Have You "Earned Your Way" Through the Front Door?
Dale Carnegie knew a lot about sales. He understood that confidence is one of the hallmarks of presenting oneself, and further defined how mastering the three E’s can lead to a confident expression of one’s knowledge and expertise.
· Earning the Right to speak about a subject. This is reflected in our effort to learn as much as we can about our topic. We've “Earned the Right” to speak when we know we can confidently answer questions about our product, service, or area of expertise.
· Excitement about the Topic: Very few people are excited about every aspect of what they’re selling, but every product solves a problem for someone. Focusing on how our product solves problems and benefits others will allow our enthusiasm to come through when speaking to potential clients.
· Eagerness to Share: When we know enough about a prospective client to be able to speak knowledgeable and confidently about how our product or service will address their situation.
Together, these three E’s will give you a true understanding of how Value Added Selling will place you light years ahead of most of your competition. It will also provide you with an edge in today’s competitive market and help you build strong business relationships that will stand the test of time.
The key to successfully employing all three E’s is to begin with an honest assessment of where you are right now. I’ve made hundreds of sales calls with sales people who haven’t properly prepared. When I began my selling career, I was guilty of "winging it" sometimes too, but soon realized the importance of thoroughly researching a company beforehand.
If you want decision makers to carve time out of their busy schedule to hear what you have to say, don’t waste the meeting by sharing information and ideas that have no relevance to them, their needs, or their problems. Prepare yourself ahead of time so they will be willing to carve time out for you again and again.
Here are ten questions to help you “Earn Your Way” through the front door:
1. Do you have a thorough understanding of your product or service so you can answer your prospect’s questions?
2. Have you practiced your presentation and reviewed anticipated objections before the sales presentation?
3. Will your presentation still work even if your laptop doesn't?
4. Will you and your presentation both survive interruptions?
5. Have you fully qualified the customer or prospect beforehand?
6. Have you identified the prospect’s business needs, wants, and vision for their future?
7. Is this a preliminary visit or will the decision maker be attending the meeting?
8. Are you prepared to list the benefits of your offering? Remember—buyers may like features, but they buy benefits.
9. Do you know and understand who your competition is and how your position in the marketplace compares to theirs?
10. Do you have solid examples of other customers as proof statements for the meeting?
Your commitment to preparation today will build your confidence and pay off in the long run.
Alan Luoma is a Sales Coach and Speaker with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, and sales and product training. He holds key accounts with a national sustainable packaging company, is a motivational speaker, and provides sales training to individuals and groups. He is a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network, Toastmasters, The National Speakers Association, and The New England Speakers Association. You can view his profile on LinkedIn, or contact him at Luoma@snet.net .