marketing & sales: Pressure Cooker
Are you wasting your customers' time?
In this pressurized, multi-tasking world, where your customers are expected to produce more in less time, they may be growing less eager to meet with you than they were just a year ago. Time is even more precious, and your customers are feeling the pressure.
In order for your customers to reliably make time to see you, they need to expect they will gain something from the time spent with you. So, if you are going to be successful in the world of B-2-B sales, you'll need to create a reputation that time spent with you is worth the investment. If, over time, you can create that idea in the minds of your customers, you'll find them generally willing to meet with you when you call. And in an economy where "too much to do and not enough time to do it" is the prevalent mindset, that reputation is a valuable asset.
As always, it starts with thoughtfulness and preparation. As we prepare for a sales call, we so often think about what we want to accomplish from the sales call. Very few salespeople ever give any thought to what the customer gets out of it.
If you are going to bring value to every customer, every time, then you'll need to spend more time preparing to do so. That brings us to two simple rules to add value to every sales call:
1. Present something, every time.
2. Ask something, every time.
Present something, every time, means exactly that. You should, in every sales call with every customer and prospect, have something to discuss or to educate him or her on. You can, for example, have an idea that you share. Maybe you have an idea that will help him or her cut costs, increase revenues, save time, do something better or easier or make him or her more valuable.
You could present a new product, a new product line or a new application for an existing product of which he or she may not be aware.
You could present a service that your company offers in which he or she may be interested.
And finally, you could present a proposal to buy something from you. The important thing here is that you prepare to present something to every customer and every prospect on every sales call. And not just anything, but rather something that this particular customer may find of value to him.
Don't forget rule number two: Ask something, on every sales call, with every customer and every prospect. Ask a question that causes the prospective customer to:
• Think about his or her job or his or her business in some different way.
• Consider something he or she has probably not thought of before.
• Clarify some values, goals, objectives or strategies.
If you take the time to individually prepare something to present, and something to ask for each sales call, you will, more times than not, be perceived as bringing some value to the customer. And that reputation will be one of your greatest strengths in the marketplace.
By Dave Kahle
Copyright (2010). Dave Kahle has written seven books, and presented in 47 states and seven countries. Sign up for his weekly Ezine at www.davekahle.com/mailinglist.html, or visit his blog at www.davekahle.com/salesblog/. For more information, or to contact the author, contact: The DaCo Corporation, 835 West River Center Drive, PO Box 523, Comstock Park, MI 49321 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.davekahle.com, call (800) 331-1287 or (616) 451-9377 or fax (616) 451-9412.