Before making your case:
The most important preparation you can make before selling your product or service is to do your research. You likely already know your own business inside and out, but it's essential to understand the needs of your potential clients and why your business is the best resource to fulfill them. Good preparation will help you exude confidence in your pitch, which means that you will perform better and your potential clients are more likely to positively receive your pitch.
After the pitch: steady the wavering clients
You're finishing up your proposal or presentation to a prospective client when you hear the dreaded phrase: "I'll have to think about it." At this point, resist the urge to beg and plead your case. Behavior like this will weaken the argument you just made. After the potential client has surrendered his or her feelings of uncertainty, ask questions to pinpoint their biggest apprehensions of accepting your proposal. Is your potential client:
- Worried about spending the money? If it's a B2B sale, assure them that, as a business, they must spend money to make money. Sitting on all their assets without investing in methods of growth means their own business will fizzle.
- Afraid they will overpay for your services? This is where that research you conducted will come in handy. Remind potential clients that "you get what you pay for." Differentiate your business from your competitors and site specific examples as to why your product or service is a great value for them.
- Concerned that not all of their team members are on board? Ask who or what team is responsible for making the final decision. Remind the potential client that although complete consensus is the best scenario, you can't always wait for everyone to be in agreement. Where would we be if we waited for every person in the US — or even everyone in the Senate to agree on the same candidate for president?
- Anxious about the state of the economy? Tell them that one of the worst reactions to a recession in the market is to hide all of their assets under their bed. True, the potential profits in the current economic climate have been slashed. However, opportunity to get a slice of the remaining profit lies in the hesitation of other businesses and consumers. Carpe diem, opportunities abound for business growth!
After the sale: garnering future and repeat customers
Following the sale, a little creative customer service can go quite a long way in the eyes of your customers. You need to improve your customer service to maintain a healthy bottom line. Remember the old gift-giving adage "it's the thought that counts?" Well, the saying rings true in the business world as well. Any company can send out a complimentary calendar with their business logos and photos plastered all over it, but a gift like this is neither creative nor thoughtful.
Instead, work to match the gift with the client receiving it. For example, let's say that in your last meeting, your client mentioned a restaurant he or she just dined at. Show him or her you appreciate the business by sending a thank-you note along with a gift card for said restaurant. Creative customer service techniques like this will keep your business top of mind as well as demonstrate you're really listening. Another perk: fantastic customer service will build your reputation via word of mouth, which means more business for you.
Yes, it's tough out there and sales are more difficult to clinch. However, with excellent preparation and top-rate follow through and customer retention, you can persuade your potential clients to come off the fence.
Labels: Business Tips