Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin
Being a salesman involves facing so many challenges. You get to meet a lot of people of diverse characters. Some prospects may be friendly, but others would shoo you away. Furthermore, being a salesperson means you have to work long hours. There is also a high turnover in the sales industry. Nevertheless, if you are hardworking and truly dedicated, being in sales would make you earn more money from commissions and incentives.
Below are some tips on how to become a successful salesperson:
• Believe in your product. For you to be able to sell in confidence, you must first have faith that the product you are selling will really benefit your buyer. You also ought to have good product knowledge, so you could answer all your prospects’ questions.
• Prepare your sales plan. Write your sales objectives for the week; include number of phone calls or emails you have to send daily. Make a sales journal. Forecast how much sales you would want to close weekly, then monthly.
• Target the right buyer. You must do your research, to find out who makes the purchasing decisions in the company. Your effort would prove futile if you fail to pinpoint who the real buyers are in the company.
• Know your competitor. Study your competitors’ products, and look for advantages you may offer over it.
• Go where the buyers are. If your prospects are doctors, then go to the hospitals; if you wish to sell to teachers, then go to different schools. Some even join expensive golf clubs which their potential clients patronize. Go where your target customers are likely to be found.
• Pay attention to your prospect. Probe your potential client. He might be able to verbalize some concerns you may be able to address. Listen carefully, and pay close attention to details.
• Present some humor. Some of your prospects may be tired of the customary sales pitch. If you make him laugh, he is more likely to look forward to your next meeting. Make sure you do not bore your customers. Prepare funny stories, but be wary of delivering them at the right time.
• Be polite. Show you are well mannered and always respectful, no matter how bad the situation is.
• Make your presentation short and simple. Avoid using terminologies and jargons that the buyer might not understand. The simpler the presentation, the better.
• Watch for buying signals. If the prospect nods, smiles, or agrees to use your free samples, consider these as indications of interest to purchase your products. Always be ready to close the sale by having your sales contract on hand.
• Ask for the sale. Both your prospect and your time are important. Be direct to the point. If the buyer mentioned being interested, seal the deal with a contract.
• Have a positive attitude. You may not be successful this time, but there is always a next time. A good salesperson never gives up. The next sale may be yours, and may just be waiting around the corner.
• Ask for referrals. Your existing customers may suggest to you new contacts. If your buyer has a good relationship with you, or has a good buying experience with your company, chances are, you will get referrals from him. You may also ask your client if you can mention his company in your website or include him in your portfolio of existing clients.
• Know when to let go. Do your best in order to close the sale. However, if every measure was already exhausted to no avail, then this customer might not be worth your time and effort. Look for other prospects, and focus your energy where you have better chances.
Once you have left your client’s office with the sale in your pocket, make sure you fulfill your commitments. Keep in touch with your client; buyers hate salespersons that disappear after making the sale. Building trust through after sales service is essential — it is the beginning of the next sale!
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