Friday, July 17, 2009

How I Increase My Sales Appointments

It's grateful if you can successfully make a sales appointment with your prospect, though it doesn't guarantee that you'll get the deal. However, it can increase the opportunity to win the deal as you have the chance to talk face-to-face with your prospect.

But making sales appointments is not easy. Many salespeople depend on cold calls, but we know that it usually ends with rejections. Prospects have all the information they need, thanks to the advance of internet and search engines. If interested, all they ask for is price list, not the sales meetings.

I also experience the same until I recently found a simple technique that increases the frequency of my sales appointments.
All that I need to do is to ask twice for the appointments.

About few months ago, I cold called a woman who was going to open a new restaurant. As you may expect, she told me to send the brochures first. I simply agreed her request (I knew if I tried to handle that objection, she would give me more objections). But before I ended the phone conversation, I asked her once more for appointment: "Well, if you are unavailable on Tuesday, what if we meet on Wednesday?"

To my surprise, she agreed. More good news is she finally bought from me.

Was it just my lucky day? I tried the same technique the other days and most of the prospects agreed to meet. This is very simple yet effective. I don't say that this technique always works, but most of the times it works (according to my own experiences).

The same rule also applies when a prospect calls in or sends an email asking for price list. It amazes me that many salespeople merely send the price list and do nothing more about it. Whenever a prospect asks my price list, I always suggest him to set an appointment so the both sides can meet face-to-face to discuss the solution deeper.

In short, just try a little bit harder. Ask twice if necessary.

Try it yourself and I'm eagerly waiting for your responses.

How to Double the Effectivieness of Your Words in Selling

As a salesperson, perhasps you have mostly been taught to sell the benefits of your product. That's a good advice, but good is not enough. I have a little tip that can increase the effectiveness of mentioning the benefits of your product.

The technique is to mention the PAIN after the benefits.

Many salespeople only sell the benefits without leaving something at the end. The usual pattern is like this:

Feature --> Benefit

For me, this is less effective. This technique cannot drive much your prospect's emotion.

Try to change the pattern into this:

Feature --> Benefit --> PAIN

Pain means the consequences or loss that your prospects will experience if they don't buy your product. This technique is especially true if you meet prospects who have less interest or lack of awareness of their problems.

Let's take some examples:

Sell benefit only:

"Using this accounting software will make your work 30% faster compared to your manual system"

Sell with PAIN:

"Using this accounting software will make your work 30% faster compared to your manual system. If you don't use this accounting software, then you will continue experiencing the complicated accounting calculation, not to mention the human-errors that take hours to fix them."

If you were the prospect, which approach that drives you more to purchase the software?

My experiences tell me that the second approach is more powerful. At my early times selling the restaurant software, I used to tell my prospects this way:

"Mr. Prospect, this software provides you with sales report that you can access at anytime, so you can always get the information you need only with single click."

Usually, the respond was lukewarm. Then I decided to change my approach to sell the pain like this:

"Mr. Prospect, this software helps you create the sales reports automatically that you can access at anytime you wish. If you don't implement this software, I'm afraid you'll have to make the sales reports manually that take a lot of your time, not to mention the human-errors..."

This approach results in more-excited prospects. They want to know more about my solution. They are engaged. They feel the pain, and the pain drives their emotion to buy your product.

You will sell more if you know how to "scare" your prospects. Try it yourself.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I Use These Prospecting Tips and My Sales Doubled!

In my previous post, I've mentioned that prospecting is very important in sales and it's the first sales skill you have to master. Now, I'm going to share some tips of how to execute high-result prospecting.

1. Target only to qualified prospects.
Many salespeople try to sell to everyone or every company. It's a great sin in sales. As the result, you may expect a lot of rejections, sales slump, frustration, difficult appointments, and so on.

If you want to sell more with less depression, rejection, and frustration, you should focus only on your qualified prospects. A professional salesperson selling luxurious cars won't waste their time persuading the factory workers to buy the cars. They target only to the executives with six-digit income.

In my early career selling restaurant software, I approached all restaurants I could find on the streets, at malls or some commercial estates. I repeatedly heard the words of rejections as most of them had already implemented the software from another vendor. One day, I met a restaurant manager who advised me to focus only on opening-soon restaurants to sell my software. Since then, I'd increased my sales significantly.

2. Make a profile or criteria of your qualified prospects.
Do you make a list of criteria of your qualified prospects? This is very useful to help you determine whether a prospect is qualified or not.

What are the criteria of qualified prospects? It depends on the products you sell, the price, the segmentation, your competitors, your company, and other related factors. In my case (selling restaurant software), the profile of my qualified prospects is like this:

- Opening soon restaurants --> they surely need software to manage the operational
- Mid-size restaurants or above --> small restaurants have more resistance to use software
- The owner is IT-minded --> some restaurant owners refuse to use software because they think it's difficult to operate.

In general, a qualified prospect must fulfill at least these three criteria: need, urgency, and capability to buy. If one of them doesn't exist, it's likely the prospect will not buy.

You can start making your own profile and use it to help you decide if a prospect is qualified. This can save a lot of your sales efforts and time. Ask yourself what kind of prospects in your business field that can be classified as your qualified prospects.

3. Find the clues of "I-Want-to-Buy-Now" prospects
Prospects needing the type of product you sell is the no. 1 prospect you have to pursue. They need your product, they're ready to spend their money, and they need it NOW. The question is how to find such prospects.

Many times, there are clues of prospects-in-need if you are aware and alert. For example, if you sell CCTV camera, the clues of your qualified prospects are the offices or houses that are recently broken in. You can find the clues from newspaper, internet, business journal, daily conversation with people around you, current issues, etc.

While ago, I read a sales article of a sales consultant who uses newspaper as her source of finding new qualified prospects. News like company mergers, sales drop, product launching, are good "clues" for her to sell her service.

Opportunity might appear anywhere unexpectedly; we just need to open our eyes.