Selling is tougher than ever. Customers are less accessible, more skeptical and take longer to make a decision to buy. Before they sign the order, they not only want the salesperson to dance a jig, but they want to make sure the price is right.
All this adds up to added frustration, slimmer margins, longer hours and even lower commissions. This is why everyone in sales needs an extra edge, even a slight advantage over the competition.
When you're making sales calls, following up on the telephone, answering inquiries and attending seemingly endless meetings, there isn't much time to develop a strategy. To make it easier, here are 13 effective ways to give yourself a selling advantage:
1. Be far more accessible. Maximum accessibility is the new reality and it counts for more and more in business. It's not when you want to contact the customer that counts, it's when the customer wants to contact you that's critical. Along with your primary telephone and fax numbers, make sure your customers have your home, beeper and mobile telephone numbers, too. Emphasize that you are always available and that you welcome calls. This increases customer confidence.
2. Improve your sales cycle management. Improved productivity is the key to increasing your sales. This requires careful and continuous follow-up with an increasing number of prospects and customers. There's only one way to do it and that's with a computer-based sales tracking-management system.
3. Become a valuable asset to your customers. Just attempting to add value to the product or service you sell misses the point today. That's history. Now you must be an asset to your customers by demonstrating that you can enhance their business operations, their future, their well-being. Look for what you bring to your customers that tips the scales in your favor.
4. Keep adding something new. Customers must think of you as a source for what's new and different. "What's she going to come up with next?" is the question they should be asking. You want to be seen as the innovator, the one who is always thinking--not just another salesperson.
Do this and your customers and prospects will look forward to meeting with you and hearing what you have to say.
5. Don't waste your customers' time. In today's downsized businesses, saving time is the customer's highest priority and most valuable asset. Show customers that you understand their situation by being highly efficient. Figure out ways to reduce paperwork, unnecessary calls and extraneous communications. Make it clear that you refuse to rob them of their time.