Sales Calls: Closing the Sale Faster

If making sales calls is part of your job, you know how difficult the process can be. A business-to-business sales call now costs an average of $518, according to leading B-2-B publishers. So be sure to make the most out of every call. A good website and advertising efforts can help pave the way, by making the prospect aware of your products or services before you arrive. Here are some tips to help you get closer to closing the sale on every call:

Get to the point. Long before the sales call, while still in the telephone stage, state your company name and what you are selling immediately. Find out what you can before calling, and focus on how your products or services can fulfill the person's needs. Keep the small talk to a mere sentence or two at this point, unless you are in the South, where people expect plenty of small talk, especially in the beginning.

A good opening will help you close. When paying your prospect a visit, the first few minutes of your presentation are extremely important. Think ahead, and having your thoughts well organized. A good first impression on your presentation will help a lot in.

Make your prospect feel comfortable. Being friendly, well-groomed, and well-mannered are important to setting your prospect at ease. People naturally want to deal with people they like, so develop a friendly rapport. Look around the office for something you may have in common, or something the person may feel pride in, and let him or her do most of the talking. Be sure to show appreciation for the person making time for you.

Pay special attention to customer requests. If he asks for something specific, put it prominently in your notes, put a star next to it, and be sure to follow through. If you forget something, don't let it be the one thing he actually asked for. I once dealt with a salesman I liked a lot, but I dropped him, simply because he was terrible at remembering to follow up on my requests. Likeability is important, but doing your job is vital.

Use visual aids. People become bored easily in meetings, and sometimes their minds wander. If this happens to your prospect, he or she may not hear the important points you may make. Using visual aids will give the person different things to focus his attention on, thus increasing the odds of your message being heard. Charts, graphs, samples of the product, and catalogs, give the listener a little variation. But keep it short. When talking one-on-one, 15 minutes is a fair amount of time for visual aids. If you have time, you can create a small presentation tailored to the prospect, and leave it behind. That way your message gets repeated.

Use testimonials to strengthen your pitch. If you recently spoke with a customer who particularly benefitted from a product, work it into the presentation. Don't overdo it, or the prospect will sense insincerity. But a frank presentation of the facts will be convincing.

Respect your customer's time. A half hour is what you should plan for a prospective sales call. If you begin talking about a specific buy, you could stay as much as an hour. If your prospect looks at his watch at any time, try to wrap things up in five or ten minutes.

Look at it from the prospect's point of view. Relate the products to his needs, identify with his part of the industry as a whole, and show interest in whatever he chooses to talk about. Ask questions about the prospect's needs, listen attentively, and try to figure out how you can meet those needs. Make any specific request the customer makes a top priority. Take scrupulous notes. If the person becomes a regular customer, you can suggest new products as they come along. Try to learn as much as possible about a regular customer's business, as if you were a new employee. Become a valued listening board, if possible. Often people feel they have to be careful what they say around others in the company, while they enjoy voicing their opinions to outsiders. Create that bond. If they enjoy talking to you, the sale is yours, again and again.

Direct the conversation toward the buy. Try to tie in what you have with his goals. For example, say,"Remember you wanted to sell more fast food companies on your grease catchers? Well, we just came out with a new filter that changes itself automatically. No more labor, and I know that's important in the fast food business. We could market them together." Besides selling your product, this lets your customers know you are listening to him and addressing his needs.

Using these simple tips will help increase your sales, and help you close the deal.


Judy Camp is the author of the book, Find Time for What You Love, which contains dozens of ways to find extra time in each day, and to find ways to spend that time that will catapult you toward your ideal life!

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