Sunday, May 11, 2008

Rules of engagement

We were talking about the cold calling blitz the other day .
Today - happy Mother's Day by the way - we are giving interaction and cold calling a bit more thought:

The single most important reason to make a cold call is to find someone new that will potentially buy your product. Once on the phone, experienced salesmen know that if you keep talking about your product offering, the client has too much info to process.
You have to connect to the buyer first, so that he understands that his money is well spent and trusts you with his buying decision.

A great way to connect is to ask your prospect questions about his business and job environment and adapting your 'Spiel' to his circumstances, so that you are sure to address topics that are of interest to your prospect.

Even though there are many ways to convey your message and show the value you can offer, there should be a recognizable value in every contact you have with a customer, so that you create a 'brain position'. In other words: any time your prospect is prompted to buy a product you're selling, you'd like him to think about you first.
How do you create that recognition, other than your corporate branding, logo, etc.?'s you!

The reason why a prospect buys something from you for the first time, is because you attracted him to the product and your company. However, there is a way to make sure your message is appealing and connects to your core beliefs every time you speak with a prospect or a customer:

I call them the 'rules of engagement' for salesmen.

These are the rules:

1) Talk about the customer first - then the product

2) When engaging, don’t do the talking, but ask the questions

Dialogue = Information
Information = Knowledge
Knowledge creates loyalty
Loyalty = Profit

3) Ensure that the prospect/customer sees the value of each interaction with you and your company.
Deliver information that shows that you’ve learned from the interaction and confirms what you have discussed or have agreed on.
Be precise, and implicitly re-affirm the prospect or customer why he is doing business with you and your company.

4) Quote what is valuable to the customer (value for money, saves budget, best quality etc) and inform him when he is uncertain about some aspects of your value proposition (ask first).
Never quote a quote, but quote a done deal. You're not in the quoting business. If your quote does not reflect what you have discussed with the customer, and is valuable to him, how can you expect to close a deal like that?It should just be a confirmation of what was already discussed, not a starting point for discussion. (In that situation you'd be much more vulnerable to uncontrolled situations, other influencers outside of our sight etc)Be in control and don’t leave it to the odds - or worse – the competition.

5) Do not avoid a topic when it really needs to be addressed, but don’t bring up bears on the road if the customer’s not seeing any.
If a customer wants a red machine and you don't have it, but you know he will not do a deal unless it's red - there's a topic to bring up and discuss.
If a customer hasn't mentioned color is an issue to him after asking what matters to him, why bring up that your products come in a purple color?
Simplified - but do you see my point?

6) Ask for the business, go for the deal.
You're a salesman - there is no reason to hide there.
The customer knows you are, and so he knows that you're doing this to make business happen.
You might as well be clear about that and ask for the deal.
( "So...if I can offer this for $x, do we have a deal?" )
Don't think sounding salesy is bad - if he's expecting to speak with a salesman, it would be bad if you sound like a clerk.

Have a great weekend!

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