Landing a sale is a difficult balancing act. You have to sell without coming off as too salesy.
The moment a customer thinks they’re being sold, their opinion is more likely to turn negative. They start seeing you as a salesperson on the make, someone who is more interested in making the sale than helping them.
Customers even anticipate those negative experiences. Most architects, builders, contractors, dealers and distributors know they need to meet with sales reps to stay informed. Yet, they can be reluctant as half the time, those meetings are a waste of their time.
Why Sales Calls Go Wrong
The problem is that reps know their products and how to sell them, but they don’t know enough about the customer’s business. They assume all architects, builders and contractors are the same, so they don’t bother doing additional research.
If that wasn’t bad enough, they also think every building is the same. They figure that if every building needs a roof and they sell roofs, then every building can use their product.
On top of that, many reps take a short-term approach to sales. They are more focused on closing the sale that’s right in front of them than creating a customer who will continue to use their product for years to come.
How to Avoid Wasting a Customer’s Time
If you want more success in sales, your goal shouldn’t only be to sell. You should also aim to make customers feel like every meeting with you was a good use of their time.
Here are a few simple ways to accomplish that.
1. Do your homework before the call so you can learn more about the customer. At a minimum, look them up online. See if there’s been any recent news about them, visit their website and have a look at their social media accounts.
Your goal is to find out what they are focused on, what differentiates them from their competitors and how they see themselves. That way, they won’t leave the call feeling like you’re just another salesperson who doesn’t understand their business.
2. Get credit for your work. During the sales call, ask the customer about something you learned from your research. They will be impressed that you took the time to look into them. They will also tell you more about their business and the challenges they’re facing.
3. Add value. Most salespeople come to a call ready to sell. You should be ready to go beyond that.
Be prepared to share ideas, suggestions, news or new product information that could help the customer. Even if it isn’t directly related to your product or the sale you’re trying to make, it will show them that you’re interested in building an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship with them – not just getting them to buy your product.
Be a Valuable Asset to Your Customers
If the customer is ready to buy today, go for the sale. Most customers will need more time. That doesn’t mean the call wasn’t productive. It was still an opportunity for the customer to size you up for when they’re ready to buy.
Creating a favorable impression is also the best way to convert the customers you really want, the customers who are most loyal to your competitors.
It might sound simple, but it works. The results speak for themselves: sales reps who add value to their sales calls tell me that customers often want to meet with them again.
Most of my articles are based on something I learned over the past week. Often, it’s a conversation I had with someone in the industry. This one is no exception, and I want to thank Roland Rylander, CSI, Regional Manager at Rmax for the idea of providing value in every sales call.
This folks, is the pinnacle for salespeople, yet few ever consider it possible.