Extraordinary selling skills are developed over time through training, review, feedback, and refinement. Excellent sales professionals never cease considering ways to improve themselves or their processes. Exceptional attention to the A, B, C, & P’s of selling can continuously polish your skill set. Don’t be distracted by daily ‘busy-ness’; make sure you allocate time to become your best at selling.
Ask customers what they want-then listen well; don’t assume you know.
Awareness of details in the specific words customers use to communicate their questions and preferences to you can pinpoint the best target for your responses.
Attributes customers seek (color, functional purpose, cost effectiveness) help you prioritize your sales approach, and help you relate other features to those needs.
Accommodating the customer’s need for clarification and ‘more’ data with gracious patience can help you reap rewards by earning their loyalty.
Appreciate the customer’s business: their sales orders, their inquiries, and their critical feedback (complaint); each is a chance to interact with them and gives you increased opportunity to sell; expressing and demonstrating your ‘thank you’ for allowing you to interact with them in each situation is essential.
Benefits of your product or service may not all be self-evident. Find creative ways to include them in your conversation without sounding like a checklist of facts; relate these as additional, supportive value to the customer’s primary needs which they may not have originally considered available to them without extra cost.
Brand, if positively distinct, can have lasting impact on your customer’s future purchase decisions-with you. Incorporate your brand statements or commitment during your selling process-don’t assume it can be seen or will easily be remembered.
Build the relationship. Develop their loyalty by being kind, listening carefully, and extending patience longer than you may naturally be inclined to. Follow up promptly to calls, orders, questions, and especially-their concerns or complaints.
Complement your products and services with your personal touch. Demonstrate your sincere gratefulness for their business through your professionalism, your timely action on their behalf, and your demonstration where possible (such as rewards, or communication of upcoming sales).
Customize your interactions to match the customer’s personal style or purchasing process. A punctual, ‘just the facts’ approach or switching to a calm, conversational manner can enhance the customer’s comfort with you.
Compromise can be the key to a lasting sales relationship. The lifetime value of a customer’s purchases with you should be considered before you say ‘no’ to a requested discount or complaint resolution; consider options and be diligent in finding ways to meet their expectations.
Profitability keeps you in business-stay cognizant of the whole, big picture. Your sales transaction perspective should always balance today’s transaction (sale or accommodating a complaint) with long term customer value, and the return on investment of the product or service you have in the transaction already.
Price of your time. Cost-accounting practices are relevant for sales professionals, too. Understanding how long you spend on a customer account, its processes, and developing and then managing the relationship should be known to you-it offers invaluable insight as to how you spend, or should be spending, your time.
Process improvement reviews will help you spot areas for advancement in your and your organization’s practices and perhaps help you create better ways for the customer to do business with you.
Being a busy sales professional is important-if you are using your skills and time as well as you can. Expectations for continuous growth in closed sales and strengthened sales relationships can be accomplished with observation and evaluation. Distractions in the workplace and life in general create weakness in your observation skills-make time to become your best at selling.
Cheryl Kane, MBA, is a strategic business consultant, sales trainer, and professional speaker specializing in service quality. If you seek assistance in growing your business, need a business speaker, or have a question you would like to see answered in this column, Cheryl welcomes your communication at 704-595-7188 or through her web site, www.cherylkane.net.