Young salesperson: "Would you mind telling me your secret of sales success?"
Wealthy experienced sales professional: "There is no secret. You just have to keep jumping at your opportunities."
Young salesperson: "But how will I know when these opportunities come?"
Wealthy experienced sales professional: "You can't. You just have to be AGGRESSIVE and keep jumping."
Bob Macke, a client and friend of mine, who is a sales professional with Bobcat Enterprises of Cincinnati telephoned me the other day and I could tell two things from his voice. One he had a big smile on his face and two, he had just closed a big profitable sale.
Bob told me while attending a seminar a few weeks earlier, during one of the breaks, he went to a vending machine to buy a pack of crackers. He found himself in front of the machine fifty cents short of what he needed to buy the crackers. A man behind him in line at the machine recognized his problem and asked, "How much do you need?"
Bob replied, "Fifty cents." The man handed Bob fifty cents.
Now for most people, even sales professionals, after saying thank you, that would have been the end of the story. But Bob Macke is an aggressive sales professional. While thanking the man Bob asked his name and asked for his business card. Turns out the man is a buyer for a company Bob has been trying to get an appointment with to sell them equipment.
The next day Bob went to the company's office and asked for his benefactor of the fifty cents. When asked what his business was for the visit Bob told the gate keeper he wanted to pay the man back the fifty cents. In a few minutes Bob was sitting in the buyer's office handing him the fifty cents and thanking him. Then Bob said, "By the way, we have some equipment on special I think will save you a lot of money." That was the start to a successful and profitable sale of $56,700.
Bob Macke jumps at every opportunity. Bob Macke is a very successful sales professional.
Opportunities are in front of you. Even in a recession there are people buying your products and services. If they are not buying them from you, they are buying them from your competition. All you have to do is jump at every opportunity to take those customers away from your competition.
Taking these customers away from your competition is not always easy to do. For two reasons we never want to use the cutthroat, lower price tactics. First of all, we will not make the profit we need and desire, and a customer gained through low price will be easily lost when a competitor offers them a lower price.
Secondly, it is usually hard to take a customer away from the competition because of the loyalty people have to their suppliers. The longer the prospective customer has been a customer of our competition, usually the more loyalty they have to our competitor. So when you jump at an opportunity make sure you:
- Jump in all the way with benefit selling: People buy benefits, not features. Make sure your prospects know and understand what different and extra benefits they will receive when buying from you. Most of us sell the same things our competition sells. So we must differentiate ourselves from our competition with our personal and company benefits.
- Follow-up: It is estimated that only 10% of sales professionals follow-up more than 5 times with a prospect. The number of times you must follow-up is different for every industry. Track your sales activities and discover the average number of times you must follow-up to close the sale.
- Ask for the sale: It is only an estimate, but the estimate is that 90% of people in selling do not actively, aggressively ask for the sale. Sure they show their products and services, but they never aggressively ask for the sale. Those who wait for the order will not make the sale. Ask and you shall receive.
- Ask for referrals: Everyone you sell to knows someone who is in the market for your products and services or someone who will benefit from doing business with you instead of your competition. To find out whom they are, Ask! Just ask them. Because people like to buy where others have been successful, third party endorsements are golden. Collect and use testimonial letters, referral letters and always ask your satisfied customers to either directly introduce you to others or to telephone them with their recommendation to buy from you.