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I’ve heard people say ‘’Sales sounds so easy”! But to many it mystifies, and can be just downright scary.

So, I thought I would write this blog (part 1) covering basic sales techniques, using a generic methodology so whatever you’re selling, whether it is a product or service, it should provide some strong foundations.

It’s an introduction for those businesses who may never have picked up the phone to ‘sell’ before, dropped a card off or have asked to pin a business card on a supermarket notice board.

Facts are, if you don’t have customers you don’t have a business.

Your list of customers wherever they come from should all be treated the same. Don’t be intimidated by ‘large companies over small companies.

  • Identify the decision-maker(s) and arrange a face-to-face/online conversation
  • Qualifying is all about asking the right questions and getting insightful information from your prospect—to verify beyond a reasonable doubt that they’d be successful after purchasing your solution. Therefore, the quality of information you get from a potential customer is extremely important in helping them make the decision to buy (or not to buy).

To effectively gather the right information, you need to be speaking with the right person—a decision-maker. So, an example:

  • If you’re selling a service for a business and experience tells you that the ultimate decision-maker for making that decision is the Head of Content Marketing, it does you no good spending time talking to an entry-level marketing person, copywriter, assistant, or member of another team entirely.
  • But how do you know who this person is? Don’t ask “who is the Head of Content Marketing”, and then ask to speak to them, you will be met by a far more experienced gatekeeper. So, you can either call and ask who is the Head of Content Marketing and ask for contact details and then politely get off the phone, or look them up. Create a list of customers/companies and the decision makers you need.
  • We all have insurance of some kind and every year we get contacted when the policy is due for renewal…Calls/sms/email/ then finally by letter. Why do they do this? (1) keep your custom, (2) to grow your business and finally, (3) not lose you to another company.

For example, you may have ticked/mentioned previously that you have a pet and you go skiing, so they will talk to you about your initial policy, but also mention pet and dangerous sports insurance too. This is harvesting information to grow profit.

Before you speak to your contact you will need to do some prep work.

Planning lets take a look at a phone call to gain the customer’s interest and cement that in person meeting or Zoom appointment.

  • Identify a customer’s current purchases (marketing programme, products, services in your sector or whatever you’re selling) i.e. look at what they have now.
  • Identify at least one gap/area in the customer’s current position that you could potentially fill or help with.
  • Objections – Recognise what potential objections there could be and why.

Making the call

  • Call the Company – Introduce yourself (who you are/where you’re from) and ask to speak to the person you have already identified as the decision maker.
  • Deliver a reason for your call – (renew/service/new opps/product/faster/efficiency/competition has it etc.)
  • Explain how your products fit into their company, Capture the company’s area, demonstrate effective listening skills (pause/gaining clarification etc), identify at least one need that your product/service could help with, summarise.
  • Complete call and ask for the follow up/appointment– give two options: day and time. Confirm customer’s web address/email address/mobile number/ if F2F where to park and send confirmation email.
  • In part 2, I will cover why we ask the questions and how that information is pure gold for the follow up/appointment and how you use it.

However, if you cannot wait until next time and would like to go over anything ‘sales’ please contact bgp_team@chester.ac.uk.

Jo Vernon
Business Development Manager

The Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme is a consortium of North West based partners set up to deliver business growth activities across priority sectors from 2016-2021.

With a £3.85m investment of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) matched by investment by the three partner Institutions, this innovative programme brings together three key business support providers across Cheshire and Warrington to offer businesses access to a variety of services.

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