Archive for the ‘Closing the Deal on the Go’ Category

Closing the Deal on the Go: What Do You Do When Your Loyal Buyer Leaves?

June 3, 2010

Maybe there was a merger or acquisition. Perhaps there was some restructuring.  Maybe your loyal buyer took another job for twice the pay. Regardless, he is no longer with the company you do business with. Someone is there in his place. There’s a chance this new person will wish to continue doing business with you. There’s also a chance he will want to leave his mark on everything he touches, and that keeping his predecessor’s supplier is not part of that equation.

What do you do?

Keep your reaction low-key. Don’t act surprised or disconcerted. Congratulate your buyer’s replacement. Wish him luck, and work at establishing to him the worth of your business relationship.

Stick to business history. Focus on your relationship with his company, not your relationship with his predecessor.

Get the new person comfortable and work at establishing a relationship with him.

Keep your lines to the influencers open. The influencers are the users of your product. If they like what you have to offer, they may let the new buyer know.

If you lose the company’s business, try to hold on to some of it, because even as a backup supplier, you can watch for openings back into a major role.

Keep selling quality. Sometimes a competitor will try to undercut you by selling a lower quality product at a lower price. If you lose business to such a competitor, but you maintain some role, you will be nearby if and when the bargain vendor trips up, either with their lower quality product, or while trying to continue to make a profit while selling at the lower price.

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)

5 Benefits of Canvassing

May 6, 2010

5 Benefits of Canvassing

  1. Saves time driving to businesses
  2. Saves money on gas, tolls, and depreciation
  3. Receptionists almost always answer your calls.
  4. False starts are avoided because the info you gather helps you decide how to proceed.
  5. When the literature you requested arrives, you have even more info to go off of.

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: 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)

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

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)

Closing the Deal on the Go: A Few Quick Tips for Winning at Phone Tag

February 9, 2010

Phone tag is worse than ever these days. We use voicemail to reduce human error, but in doing so we reduce human contact.

Making things more difficult, many companies now use an automated list of options that do not always include a live person to talk to who can provide such information as a person’s schedule or whereabouts.

To help, here a few quick tips to help you win at phone tag.

  • Make high priority calls early.
  • If you do no reach the person you are trying to contact, leave a message that requires a specific response.
  • Leave a concise reason for your call with your name, phone number, and the best time to reach you.
  • When the call is returned, try to take it, even if you are busy.
  • Keep track of calls owed and expected.

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: Telemarketing for Appointments

February 8, 2010

Winning an appointment with a decision maker usually requires you to win over both the decision maker and their secretary.

When winning over the secretary it is best to treat the secretary with respect. Learn their name. Be honest with them. And, be willing to speak with them in the same manner as you would speak to their boss.  In doing so, provide them with a sound business reason for why you wish to speak with their boss. Offer a benefit their boss will experience from acquiring your product or service. Be specific, and again, straightforward and truthful. Also, if possible, include a reference.

Upon reaching the decision maker, the selling process begins again. You must repeat what you accomplished with the secretary, but take it further. You must introduce yourself, giving your name, title, company, and, if appropriate, the name of the person who referred you. Also, if your company is not well known, it may be necessary to explain what your company does.

When speaking with the decision maker, generate initial interest in your product or service by demonstrating a tangible benefit, while demonstrating knowledge of your prospect, their company, and its operations, goals, and needs.

Once you have provided a good reason for your call, ask for an appointment. If you encounter an excuse or resistance, politely acknowledge it, then offer a response and proceed. Before the conversation is over, reconfirm your mutual understanding, and, if you book a meeting, on the day before that meeting, call the decision maker’s secretary to make sure you’re on their boss’ calendar.

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

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

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

Closing the Deal on the Go: What to Do When Your Salespeople Are Dealing with Difficult Clients: Showing Support in Difficult Times

January 20, 2010

The other day I posted an article about what to do when you deal with difficult clients. Today I thought I would write about what to do when your salespeople encounter such clients.

Salespeople can find dealing with difficult customers draining, especially if they do not feel they have the support of their management. Therefore be on their side when they are right, and be there to listen. Help them more effectively deal with difficult customers with role-playing exercises. Tell them when a customer goes over their heads to you. And let them know you will speak with them about any action you take when intervening in one of their accounts. If you do not do this, you risk damaging your relationships with both your salesperson and their client.

Also, resist taking the easy way out when a salesperson’s difficult client comes to you, even if placating them seems like it would be the best short term solution, because ultimately your people must live with the consequences of you decision, plus, that difficult customer may soon becomes your consistent problem.

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: What to Do When Dealing With Difficult Clients

January 18, 2010

As a sales person you have to work with all your clients. Some you will enjoy doing business with. Others will prove to be a challenge. Of these more difficult clients, there will be several types, each bringing with them their own challenges that will require their own solutions. However, when dealing with any of these more challenging clients, it will always help if you have researched them thoroughly and are prepared to listen.

(To protect the innocent I will use the name Bob to refer to all my hypothetical, difficult clients).

Agreeable, But Not Willing to Buy

Here Bob either cannot or will not say no. Instead, he will always tell you yes, but, in the end, never sign anything. Ultimately, you need to call Bob’s bluff. Acknowledge that he likes you, your product, and company, but that you have not been getting his business. (Do not say that he is not giving it to you!) Suggest there is a mix up (not a mistake) due to someone (who is not him). Then let him know you are there to help. At this point he may say why he will not or has not been buying from you, or he may duck the issue. If the latter is the case, confront him without being confrontational.

Angry

When Bob is angry, he may be difficult to deal with on a personal level because he may make you feel as if you are under attack, causing you to instinctively want to fight back, shift the blame, or leave. Instead you should let Bob vent, be sympathetic without being insincere or accepting or placing blame, and, when the time is appropriate, try to rectify the problem. If necessary, work to negotiate a solution with Bob. Bring up areas of agreement, suggest a step by step plan, and follow through on what is settled upon.

Apathetic

Now Bob is being difficult to deal with professionally, just as when Bob is angry he may be difficult to deal with personally. Nothing you say seems to interest him. If he is a qualified prospect, he may be using his apathy as a strategy. If he is not qualified, he may also be implementing a strategy, or not have the budget. He may want you to court him. He may not, but let you anyway. Another possibility is that his apathy is real. Regardless, it is best to open him up with lead-in and open-ended questions. If this does not work, it may be best to just be direct and ask if you are boring him, and how you can excite him about what you have to offer. You will know you have broken through when he can offer a specific objection.

Cautious/Timid

If Bob is insecure and afraid of rocking the boat, he will likely be concerned about reliability and that he is in fact making the right decision buying what you have to offer. Here you must build his confidence. Provide him with facts. Play down novelty. Stress benefits. Present him with testimonials. Show that what you are offering is becoming an industry standard and that there may be negative consequences for not buying. But be sure not to come off as a bully. Go slow with him. Let him ask questions, then probe for information, then present your product or service’s benefits in conservative terms, closing for agreement after presenting each one, then using an assumptive close at the end.

Chronic Complaining

Like a whining child, a chronic complainer such as Bob wants attention and his own way, but unfortunately, unlike a whining child, he cannot be sent to his room. Now, sometimes Bob may have a legitimate complaint, and therefore you must look into each one he makes. But if his complaint turns out to be unreasonable, you should listen carefully, being sure not to let him repeatedly go over the same ground, respond with neutral comments, and draw a line, reminding him of what you can and cannot do. But, again, be sure to investigate each complaint.

Indecisive/Procrastinating

Bob may lack confidence in his ability to make good decisions. If so, he needs your reassurance and support. To better prepare him to make a decision, ask him questions throughout, requiring him to answer positively, and helping him build a logical case for his final decision (buying your product or service). Be sure to give him reassurance, facts, testimonials, details etc., and inform him of the consequences of inaction.

Mercurial

Today you’re Bob’s first choice! Tomorrow, you’re not even in his top ten. If you press for a reason, he becomes hostile. To cope with Bob, focus on what seems to interest him. Show how what you have to offer can be beneficial to him and solve his problems. If he goes off on a tangent, act friendly and interested, then gently lead him back on track, offering encouragement, reassurance, and positive feedback, as well as samples and demos if possible.

Rude/Confrontational

Bob’s not angry, just insecure, secretive and rude. When you’re probing, he may think you’re snooping. He may not think you are genuine or worthy of his trust. To prove yourself to him, do your homework. Find out as much about Bob and his company as you can. When he vents, wait for him to settle down. If he becomes abusive, calmly tell him he crossed a line, or walk out.

Self Important/Egotistical

Here Bob expresses his insecurity with self-centeredness, making him unusually assertive, critical, and hard to reach with a sales message. Bob feels superior to you, but needs your constant attention, praise, and awe. To break through his defenses, ask for his opinions and angle your presentation as information for his evaluation. Also, be sure to compliment him and let him impress you.

Talkative

In this situation Bob will talk about anything and everything, except what he needs from you. Therefore you must get him involved in your presentation with visuals, samples, and demos. (I felt it was best not to come off as too talkative in this one).

Unreasonable

Sometimes Bob can and will try to prove who is boss by demanding you to do something or suffer negative consequences if you refuse. However, even if you give in to his orders, there will still be negative consequences: you will lose his respect and encounter even more unreasonable demands in the future. To respond to Bob, you should show respect and understanding, but be honest, making sure he understands what you can and cannot do, and why. Do not make exceptions or lead him to think that you can. If necessary, suggest a coffee break, restate what you can do, and resell Bob on yourself, your offering, and your company.

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)