The success or failure of any business depends on its sales and marketing force; but how many people have developed the ability to sell products, or themselves? Someone asked me what the best way to do marketing is and I said, ‘the ability to sell.’Selling is the process of persuading other people to act or think in the way you want them to do. They should like the process.
A number of specifications make a star salesperson. Friendliness (as happens when prospective customers realize that you are prepared to like them) is very crucial. An example is when you are prepared to 'short-wave' with them in their language.A friendly smile can take you miles all the way to the Promised Land. Sincerity that you believe what you are preaching should come out in both word, deed and body language.
There isn’t any worse disaster of a salesperson than one who will not listen to prospects, precisely because the needs of the customer will never be expressed and sales will never be ‘closed.’Attentiveness is thus important. Readiness to go the extra mile to assist the customer and their immediate networks will help win loyalty to your product.The capacity to elicit enthusiasm in others using emotions, while maintaining control over yours creates a wave of empathy which you then ride on as you close the sales. Being aggressive without being offensive, means that your best intended efforts will yield good fruit, while the negative ones will, and should surely, beget the reverse because they are offensive.
The salesperson should have a positive attitude towards the products they sell. Products need to be developed and nurtured according to the different product life cycles that market forces determine. It is foolhardy for anyone in the profession to have an attitude that is negative, because they would sell nothing, and the employer would be tempted to fire them.As a salesperson, you ought to help employers build / enhance their investments as you get paid for your pains and sweat.
A good salesperson or marketer should always endeavour to make a perfect presentation as much as possible when they are given the opportunity to sell something.This involves the processes of Planning, and here I would recommend the cue word: SMART. Smart plans are those that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and have a time frame.
After this is in place, you proceed to meet the prospective customer (in the market place of ideas, goods and services) and determine those needs you have planned to satisfy. You establish need through probing techniques, and find out what needs can be met or exceeded by your product. Here you go armed with the benefits you worked out and think and know.
You may then raise barometer of the customer by raising his hopes for gain, or his fear of loss if they do not make a decision to buy now.For example: You meet a Permanent Secretary who has just been hired and ask him how it would feel for him to retire at 45years! Of course, he may have no clue. Tell him that if he can OK your quotation for the brand-new Gulf Stream for the country’s top gun, he may if he so pleases, earn a 50-50 share your sales commission of 10%. Now that is 10% of say $80M, coming to a cool $4M! You need to see the hope for gain that I am talking about if you gaze into his eyes!
The fear of loss is if you were to say you were joking yet the guy had believed you.You may augment this by featuring or envisioning for the prospect the atmosphere of fulfillment that would most definitely come with them accepting your valued proposition. You can then go forward and enthuse on the benefits of say early retirement, in the case above. From your digital camera, let him catch a glimpse of some pictures of some of the Mombasa resort hotels on sale for a fraction of his share if you must,or something else in a different setting; Think hard.
Because all situations are temporary, it is advisable to close early and often….that is to make it your business to request for early buy-in as soon as possible. The English have mastered this art, and they usually 'strike the iron while it is still hot.’ If you delay this process most probably you have not been reading the body language of the prospect, or you are not listening enough.
Finally, as the deal is done and the prospect has acquiesced to your value proposal, take-off. You surely do not want to un-ravel the good work you have achieved thus far, by lingering around. Run all the way to your base if you have got the cheque, purchase order or signature. Who said selling is difficult………when you are even paid to do it? Let us train in and practice salesmanship and the rest will follow!!!
By Dr. William M. Kihire
Senior Business Advisor, Technoserve, Uganda.
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