Why do buyers choose to do business with one person and not another? Why are some salespeople held in high regard while others are considered peddlers? What does a salesperson do to keep the phone ringing?
Before you look for a wise genie to answer these questions, read on. The answers come by following a four-step process that will bring buyers to you.
Step 1. Be identifiable. Do your buyers know who you are and what you do? Is your logo, letterhead, and web site representative of what you do? Have you established a personal brand, personal style, and personal expertise? Here’s an exercise to determine if you have an identifiable brand. Using a blank sheet of paper, begin writing your personal biography. In addition to your business experience and achievements, include items of note about your family, hobbies, and interests. Are you personally involved in your community, your customers’ associations, and civic organizations? Buyers must be able to recognize you by sight, name, or association. Being active and visible demonstrates commitment and professionalism.
Step 2. Be interested. Once buyers recognize you, the next step is to get to know your buyers personally and professionally. Here’s another exercise. On a blank sheet of paper, list your five top prospects. Complete their personal biographies. How did you do? For prospects and clients to want to know more about you and the products and services you offer, you must first be interested in and know about them. Harvey Mackay’s best-selling book Swim with the Sharks contains his list of 66 questions to help salespeople learn about those they do business with. Knowing people personally is what creates long-term business relationships.
Step 3. Demonstrate how you can help. It’s expected that you know about your products and services, but can you translate what you offer into how it benefits the buyer? To turn the features of what you offer into benefits to the buyer, make a list of product and company characteristics. Consider quality, turnaround, payment terms, expert staff, and so on. Use this model to turn product features into buyer benefits. “Our _________ benefits the buyer because…” For example, our expert staff improves our customer’s bottom-line by providing consistent, quality products eliminating downtime and double work. Translate characteristics into buyer benefits to help the customer see how you and your company can make a difference in their organization.
Step 4. Tell them why. Why should you earn the customer’s business? Again, using a blank sheet of paper, list ten reasons why customers should do business with you. Do the answers flow from your pen, or are you struggling? If you as the salesperson can’t recite these reasons, how can the buyer? One way to complete this exercise is to finish this sentence, “My customers tell me the reason they do business with me and my company is…” Consider customer-service success stories, value-added programs, and guarantees and warranties. Verbal testimonials such as this allow prospects to relate to how you’ve helped others.
To lead buyers to you, be identifiable, be interested, demonstrate how you can help, and tell them why others do business with you. Like anything else, to achieve success, it’s up to you to take the first step.