Your customers have a lot of options in today's market - both with price and product. So why should they pick you over your competitor? You have to show them you're the best option, with the least risk and highest level of customer care. You can start showing them this right away with sales trainer Anita Sirianni's I.D.E.A. Method, an approach that helps the customer make informed decisions and helps the rep meet changes in customers' needs and expectations.
When meeting any prospect, your first job is to create interest, demonstrate professionalism and build trust. It takes an average of 30 seconds to form an impression. The approach you use is of key importance in your ability to look and sound different from the average sale representative. Pushy, misleading sales techniques are ineffective with today's savvy office staff. Offices are bombarded with over-friendly salespeople with endless offers of "revolutionary new products", "super deals" or "unbelievable prices".
Try a refreshing alternative: simply state why you are contacting them. Prepare a concise explanation of product benefits. List three of the most important unique product or service advantages. Identify why this should really be of interest to the prospect. Organize these points into a brief paragraph, then memorize it. Share these benefits during your initial contact and throughout the sales presentation.
Providing a prescription before a diagnosis is called malpractice! Treatment, in the form of products and services should be presented or recommended AFTER a complete understanding of the problem is determined. Sound logical? Yet, how many sales presentations have you begun with the features and benefits of your product? Professional selling is not controlling the customer into a corner with manipulative phrases. Professional selling is uncovering or 'diagnosing' problems then recommending or 'prescribing' solutions.
Take a consultative approach, first determine the customer's problem, interest or need. Prepare a list of information about a prospect's objectives, qualification and eligibility to invest in your product or service. Include points the customer must consider in order to fully explore his needs, preferences and desires. Create open-ended questions in each area of interest. After your introduction, ask the customer these "diagnostic" questions in an interview style. Your interest in the customer will be a big compliment, while the questions will deliver maximum information and clearly establish you as a credible sales consultant. Peter Drucker said it best, "My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions."
Professional selling is not just presenting features and benefits of your product. Professional selling is delivering ideas and information that address the customer's real needs. Focus your selling efforts to inform, educate and be of customer service. For best results, support product claims with research, expert testimony and relative data. Build enthusiasm and interest by sharing the success and experience of similar customers. Avoid outlandish claims and exaggerated product performance promises.
When your product or service represents an appropriate solution, you have the responsibility, as a product, service or technical expert, to recommend it. When an alternative product is a better solution, recommend it. Don't throw away the respect, trust and interest you have built with the customer with manipulative closing techniques. Simply restate your product or service recommendation, review payment or ordering options then request a decision.
"Professional selling does not push," says Sirianni. "Professional selling leads. Top sales performers succeed with the intent to be of service and contribution to their clients. Lead customers with the I.D.E.A. Approach and money, recognition and accomplishment will follow."
Anita Sirianni, The Professional Sales Coach, is an informative and entertaining speaker, trainer and consultant. As President of ANSIR International she has helped hundreds of sales representatives maximize their sales success. Visit www.anitasirianni.com for more information.