Archive for April, 2010

Closing the Deal on the Go: Questionnaires

April 21, 2010

During the last couple weeks our director of social media, Daniel Nuccio, has been preparing a survey to help us better answer some questions about the readers of our company e-newsletter and the level of value they find in it as a whole, as well as its individual parts. As I have been keeping an eye on his progress, and what he will send out within the next week or so, I got to thinking about the qualification questionnaires many sales people deal with every day, and what I had previously written about them in my book, Closing the Deal. Here’s a taste of it.

When constructing a qualification questionnaire, you will you will want to put together the info you need to conduct a successful sale. The best way to begin is by examining your current customers. What is their basic business, industry, and size? What do you sell them? How much do you sell them? How did you find them? How do they use your product or service?

When structuring your questionnaire you will want to do so in a way that eliminates unqualified prospects quickly. To do this it is best to ask the broadest possible questions first, then have them get increasingly narrower with the order determined by what will eliminate unqualified prospects from further consideration and what will a prospect be likely to share early in the questionnaire (questions about budgets are best left for the end). Also, the questionnaire should be structured in a way that “yes” answers take you closer to a sale, while “no” answers either end the conversation or put you on another track. You should also remember that more open ended questions may lead to different tracks as well, such as those related to how much a customer buys of your product or service.

When you use you questionnaire, you will need to take one of two approaches: the survey approach or the cold call approach. In either case, be sure to maintain a conversational tone and high level of familiarity with your questionnaire. In the survey approach, you are straight forward that you are conducting a survey, but will experience a high degree of resistance. In the cold calling approach, on the other hand, you go in planning to take the selling cycle as far as possible, but often have to settle for less than 100%.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

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Closing the Deal on the Go: Canvassing

April 19, 2010

When you obtain a list of businesses, check the names, addresses, and the names and number of employees. This should be enough for you to significantly shrink your list to a manageable size after you weed out the companies that may be too small to need your product or service, or do not appear to require it based on their name.

Once you have reduced your list, begin making a series of five minute calls, to find out what these companies specifically do, whether they fit your qualification profile, and who is best to see about purchasing decisions.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007

Are You The Best In The World At What You Do?

April 15, 2010

Since I was a kid, I could always sell. Quite frankly, I thought it was pretty easy…talk to the right people, find out what they want, give it to them and they will pay you. This process, as simple as I have made it out to be, is not always that easy, usually for one very important reason—the salespeople get in their own way.

Who is the best in the world at what you do? If you don’t think that you are, neither will anyone else.

Salespeople often stop their own sale because they have talked themselves out of it. They start thinking that maybe they don’t understand their product or service as well as they should, or that a competitor may do it better. There are a million ways to talk yourself out of closing the deal…no one that doesn’t improve by knowing that you are the absolute best at what you do.

I know our company—even if I am learning something new every day about it—and I know we are the absolute best in the world at what we do. Our sales management and process work–it is the best out there because we work with our clients to achieve their objectives. We don’t come in with a premeditated plan of attack or a multiple point plan, but rather we work with our clients in their environment to achieve their goals as they continue to grow.

Our outsourced sales team is made up of professional salespeople who have worked in the business and know how to develop a relationship. They don’t just try to get an appointment for our clients; they find the right person in the right company and develop a rapport to see if they are the best fit for our client. When the conversation between the two gets to a point where they need to bring in the expert, we get our client involved to close the deal. That’s something you only get from the best of the best.

Our SAM Peer Advisory Groups. If you want networking, there are plenty of places to go, but how many places offer an advisory board to the people in your company who are directly involved, right at the front line, in the growth of the company? CEOs have been involved in advisory boards for years, but salespeople have been left to fend for themselves many times. We bring these dynamic personalities together, in one room, and help them achieve or continue their greatness.

Do I think we are the best in the world at what we do? Absolutely I do. Mediocrity is for someone else.

Would you really want to work with someone who didn’t know they were the best at helping you grow?

Closing the Deal on the Go: Telemarketing Strategies

April 11, 2010

When is it best to try to sell over the phone? What are the best products to sell over the phone? The answers to such questions could be useful in significantly boosting your sales.

To begin finding the answers to these questions you should begin by examining your products, markets, accounts, territories, and selling patterns.

The best products to sell over the phone are those that require no demo, are easy to sell, and have small margins or commissions. It is also better if these products are in vertical markets. The best accounts for telemarketing tend to be in outlying areas that are too far to go to in person without a solid reason, as well as repeatable business that can be handled over the phone (if it is okay with the client of course).

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

Closing the Deal on the Go: Ask the Right Questions, Avoid Nasty Surprises!

April 5, 2010

Some people hesitate to ask certain questions when they fear asking such questions could lead to answers they don’t want to hear, usually involving the loss of a sale, a call back, or a smaller than anticipated sale. Inexperienced sales reps tend to be most reluctant to ask these kinds of questions, especially when they are dealing with larger purchases.  However, whether you are one of these people, or have reps who are, there are some important things that every sales person should be reminded of.

  • If inventory doesn’t move, the buyer is likely to blame the rep for overloading him.
  • If credit problems surface, the rep may have to devote significant amounts of time to collection efforts.
  • If a customer’s business is expanding, and the salesperson does not realize it, he is likely to miss opportunities for additional sales.

So, what kinds of questions should you ask?

Can you sign the purchase order? and Do you need to consult anyone else first? This is not to say that you ignore everyone but the decision maker. On the contrary, especially if you are speaking with someone who influences the decision maker, it can be beneficial to speak with others at the office. But even if speaking with an influencer, you would still want to know if there is anyone else you may want to talk to.

Do you really need such a large order? Maybe the company is expanding, subsequently providing opportunities to supply their expanding needs. Maybe they’re just stocking up before a price hike or trying to take advantage of quantity discounts. Or maybe they are in financial trouble, trying to stock up before vendors find out and limit their credit. If you suspect this is the case, you may even want to suggest they keep their orders small.

Asking these kinds of questions when you feel they may be appropriate should always be encouraged , and, ultimately should help make thing run smoother for both you and the client.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)