6 Tips to Closing a Sale

February 25, 2014 by  

One must remember that sales are not about you meeting targets or even precisely about your product or service per se. Rather, they are about gaining trust, respect and rapport with your prospect so that you can determine their specific needs. If you espouse the strategies outlined below you can expect to achieve more success in increasing your sales.

1. Do your homework!
Before you even make the call, spend some time researching the company or individual you are about to contact. It is not necessary to spend countless hours on this, simply find out enough so that you can speak intelligently about their possible issues.
2. Be punctual!
Never be late! If you say you will call someone at 11:00am, make sure you do so. Allow plenty of time for travel for face-to-face meetings with a prospect because you never know what you might find on the roads that could delay your arrival. Those Key Decision Makers are too busy to wait so be on time, it is a small thing but very important. In addition, be sure to reconfirm the meeting length as decided. Better to take less time with your discussion interview, then run over, which will also not make that busy person very happy.
3. Get to the point!
Don’t waste a lot of time on small talk or idle chit-chat unless your prospect initiates this type of conversation. Rather, get right to the reason for the meeting. Your prospect will respect you for your direct approach and it will do much to help you stand out from the competition. It also takes less time!
4. Recap!
Before you make your sales presentation, recap your understanding of the prospect’s situation, problems or concerns. By offering this short summarization of what you have learned, you clearly demonstrate that you have listened well to their issues. This will engage them, show respect and build rapport. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to modify the presentation if the prospect’s situation has changed since your last exchange.
5. Focus on them!
Remember this is NOT about you or your company; rather it is how your services or products are going to make their business more efficient, productive and successful. In other words, how you can solve their current problem or concerns. If they want more information about your company, client list, how long you have been in business or anything else, they will ask. So if you make sure their issues are the focus of your presentation, you will be more likely to make the sale.
6. Don’t overstay your welcome!
Make a concerted effort to keep to the allotted time frame for your meeting because most of the decision makers have very tight schedules and if you run late, you will be disrupting their already jam packed agenda. Again, if you can conduct your business in less than the allotted time you will impress your prospect and perhaps even provide them with a much appreciated break in their busy day. In addition, this consideration for their time will set you apart from other salespeople and once more enhance your chances for a successful outcome and the sale!

These six tips are imperative in building the trust, respect and rapport so necessary in developing and maintaining good business relationship with our customers. We still do business with those we trust; so practice these elements and you will surely make more sales!

9 Tips for Shorter, More Effective Meetings

February 9, 2014 by  

Here is a way to avoid those unfocused meetings that negatively influence your team’s productivity.
Too many business meetings are poorly run. People drone on and on, there seems to be no point to the gathering, and little is accomplished, so attendees are frustrated and feel like their time has been wasted.

Wouldn’t it be nice to walk out of a meeting feeling like great results were achieved!

Here is a simple set of rules to keep your meetings brief, effective, and to the point.
1. All meetings must have a concrete, measurable goal.
The main reason to have a meeting is to discuss an issue, come to a decision about next steps and develop an action plan with a time line. If you can’t clearly define why you’re calling the meeting, don’t call it!
2. All meetings must have a focused agenda.
The agenda should consist of the topic, other related issues and possibly a few questions that move from the general to the specific.
3. Meetings should be no longer than two hours.
This is about as long as most people can focus. If you want to accomplish a specific endeavour, keep the meeting moving, keep the attendees focused and do not allow deviations from the agenda.
4. Agenda & pertinent materials should be available before the meeting.
When attendees have the agenda and the necessary data ahead of time they can prepare questions, bring information, etc. to the meeting…in other words they can be prepared to get down to the business at hand.
5. Latecomers will not be briefed on what’s been said.
If the chair starts meetings on time, the attendees will understand that they need to be there when scheduled. If someone key to the discussion cannot be on time, perhaps the meeting time ought to be altered.
6. There will be no smartphones/tablets/laptops in use during the meeting.
This rule provides a HUGE incentive to EVERYONE to wrap up the meeting quickly. Need to take notes? Provide a hard copy agenda with space for notes.  Besides, honestly, the use of these devices during a meeting is just rude!
7. There will be only short presentations.
If the purpose of the meeting is to discuss information that is in a presentation, that presentation (with notes) should be distributed and read beforehand.  A short recap can be delivered to emphasize the key points: give the presenter a template for this two minute report.
8. Committee activities can be offered in short report form.
In a world of shared documents and “review mode” there’s no reason people should be listening to all the committee deliberations.  Any documents that need to be created should be done ahead by the committee and distributed….saves a lot of time.
9. Meeting results will be documented and minutes distributed.
The reason here is to document the proceedings, create action plans and determine concrete, measurable goals.
If you are frustrated by unproductive, long, unfocussed meetings, try to implement these rules…. you will be surprised at how much real work can get done.