Know What You Are Selling

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Know What You Are Selling

When you begin a cold call campaign, or walk into your prospect’s office, or otherwise approach a potential customer, are you always entirely sure of your objectives? A glowing presentation that ends without a clear direction can almost never be effective. At the beginning of any sales presentation, it is necessary to ask yourself two questions that, at first glance, may seem to have obvious answers:

What are you selling?

What do you want?

Regardless of how many times I ask these questions of sales professionals, the large majority blunder in their answers. They have one objective in mind “to sell a product/service” whether it is a quick $15 decision or a multi-part $150,000 purchase. In order to make each contact you have with your prospects effective, you should be sure you know the objectives of each meeting, by the way, that will not always be to sell something.

Take the example of Kelly, a sales associate who believes that her latest job, selling a children’s product to stores, will lead her to the high commission payouts she has dreamed of for years. Kelly talks to all of her lead about the different options they have but never seems to be able to make a sale. Her dialogue usually sounds like this…

“These products just leap off the shelves, see the bright colors, studies prove that kids love them and reach for them instinctively, oh and take a look at the kids safe information, parents go for that every time. You can get this at a steal right now; we have a special wholesale discount in place.”

What is Kelly actually selling here, a product that kids will love, a product that parents will love, or a product that is a low-cost item to the retailer? And what does she want the prospect to do, buy her product, think about buying her product, or think to take a lesson in buyer’s psychology? I am not sure because she is not sure. Kelly has not thought more past her overall objective of selling something to make some money.

I recently attended a free seminar targeted towards success-seekers after which the speaker offered his company’s mentoring services. His objectives were clear from the start. He began by expressing the importance of mentoring and demonstrating how we employed the use of mentoring in other parts of our lives.

He went on to discuss ultra-successful entrepreneurs and made links between their success and the mentors who they claimed helped them achieve it. Towards the end, he rounded off his presentation with an effective set of slides that showed well-known celebrities who had all gone through his mentoring program, all of which had glowing reviews. It was only then that he mentioned his program, giving us the feeling that we could not leave the room without it.

His proposition was that the audience signs up for his mentoring services, his presentation showed why we needed those mentoring services. With great focus and clarity, this speaker ensured that his whole presentation supported his proposition. You can create sales presentations that are just as effective by answering the two questions mentioned earlier: What are you selling? What do you want?

Action step: before every sales situation, take a moment to write down your answers to these two questions.

Let’s look at Kelly’s dilemma again. What is she selling? While it may be true that both parents and kids love the product, Kelly should do some preliminary work before her meeting to find out what her prospects care about most. If the prospect has a large play area and encourages kids to spend a long time in the store, focus on how much kids tend to love the product. If the store is largely geared towards the parent shopping with a child, focus on that angle instead.

If Kelly asked herself what she wants to achieve from each conversation. She would be able to make her presentations even more effective. Understand that the answer to this question is not always to sell something. If she is on a cold call, for example, she may just be looking for an appointment that would change her approach. For now, let’s say that she actually wants to make the sale; she needs to improve her script in order to heighten her chances, for example:

“I know that my competitors have introduced a new item but they also raised the price over everything else in that category. Here I have an item that has just as much appeal and can sell it to you for less. Take a few to display right now; you can have them on consignment”

You will be able to help your prospects to say “yes” to your proposition when you have approached them with a clear and focused proposal.

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