. So waiting is just looking for trouble and wasting everyone’s time.