It is my belief that your sales success is directly related to the amount of preparation you do BEFORE a sales call. In other words, the amount of prep work you do will determine your conversion rate at a sale.
Here is what I will typically do when selling my Business Coaching Programs:
- Be prepared to do what you do well. READ, READ, READ and LEARN. Keep up with your skills training. Your skills are what put bread on the table. The better your skills, the more prepared you are to do what it is you do best – CLOSE. Imagine a butcher going through the day without sharpening his knife after each cutting session!! What are you doing to sharpen your blade?
- When I receive a lead / referral, the first thing I do is to Google the company or individual. I want to know what they do, who they sell to, how active they are on the web, what others are saying about them, what their competitors are doing in this space etc. I want to find out as much as I can, I need to know the industry jargon, whats happening out there, what their challenges might be from an industry perspective. There is so much information available right at your finger tips. People are insulted these days if you ask basic questions to help you prepare for the sale – do your homework!
- I then develop a set of questions that a trusted adviser might ask, not a sales person. I look at their business as if I were going to invest in their company and that in itself throws up a whole set of questions that no other sales person would ask. As Jeff Gittomer says, people buy for their reasons, not yours. The better the questions, the better perceived you are as an adviser, not a sales guy.
- I also put myself in their shoes and try to think like they do. How does it feel to be that person with the challenges that they have. So many people – me included – like to put forward a veneer of what our life or business is like. You have to be able to know what it is like to be that person. This too allows you to ask the tough questions. The questions that others may not even think about as they are looking for the sale, not finding out where that prospects’ thinking is at. I call this “playing dumb and digging deep”. I know the answers to most of these, I just need the prospect to utter the words themselves so we cut through the veneer. Have these ready before your sales call.
Pick up the phone and then make your call. Seriously, once you have done this level of preparation you will be in a much better position than your competitor.
— Si Harris