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Secrets of Champion Sales People
45 Tips for Successful Selling
How to Sell Like a Champion


Champion sales people are the ones who sell more and sell more often. Their sales build strong companies. They deliver the dollars. People in the sales profession are not the only people who sell. All of us are in sales. When you look for a job, you are selling your skills. When you meet new people, you want to sell yourself by putting your best foot forward. When you ask for a raise, you make a presentation that sells the company on your value as an employee.

Here are some ideas to rev up your sales engine. We'll talk about how to sow the seeds for new sales, how to contact the prospect, how to get the appointment, how to make the sales presentation and how to close on the sale. When you become a sales champion, your job will become more enjoyable and your rewards even greater.

Prospecting for Customers


Everyone is a potential customer. Use courtesy and tact. Help out beyond the call of duty whenever you can. For champion sellers, it's all about the contact, the connect and the close.

It helps to believe in your product. When you know that what you are selling is really right for someone, that it simply makes sense for this particular customer, you never feel that you are imposing. You feel that you are doing the customer a favor.

Do your research in advance. Identify the decision makers, the real and often obscure decision makers, at the target company. Pinpoint the areas of need. Research everything about the company, its industry, its competitors, its customers and its website.

Find out what the customer is presently spending on widgets. Reflect on the issues that carry the most weight with the decision maker. Is maintenance, ease of use, reliability, cost, luxury, marketing, convenience, environmental impact, social responsibility, special features, custom packaging, availability or shipping the critical factor?

Map out a blueprint of the prospect's concerns. Decide what questions to ask and what objections and barriers to overcome. See the world through their eyes.

Contact an existing customer. Revisit an old contact. Ask people to suggest new contacts. Connect with the contacts.

Call the people in your files. Ask for something. Ask for a referral. Ask for a meeting. Ask them to call you sometime. Ask if a new widget from your company would make work easier. Ask them if they can use your tickets to the game for such and such a night, which you can't use. Ask if they've seen a valuable new article from a recent publication in the field. If they haven't read it, ask if they would like to see it, and send it on to them, with a note expressing your interest in how their company would benefit from your product.

Ask if you can mention the target company on your website. Ask for a reference. If you bring them useful information, they will always be glad to hear from you. Let them know about a special sales promotion. If you have inside information about what their competitors are doing, they'll be interested. Ask if they'd like to meet an interesting acquaintance of yours.

Ask for referrals from the customer. "Are there members of your country club, your family or people with whom you work, who might want to receive the same deal you received?"

Do an Internet search on the target company. If you find something of interest, put it in a brief note and mail it. Use snail mail so that your note lying on their desk reminds them of you.

Go where the prospects are. One go-getter tried to sell to a doctor by going to the hospital clinic where he worked. But the doctor was too busy to talk to him, so the sales champion scheduled himself for a complete physical. Needless to say, he used the exam time to sell the doctor. Whenever possible, go to the customer. Face to face meetings give you more opportunities and more information.

Send congratulations to the target company on the occasion of an award, an expansion or an corporate anniversary. Send congratulations to the contact person on a birthday, new home, promotion, award, or achievement. Arrange a golf game with the club pro.

Remember the kids birthdays and graduations and their hobbies. For a baseball fan, send an autographed team picture. A personal gift to the children is appreciated more than a gift to the contact. If you have a customer you want to impress, do something for his kids.

When you call a prospect, always have a personalized lead-in to the sales conversation. Your lead-in might be: "I was talking to Nan at ABC Co yesterday and she mentioned that you are expanding the plant. Possibly I can be of some help with it."

Sell to the resellers. You open up an entirely new market when you place your product with resellers, as well as end users.

When you talk or write to them, tell them of your recent accomplishments, your anniversary with the company, special training you've completed, the charity function you participated in, a walk or run for charity, a charity golf game you played, volunteer work, whatever makes you memorable and useful to them.

The Sales Contact


Develop a sincere, personal interest in the target contact. People don't like phonies. They don't trust them. And they will not do business with a phony, if it can be avoided. All things being equal, people would rather do business with a friend. And when things are not quite equal, they would still rather do business with a friend.

Cold calling is an ineffective technique for locating prospects. Instead, after you've done your research, write a very brief letter to the decision maker. The objective of your letter is to get the decision maker to accept your follow-up phone call. Sometimes an intriguing postscript will hold the reader's attention. Example of a postscript in the sales letter: "I've talked to ten of your customers or experts. You'll be interested in what they are saying about you. I'll bring that information with me."

Here's a sample of an effective sales letter.

Dear Plant CEO (use correct name):
Your machine shop has 7 multi-purpose lathes. Based on proven experience with other shops similar to yours, ABC Widgets can save you at least $15,500 a year with new tool carrousels. It will take less than twenty minutes to show how you can recapture the $15,500. I will call you to schedule an appointment. Yours for better tooling,
P.S. There are three other shops like yours that are now saving upward of $50K a year. I'll bring the case histories.

Plan and practice the initial phone call, repeating your message of the financial benefits mentioned in the letter. If the prospect doesn't pick up, leave your message on voice mail. When you speak to the prospect, deliver your message and be sure to ask for the in-face meeting. During the phone call, ask "Do you have your appointment calendar handy?"

Develop the ability to read people and to size up situations. Your knack for intuiting information will give you an edge in dealing with the prospect. People sense and street smarts will help you close the sale.

How to Make the Sales Presentation


Here’s the way to begin a good sales presentation. "Thank you for taking some time to talk to me. Based on our experience with companies like yours, and based on my research, we are confident we can save your company at least thirty thousand dollars in reduced water usage. May I continue?"

To start the sales meeting, don't try to bond. "I just want to confirm your time availability for this meeting. We agreed on the phone that this meeting would take about twenty minutes. is that still OK with you? This gives the customer a feeling of control and it gives the customer the first chance to say yes.

There are two approaches to the sales meeting. You can launch into your presentation at the conference table, or you can say: "Why don't you guys tell me what you want? Why don't you show me the areas where you need tool storage and safety? Why don't we forget that conference room and take a stroll. Would you folks give me the grand tour and show me how you get the work done?"

If you are invited for a tour of the plant, take lots of notes. Listen to the customer. Let the customer tell you what they need. Pick up on the hot topics and clues they give you.

Always take notes. Don't use a laptop for your notes. Using paper and pen for your notes makes the process more visible, and gives the speakers time to mention obstacles and to sell themselves on your product.

Here is a checklist of important questions to ask your prospect. Make notes and check off each question when you ask it.

What are your goals? What are your challenges?
What solutions have you tried?
What is the problem costing you?
What are the consequences if the problem continues?
What is your timetable?
What is your budget?
Who else are you talking to?
Who, in addition to yourself, will be involved in choosing a supplier?
What are their concerns?

Your sales presentation should always be about the customer. Here's a sample PowerPoint presentation.

Slide 1. How ABC Company can increase production yields by 2%, generating $2m in scrap reduction and new revenue of $1,500,000.
Slide 2. To realize $2,000,000 in new savings and $1,500,000 in new revenues, ABC should invest $700,000 in down-line centrifuges.
Slide3 addresses the concerns that arose in your research. Project objectives: On-time delivery. Competitive pricing. Positive dollar return on investment. Non-interruptible service. Uptime service within 24 hours.
Slide 4 The Present Situation. 3% of potential output wasted, Yield problem occurs 4 steps downstream. Yield problem occurs in critical phase. Higher yield product can be sold at full price. Revenue opportunity. No solution being tested.
Slide 5, Action Plan, summarizes the presenter's recommendations. Form joint-company project team. Select team members. Develop implementation schedule. Lab-test new centrifuges. Test full-size centrifuges. Install centrifuges into process system.

Now ask for the sale. Close on the sale. "If you don't do business with me, we both lose."

If the customer agrees to see you, it means he knows he has a problem. Watch for buy signals like smiles, nodding heads, agreements to test, technical questions.

Careful questioning and listening will determine what the customer needs and knows and doesn't know.

Silence is golden. Give someone else at the conference table a chance to spill info. Maybe they’ll even tell you what their budget is, before you’ve even mentioned a price.

Take lots of notes during the sales presentation. Remind them that, yes, you can get this done, you can get a system that will reduce tool loss. Remind them that you can start right away.

The crux of the sales presentation is when you ask for the sale. Tell them that you want the work. "Will you let me take care of tooling storage for you?"

Sometimes the prospect is wary, aloof or hostile. Wait quietly but stay resolved. Ask: "Did Wonder Widgets upset you somehow? Have you had a bad experience with your Widgets supplier? Yes? Well that is why I am here today, and I can show you how you can make one thousand, four hundred dollars and twenty dollars in additional sales revenues. May I take a few minutes to show you how you can get that one thousand, four hundred and twenty dollars?

Before you finish this meeting, be sure to schedule another meeting.

A Sales Champion Makes Things Happen


Introduce yourself and mention your name and company whenever you meet a customer. It eliminates that awkward moment when they have to search their memory for your elusive name.

Sell the sizzle, not the steak. What makes your product appetizing? Early in my career, I sold memberships for a fitness club. Time after time I asked each prospect why they wanted to join the club. Most often they answered that they wanted to lose a few pounds and get in shape. But what they also wanted, and didn’t mention, was the prestige of belonging to a glamorous club, the prospect of a fit and healthy lifestyle, and the chance to meet local sports stars. That was the sizzle that sold the deal.

A free sample is not a loss leader, providing the customer will test the sample. Arrange for a demonstration whenever possible. Watch a demo video together, so you can respond to their concerns. A free sample or a bonus product can sometimes clinch the sale.

Locate all the decision makers at this time. "In addition to yourself, who else is involved in making this solution happen in your company? And what might be their concerns about going forward?" To locate the decision makers, ask your contact who else in the company will have some input in the decision.

Get your prospect to do something. A customer who has to put the stamp on a return form is more likely to buy more. Ask them to put down a deposit, fill out a survey, visit a website, take a plant tour, visit your place of business, talk to references, answer a question, give their opinion, or just "Please sit here."

Do something extra for the customer. Ask if they want special packaging, special delivery arrangements, or a rush timetable.

Thank your customer for the order. Then notify your customer of the status of the order, when it finishes production and when it ships. For good customer relations include a button on your website that says, "Where's my stuff," to provide the updated order status for the customer. What a good way to keep the customer in the loop.

For customers who are price sensitive, remind them of the total cost of using lower quality. By eliminating warranty costs, by reducing maintenance, by reducing down time, by ease of use, by lengthening the product life, the higher priced widget becomes the lower priced widget.

Always make that last call on your schedule. Often it's the last call, after a long and tiring day, which will put you over the top.

What is your goal for this week? Set your goal, but not by the number of emails sent, phone calls made, or miles traveled. Set your goal in terms of new business brought in, new accounts opened or number of sales closed. Don't confuse strategies with outcomes.

When you set a goal, whether it is your personal goal or the goal for the team, set the reward for success at the same time. A goal for your team might be: If we make $5,000 this week, everyone will get a gift certificate.

Take the word price out of your vocabulary. There are price cutters and there are cost cutters. Whenever you discuss the bottom line, the "cost," ask the customer to consider the true cost of each alternative, figuring in the maintenance costs, fuel, insurance, training, down time, financing, property taxes, resale value and depreciation. Presenting the "true cost" turns the higher priced product the lower priced one. If they ask for the price, give it and say "how does that sound?" "May I show you why this product is actually the lowest-cost solution to your problem. Use the word investment often, instead of price.

Try to close on the first call. Remind the customer that if $1,000 is going down the drain every day, we should get started as soon as possible.

Suppose the prospect asks an unusual question, such as, " Does it come in four-gallon jugs?" Answer yes, and then ask "Why do you ask?" How important is it to you to have four-gallon jugs?" "How important is it to have one supplier?"

Be persistent but polite. Always have something new to say or show. Make it worthwhile for the prospect to talk to you again.

More Tips From Sales Champions


Customer relationships do not last forever. To keep a good customer, stay alert. If the customer starts buys something from your competitor, if the customer want to review all contracts, this is your time to go into action.

Influence the influencer. Ask your customer to suggest your product to others. A barber shop might give the coach a free haircut if he sends the team in. Pharmacy companies give the doctor gifts for prescribing their pills. Soda pop companies want placement on hit TV shows.

Never give a quote or respond to a RFQ. These price-sensitive customers will be high maintenance and will move on if they find a chance to save one more dollar. If you have to answer a RFQ, rewrite all or part of the RFQ to favor your products. In your individualized quote, add innovative ideas that cannot be summarily ignored and always include the cost savings.

Sometimes the customer will say, "I didn't know you guys did that," which gives you an opportunity for additional sales.

Sales Champions have passion and perseverance. They are polite, prepared and polished. Their manners, their appearance, their shoes and cars speak for them. They plan before they call, they are prepared, they focus on value rather than price, they solve problems and they produce results. They perform beyond expectations. They are professional, prompt, proud and punctual.

Manage the details of contact protocol. Send holiday cards that you personally sign. Send handwritten notes because they are more memorable. When you leave a voicemail message, announce your name on the voice mail and say your number clearly. Don't call on purchasing departments, who follow canned procedures. Instead, call on the decision makers, those who have a vested interest in the company, and those who are interested in the bottom line, not just the lowest price.

Whenever possible, don't mail your proposals, but submit them in person.

Make a work chart for yourself that lists your prospects, the potential revenues from each prospect and the probability of close, and the expected value. The expected value is the potential revenue times the probability of closing. Work on those prospects of highest expected value, so that you maximize the return on your effort.

Take good care of your health and keep yourself motivated. After all, you are a champion. Early to bed, early to rise, sell hard, and dollarize.

I hope life brings you much success.
I wish you a very happy day.

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