Here are my top tips for making the most of every sales interview and getting the most out of your referrals.
Never bag the opposition – This goes without saying but we can all fall into the trap of bagging the opposition, but be aware, sometimes this can be a test from the client of your professionalism. If the client comments negatively about the opposition, it is better to apologise for them, “I’m sorry to hear that”, if they make positive comments then agree with them “that’s good to hear, I have heard good things about that company”. This will show that you are a professional and your reputation will grow as a result.
Share the business – The best way to succeed in your business is to help someone else to succeed in theirs. So work with your colleagues from other non-competitive businesses with whom you share clients with to provide market intelligence, and referrals if possible. Grow your networks and align yourself with business people you respect and like. In a small business community it is to everyone’s benefit to work together to help each other achieve more.
Be genuine – find the need – When you walk into a sales interview, remember that your aim is not to make the sale, but to find the need. You need to assess whether the prospect has a need for the product or service you offer. The only party that can close the sale is the buyer, remember too that you are adding value to their business so don’t feel like you are begging for the work, stand by your product and if the need is there it will sell itself.
Be timely – This goes without saying but always be early for your appointments, no more than ten minutes, or else you may make the prospect feel uncomfortable to leave you waiting. The prospect’s time is valuable as is your own, and if you are looking for an ongoing relationship with the prospect, get off on the right foot by being prompt. The same goes for email correspondence, if you can reply to emails the same day you receive them, your clients and prospects will respect your punctuality.
Respect the local market – Most businesses grow to a certain size and start to look outside their backyard for bigger jobs and prospects however it is important not to overlook smaller accounts. Too often in business we rely on a large account to carry us through the financial year but when these accounts fall through or move on as they are prone to do, it is often the smaller jobs that keep us on an even keel.
Hayden Burgess is a Programme Developer and Facilitator for Sales Impact Group.