Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm New in Sales, Where Should I Start From?

If this is your first day as a salesperson who has to sell to companies, you'd probably have no idea about what you should do. Due to it, most salespeople spend their time in the office doing email blast. It's quite easy and comfortable to do, but danger awaits you if that's what you always do.

A friend of mine works in an IT provider. He's new and has just started his job. He's responsible for getting more clients. In short, his job descriptions are much the same as a salesperson. At the first day of his job, he didn't know what to do or where to start from. As the result, he just sent a lot of formatted sales emails to any address he could find in Yellow Pages or internet.

This is what most rookie salespeople do. I also did.

Before you start selling, there are three important things you need to learn first. Here they are:

Product Knowledge
Have a good product knowledge before you go out to sell. Trying to sell before having information about your product knowledge is like going to the battlefield with all the great weapons but you don't know how to use them.

Company Knowledge
You need to know, for example, what procedural actions you have to take if a prospect agrees to buy, which sales form to be signed in when a sale is made, whom you should contact in your office for the shipping, what the terms of payment are, etc. Every company has different policies and procedures in this matter, so you better ask your manager about them.

Competitor Knowledge
The legendary Chinese war general, Sun Tzu, would agree with me. We have always been taught about how great OUR product is, but rarely about our competitors. It makes us falsely believe that the product we sell is the greatest product in the market. Having confidence that your product is a great product isn't wrong, but never assume that it's the greatest one and no competitors could match the greatness of your product.

Discover why some companies buy from your competitors, what the weaknesses and strengths of your product compared to theirs, how their sales force sell it, and so on. You could search it from internet, newspapers, or (this is the most valuable source) directly from your prospects.

If you are new, spend most of your time in the office learning those there important subjects. You don't have to master them all in every detail; it's too much wasting time. Just learn what you need to know sufficiently and necessarily.

I'm not saying that email blast is ineffective or shouldn't be done. In fact, this friend of mine got a lot of positive responses from the emails he sent. The problem was he just couldn't answer excellently what his prospects asked because he hadn't mastered well these three basics.

Remember, in B2B selling, the questions your prospect would mostly ask about are around these three topics. If you cannot answer them convincingly, even for some simple questions that you're supposed to be able to answer, it will quickly turn off the prospect's interest and ruin your credibility.

Do your homework.

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