All posts by Sean McPheat

Hi! I'm the founder and Managing Director of MTD Sales Training - we offer sales training solutions for companies both large and small. I'm blessed to work with 25 of the most talented trainers in the UK....well, I did recruit them! ;-) Today, we've delivered training in over 23 countries to over 2,500 different organisations and 50,000 staff. Our clients include Xerox, Friends Provident, Starbucks, Taylor Wimpey, CISCO, Allianz and Lloyds TSB to name but a few.

5 Keys To Becoming Your Customer’s Trusted Partner

If you’re in any kind of sales position, you really want to make buying and using your products easy and profitable.

That’s the real reason why people buy them in the first place; to make their lives or their businesses run smoother.

Unless you’re selling transactional, one-off items that will never be repeat buys, you want to build up some kind of loyalty from your customers.

And the optimum position to get into is where the customer treats you like a partner, trusting you to supply products and services that create consistent and promised results.

In fact, becoming your customer’s trusted partner should be your long-term objective in all your dealings.

So, what are the keys to building these relationships so that your connections with customers turns them into clients, advocates and raving fans?

Here are some ideas.

You really must understand, appreciate and have a deep knowledge of the following:

1. The customer’s ultimate goals, objectives and priorities

If you have an awareness of these, you create opportunities for yourself to present in ways that meet these prime concerns and help you achieve better inroads into their inner sanctum

2. The customer company culture and values

Very few salespeople get this far, but if you’re able to determine them it gives you a massive headstart. What’s their integrity like? Does everyone keep their promises? Will they pay good money for good quality or is saving money their prime motivator? Understanding this will help you in the long-term partnership. 

3. The customer’s decision-making process

Do all small decisions have to go through the procurement manager, or do the buyers have authority and autonomy to choose themselves? How high in the organisation do decisions have to go before they are signed off? You need to identify everyone in the process, so you have an idea of what should be done to gain approval for decisions.

4. The customer’s clients and their competitors

If you can make your customer look good in the eyes of their customers, you increase their market share and offer chances of increased profitability. Also, if you know more about their competitors than they do, you put yourself in prime position to be an advisor and expert in your field.

5. The customer’s market opportunities

By showing them how your products and services will enable the customer to be stronger in their market place and possibly open up new markets for them, you create opportunities with you that wouldn’t exist without you.

Each of these key points show your customer that you are interested in their success stories and gives them reasons to build trust in you, as they realise you are not there just to sell your stuff, but also to maintain the relationship in the long-term.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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What To Say When The Customer Asks, “Why Should We Use You?”

So, you’ve got to the part of the conversation where the customer asks the £64,000 question, hence indicating they are interested but haven’t yet been persuaded to think seriously about your solution.

What do they really want and need when this question, ‘Why should we use you?’ is asked?

Well, they want confirmation and assurance that they are taking less risk going with your company than the solution they are using now. Or they want to know how the benefits of your solution outweigh the competition. Or they simply want assurance they are making the best decision.

Whatever the reason, you should go through five steps that will help you answer the question to the complete satisfaction of the customer.

Step 1: Think Like Your Customer Thinks

Why are they asking the question now? Look at what your offer provides from the standpoint of the buyer. Are you reducing their costs? Giving them more options? Increasing their profit opportunities? Giving them more reliability?

How does the buyer see the problem your product solves or the opportunity it opens up?

Then use that in your opening statement.

Step 2: What Sets You Apart?

You could say something like, ‘Our customers use the product to….”. This offers the differential that sets you apart from the competition. If it’s saving money that your product does best, then it sounds like ‘Our customers use the WX453 to save them, on average, over 10% on their annual running costs”.

Step 3: What’s Unique About This?

How does your offering make you stand out from other companies?

This leads you to a solution that will make the buyer think about your company and associate you with the results they will get.

Step 4: Add A Concrete Example That Will Give The Buyer Confidence

You could say ‘For example, we put this machine into a similar-sized business last year and the savings they are reporting are even greater than they had anticipated. I can give you the exact figures if you wish?’

Step 5: Bring All The Steps Together

Put this all together so it sounds like the buyer will lose out if they don’t go with you. You could say, ‘Because our company offers you the peace of mind that goes with a reliable product like this, most of our customers see the benefits straight away. Without this, you may lose profitability and productivity this solution brings.’

These five steps help you to show the buyer the overall benefits the product offers and how your company provides solutions that beat the competition in areas that are important to their business.

Remember to tweak your sales message often to keep up with specific changes in customer demands and ensure you are speaking the language that would persuade them your solution is the best for theirn business.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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How To Present Solutions That Make The Prospect Think Differently

When salespeople present their solutions to prospects, they seldom see the whole picture.

What I mean by this is that many salespeople see their product or service and present it from their own perspective. That is, they determine what are the features and benefits the product will bring the prospect or their business and talk about them.

A few salespeople will see the benefits through the prospect’s eyes and then show them the value of those benefits, and this is very close to the mark.

However, there is a proven way to present solutions that links straight back to the way the human brain is influenced and persuaded, and it’s quite intriguing.

Steve Martin, author of the book ‘The Small Big’, highlights a phenomenon that influences more than most people realise. He talks of a scenario where you might find a £20 note on the floor. After being sad for the moment when you think of the person’s loss (yeah, right!), you would then be happy for your own luck and pocket the note.

Imagine then, Martin asserts, that you lost the £20 yourself. How would you feel?

Are you economically worse off? No, but psychologically you would feel you have lost out, and that would disappoint and affect you more than if you hadn’t found the note in the fits place.

This is specifically because people are more ‘loss-averse’ in that they would do more to avoid loss than to achieve gain. It’s like the old question, ‘would you do more to try to earn a million dollars, or to protect the million dollars you have got?!’

Most salespeople try to persuade or convince the prospect of how much gain they will get from their solution. Think about that for a moment. If you never had something, and you don’t believe that the benefits of having it would outweigh the risks you have to go through to get it, how much effort would you put in to get it? Probably not much.

Martin argues when trying to persuade prospects to change buying habits or switch suppliers, they immediately think of the challenges this would bring – the unfamiliarity of the new choice, or the loss of comfort with something they already know. These costs are more than many prospects would like to incur.

Instead, a good starting point would be to look from a different perspective. People’s mental exchange rate between losses and gains is more two for one than one for one, and this means it’s more powerful to discuss what potential losses may be incurred if the choice isn’t made, rather than highlight the benefits if it is.

It may sound something like this: ‘So, Mr Prospect, we’ve discussed how this new product will reduce your overall costs by 8% in the first year, rising to between 10 and 15% in year two. This means you will save between £500 and £600 in just two years, the machine paying for itself in that time. If you didn’t go with it, you would effectively be losing that income.

So the sooner you make the choice, the sooner you will save that money.’

In this non-pressurised, non-patronising way, you convince the prospect that they are currently losing out on saving money and this could be stopped if they make the decision to choose your solution.

Try it out next time you need to present a solution, and see if the prospect is more ‘loss-averse’ than ‘gain-interested’!

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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5 Qualities Of New Salespeople That Will Make Them Valuable In Double-Quick Time

We often see people who are new in sales on our programmes, some of whom having even started selling yet.

They ask my trainers how they can quickly get up to speed and get results. We offer some suggestions and recommendations, but essentially it’s the individual themselves who are in charge of how they develop. My top trainers have given me their advice on how new salespeople can increase their value to clients in double-quick time.

1. Become Insanely Curious About How Customers Measure Success

Too often, new salespeople put the emphasis on product knowledge and service deliverables. But most customers aren’t really interested in the products and services – they’re more concerned about the results you can provide for them.

So, becoming deeply curious about how companies measure success will encourage new salespeople to approach prospects with a suite of quality questions that will get them concentrating on what’s needed to improve results. That mindset will always deliver because customers want to talk about their business.

2. Develop Active Listening Skills

Two ears and one mouth, used in that ratio, will always support the building of knowledge. As the saying goes, ‘You never learn anything when you’re talking; you only learn when you’re actively listening.’

It’s true. By listening attentively and intently to what others are saying, you increase your awareness of what the client wants and needs. It stops you from jumping ahead and making assumptions about what is required.

3. Follow Quality Thought-Leaders

Learning from the masters will be something that keeps new salespeople in good stead for a long time. For example, LinkedIn Pulse has many leaders and captains of industry who offer excellent advice freely and openly. By reading how these well-respected leaders are changing businesses and making their presence felt in many areas, new salespeople get to see perspectives they wouldn’t be exposed to if they just rely on their own knowledge and experience.

4. Learn From Every Opportunity

The great salespeople always treat triumph and disaster in exactly the same way; as learning opportunities.

If things don’t go according to plan, new salespeople need to analyse what went right so it can be repeated, and what went wrong so it can be learned from.

By learning lessons, you realise what needs to change, how things need to be improved and where changes can assist in their learning and development. Having the mind open enough to accept learning opportunities will always create new viewpoints so improvements can be assimilated and enjoyed.

5. Organise For Results Not Activities

This is a good tip, as it helps new salespeople to concentrate on achievements so they can see what activities work effectively, rather than the other way round.

Organisation includes things like professional prospecting systems being in place, managing account activity in a way that drives results, and planning their field time in such a way that encourages efficiencies along with effectiveness.

By organising with results in mind, new salespeople will start to see what works and what doesn’t, allowing them to choose specifically what they should spend their valuable time on.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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Mastering The Art Of Knowing Exactly What The Customer Wants

What do you consider to be the greatest skill that any salesperson should develop to the level of excellence?

Presentation skills?

The ability to negotiate effectively?

Prospecting skills?

Although all these are definitely important, the key skill that salespeople always need to develop is the art of active listening. It really does set the average apart from the excellent.

But many salespeople listen with the intent just to find out information so they can present the main benefits of their product to the buyer. This, though, may only take you on part of the journey. In order to go the full distance, you need to recognise and critique exactly what the customer is saying and meaning.

To critique means to analyse, assess or evaluate. After the customer has spoken, take a moment to review exactly the point they have just made. Most comments can come under three main headings; opinion, experience or facts.

Firstly, opinion. They may say something like “I believe that if we….” Or “I may be wrong, but I think….”

Identify if the idea or personal opinion is simply that; an opinion. If it is, you can enquire how that idea is supported or in what direction it will take you both.

Of course, opinions matter, and we need to create a safe environment for buyers to express them. But you can also add further ideas by asking “what if….?” or “what else….?”. What you’re trying to do is identify if their opinion is factual or just a personal viewpoint based on a possible misjudgement or hearsay. If they have followed others views to get that opinion, you might find out where it originated.

I find saying something like “That’s interesting…tell me more….” gets them to open up about the subject and helps you to clarify their viewpoint. Remember, their view may be based on misconceptions or things they have heard on the grapevine.

Secondly, what they say may come from experience, as in “when we tried…..we found that…..”

Past experiences can give you valuable learning that can help prevent future costly mistakes. You can get useful lessons from past experiences that prove helpful and constructive in making decisions. However, we have to make sure that we are comparing apples with apples here. Failing to realise that different contexts can lead to different results often leads us down a path to incorrect conclusions.

Experience only is useful if we gain wisdom from it. If the knowledge and understanding we gain cannot be replicated, then it may also copy the wrong directions. So, notice if the buyer is comparing the correct background with current situations, and identify if the ideas they gained actually fit into the current picture. If not, your critique could help you to show that their experience may be out-of-date or incorrectly applied.

Third, there’s facts. Usually attributable to market facts or product information, and come in comments like “We have sold 14% more this year than last” or “Our margins have dropped by 5% over the last 6 months.”

This information helps us to reduce uncertainty and decreases risk, as it helps us to build specific journeys on the path to solving problems. But if the data is incorrect, too generic or not comparable, then it can lead us down the wrong path and lead to poor decision-making. By analysing the figures the customer is giving you, you can re-assure yourself you are talking real facts and not just ideas that are based on incorrect knowledge.

By ascertaining if the customer is detailing opinions, experience or specific facts, you are able to critique the feedback much more effectively and identify the journey you can then take with the conversation. This proves you have been actively listening and not just taking what they say at face value.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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Use These DVP’s To Blow Your Prospect Away

When salespeople approach new or existing clients, there is always a form of anticipation, as they wonder how their ideas, products, services and offerings will be accepted by the potential buyer.

On occasions, we see them very well-prepared, identifying goals and objectives before making the call, eyeing up opportunities that might present themselves. At other times, it seems like there’s little preparation, with their confidence bourn on the memory of the product presentations they have given a thousand times.

Having spent time on many sales calls, it has occurred to me there are three components that make up the excellent presentation, and it boils down to being different in some way from the masses of other salespeople who may be touting competitive products.

It’s too simplistic, of course, to suggest that total success comes from just three components, but if you get these right, they offer a much better chance of getting good results.

I call them the DVP’s.

The initials stand for your Differentiating Value Proposition.

Firstly, what does differentiating mean? Well, words that come to mind include Distinguishing, Separating, Setting apart, Becoming Specialised.

This gives the image of being standing out from the crowd, making an impression because of being different. We’ve often said that you don’t always have to be better; but you do have to be different.

Being different means that you’re noticed. Too many pitches blend together in a quagmire of mediocrity, so the one that stands out is the one that stands out.

Our brains have something called a reticular activating system, and it comes alive when it notices something different from the norm. If your presentation is simply a regurgitation of the same-old-same-old, features and benefits, then it simply won’t grab the attention and build desire.

Try differentiating yourself through the way you approach the client, how you present solutions, how your solution will make the customer’s business better, more streamlined, more profitable. If you’re able to stand out, you give yourself a better chance of making an impression.

Next is Value. Of course, this means different things to different people, but the usual meanings include things like giving a Satisfactory Return on Investment, The worth, importance or usefulness to someone, or the perception of something’s worth based on interpretation

Value is personal, so try not to generalise how valuable your products might be. Discuss results you have achieved for others, but don’t over-exaggerate the possible results, as this will fall flat if the prospect doesn’t see those results as valuable to them.

Finally, we need to think about the Proposition. This is an idea for consideration, or an agreement based on opinion or judgement.

It must be personalised and specific for the client and their business. A jaded looking document or one that just “bigs-up” your company won’t cut the mustard. It has to be concentrating on the results the client’s business will get. Without that specificity and close attention to personal detail, it will appear to be just another proposal to be added to the pile.

Think seriously how you can differentiate your offerings, so that when you propose the value they will receive, it will make you stand out from the average crowd.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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6 Buyer Tactics That Will Slash Your Margins

We often talk about the selling skills required to deal with today’s complex and competitive market place.

Those skills normally revolve around the abilities of salespeople to achieve specific sales objectives and deal with objections or negotiate a better deal.

However, we seldom look from the perspective of the training that buyers receive and the tactics that they may use to get what they want,  specific sales objectives and deal with objections or negotiate a better deal.

However, we seldom look from the perspective of the training that buyers receive and the tactics that they may use to get what they want.

Yes, buyers are being taught just like you how to get better deals and what to do to increase their margins.

So, let’s discuss some of the ideas out there that buyers try out with you.

Even though they might want to do business with you, this doesn’t stop them wanting the best deal.

When you identify some of the tactics they may use, you can look out for them and ensure you get a win/win outcome.

Here are some of the tactics buyers may use:

Buyers Prepare Too!

Yes, strange as it may seem, buyers actually prime and organise themselves for the sales process.

This may mean they know which techniques you’re going to use and may match them. They may be trained in negotiation skills as they are buying every day.

Their experience may throw you off centre when you are trying to close. So don’t underestimate the power of a negotiating buyer!

They Never Let You Know If You’re Winning Or Losing

This is so they can put pressure on you to discount or to improve your terms and conditions.

Even if they want your product like a thirsty man needs water, they may still hold out for that better price, or free delivery or better payment terms.

They also don’t want you to walk away from the proceedings, so they can keep your competitive quote high on their list of bargaining tools with others. This brings us onto:

They Want A Number Of Supplier Quotes

The goal here is to keep as many competitive offers on the table as is practical, so they can ensure they have the best deal for themselves. Many buyers will get at least three competitors bargaining against each other, just to ensure they are achieving the best terms.

They Negotiate In Reverse Order

Some buyers are taught the tactic of negotiating with the least-favoured supplier first. Let’s say the company Is buyer new photocopiers. They’ll go to the supplier in last position and talk about a deal. Then they’ll take these figures to the next supplier and negotiate on those terms. They’ll continue to do this until they get to their favoured supplier. By this time they have the power to knock this supplier down to the lowest price or the most favoured terms to the buyer, and because they have written quotes, the favoured supplier feels under pressure to match or beat the terms.

They Will Take The Deal Away From You

This s a classic technique that puts undue pressure on the supplier. It goes something like “I know we’ve been dealing with you for some time, but budget cuts mean I have to go with a cheaper supplier. Sorry!” Because you have invested so much in the client up to this point, you try to find out what the budget is and match that because you don’t want to lose the business. Suddenly, you’re back in the game again, and the buyer has got what he wants (your products and services) at a better price.

The Buyer Knows Your Time Constraints

The best buyers know the deadlines you are working to. If you’re running a campaign, they know you need to close at the end of the week or month or quarter. They know if they can hold out until the deadline approaches, they have a greater bargaining power. Remember, if you’re above your target, you have the power to walk away from this deal, but if the buyer has this knowledge then they have the power to achieve a better deal from you.

Not all buyers, of course, will use techniques like these to make your job harder than it already is.

Just be aware that many have been trained to do so.

Be aware of what is going on and you won’t find yourself making deals that you may regret later on!

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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The 6 Main Components That Create Sales Excellence

Excellence is a word that is bandied about so much these days that it can often lose its meaning or its differentiation.

The dictionary defines it as ‘being exceptional, being superior in some way, achieving extreme merit, preeminence or distinction’.

When we use the term, we commonly confuse it with something that is just better or an improvement of some sort.

However, for something or someone to be given the accolade of ‘excellence’, we have to be more than just better; we need to identify the qualities that deserve the term, or we are in danger of diminishing the stand-out qualities that are required to receive the honour.

To achieve excellence in sales, we need to lay the foundations that support and enable the results we need to achieve.

Here, we discuss just six key components that create excellence in salespeople and make them stand out from the crowd.

The first three are classed as intrapersonal skills (internally-focussed) and the others are interpersonal (externally-focussed). Each one will assist in the development of quality and stature.

Develop A Full Range Of Skills & Attributes

The top salespeople we have encountered take their own personal development very seriously. They create and implement a development plan for themselves that include seeking out training and coaching opportunities, reading, listening to and watching subject matter experts, update their product knowledge, develop their industry knowledge and plan their career progression in such a way that it enhances opportunities at every step.

Also, they see how new technologies their own company and competitors are producing add value to the industry, learning how these advancements affect and add value from their customers’ perspectives.

Accept Change As The Norm & Embrace It For Progressing Salesmanship

Great value-creators recognise that they must build a clear and flexible path through the changes their customers and industry must go through. They understand that their products and services must be instrumental in driving those changes. This requires the mindset to be adaptable to whatever circumstances the customer may throw at them.

Become Future-Focussed

The high-quality salesperson will recognise the lessons that past teaches, grab hold of the opportunities the present offers and develop the foresight to apply those learnings to the future. In other words, they see the only thing they really have control over are those future opportunities.

By recognising the future is a blank slate ready to be written upon, the great salesperson doesn’t harbour resentment over what has occurred, but treats it as a school to learn how to build resilience and elasticity in their future plans.

Understand The Customer’s Business As Well As The Customer Does

Yes, it takes time, diligence, effort and guile, but it differentiates the haves from the have-nots in terms of knowledge and partnership abilities. Treating your customer’s business like your own means you build trust, and with that comes the openness and exposure that allows you access to the inner sanctum. By having the attitude of curiosity, great salespeople build reasons for customers to develop close business relationships with them, hence reducing the emphasis on price that might let in competitive offerings.

Be Passionate About Service & Business Results

Passion is a chosen response when you feel enthusiastic and engaged with a project or task. Great salespeople choose this emotion wisely and use it to drive their actions and responses.

Having a passion for something engages you like nothing else does. Without it, you lack the inspiration or drive to concentrate on excellence or quality responses. Having passion separates you from the masses who allow the ‘that’ll-do’ attitude to affect their diligence. Having passion for business results helps you build value in the customer’s eyes as they recognise the impact your intensity and desire for improvement has on their business

Build Relationships Throughout The Customer’s Business

High-quality salespeople recognise the value of building many strong relationships throughout their accounts. This allows them to build business acumen and confidence when dealing with various people at differing levels. They see the value of discussing financials with the accounts team, talking strategies with the sales management team and highlighting technological advancements with the product-development team.

This allows a clear understanding of the shared needs and unique concerns of each component that makes up the customer’s decision-making teams, and allows trust to be engendered throughout the purchase experience.

Each of these components need to synergise together to create an overall impression of professionalism so that the salesperson is seen as a major asset to the customer’s business rather than just another supplier who blends in with the competition.

It takes time to determine which of these components are best developed and utilised with every account; but they offer a differential that will set you apart in many customer’s eyes as someone who is indispensable to their future journey.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

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The Sales System That GUARANTEES Quality Customer Responses

We’ve always been told that questions are the holy grail of the salesperson’s quest to achieve results, as they uncover valuable nuggets of information that may be hidden in a customer’s mental vault.

When we ask salespeople how they prepare their question bank for a sales meeting, it’s fairly obvious that this isn’t something that comes naturally.

We’re not talking about scripting the meeting, because that doesn’t allow for spontaneity or for diversity when the conversation goes a little off piste.

What we’re referring to is how the salesperson structures their questioning system, so they can follow a robust pattern that gets to the heart of the customer’s concerns and challenges.

Having this kind of system helps develop and acquire the knowledge required to build up value in your products and how they relate to the customer’s business.

To start with, the system looks at questions that uncover data and facts. Naturally, you will have completed your research so that you can get beyond the bare facts; here, we’re referring to the reasons why the data and information you have gleaned actually came about.

It would sound something like, “I see you turned over £xxx last year…..was this in accordance with expectations?’ or ‘When you said profitability was down, by exactly how much did it decrease?’

This gets you the essential information to develop the conversation.

Next, we look at the implications of those results and, accordingly, what actions the customer will need to take now. It uncovers the actions that need to be taken and the likely consequences and effects of those actions.

It would sound something like, ‘What have you tried so far to turn things around?’ or ‘What results do you hope to achieve when this is sorted?’

Following on, we look at the impacts and implications of the changes they need to employ to change matters. This gets to the reasons why the changes are necessary in the customer’s mind.

It would sound something like, ‘What would happen if….?’ or ‘What will be the relationship between…..?’

The most high-impact questions get to the core of the issues the customer’s business is facing. They identify what the end-results of the changes they are planning would be, determine the real challenges to those changes and help you create opportunities that might be fulfilled with your solutions.

It would sound something like, ‘What opportunities would this allow you to pursue?’ or ‘When you implement these changes, how do you see your results changing?’

As we said, the quality of your questions will determine the quality of the responses, so you need to design a system that allows you and your customer to develop harmony in your approach, seeking to find answers to their most pressing challenges and opening up opportunities for you to build solutions together that will bring better results with you than without you.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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6 Actions You MUST Take After Your Sales Presentations

I remember meeting a salesperson in my office who presented me with a product that would hopefully deal with some challenges we were having at the time.

The product was quicker, more efficient and easier to use than our current product. It was more expensive and would have meant us getting other quotes in, but all-in-all it would do the job.

The salesman went through his presentation, showed me the benefits and build a good platform for me to make my decision. I said that we were going to get some more quotes and that I would think about it.

He left and I never heard from him again.

It’s not he only time that salespeople have puzzled me with their poor salesmanship and professionalism.

Would we have bought if he had followed-up? Probably yes, because what we bought was specifically more expensive than his offer.

So, what should he have done? What should happen immediately following a presentation that will convince the prospect that you can offer benefits that will outweigh their challenges?

Here are six suggestions:

Get Immediate Feedback 

This allows you to get critical and constructive feedback immediately about the decision-maker’s state of mind following your presentation. They may not always be truly honest, as they haven’t had time to digest and assimilate your offer yet. But it gives you a chance to see if there are any immediate concerns or questions still lingering.

If they reply with a hesitant ‘yes, it was fine’, but with no eye contact and some negative body language, then you know you may need to ask one or two follow-up questions to determine their real emotional response.

Follow-Up Quickly

Decision-makers often judge the accountability of salespeople by the speed of the follow-up of promises. Great salespeople differentiate themselves from competitive presentations by writing personal notes to each stakeholder, thanking them for their time and attention. It just adds that personal touch that might make you stand out from the crowd. Whatever you do, ensure you keep your promises.

Keep Pertinent Records

This means documenting what’s been said, what you did, what actions need to be taken and how you are going to follow up. If appropriate, you could send a summary to each participant, so they have a record of what was discussed and any actions needed to be taken.

Send Additional Info To Add Value

Imagine if you had received a presentation from a salesperson, then a day or two later they followed up with a valuable and informative article on the systems they had presented, white papers that identify results others have achieved and some interesting industry information you hadn’t seen before. How would you view the diligence and helpfulness of that salesperson?

If it’s practical, make sure you build your reputation as a consultant, adding meaning to each individual who you presented to, so they see reasons why your offer increases its value in their eyes.

Assess How It All Went

Did you achieve your goals? Were the customer’s goals dealt with by way of your presentation? What did you learn if the presentation didn’t hit the mark?

By asking and answering questions relating to the success of the presentation, you build awareness of any changes that need to be made for future demonstrations of your products and services

Plan For The Next Steps In The Process

What needs to happen next for you to progress this possibility? Think short and long-term. If it was successful, what has to happen for you to ensure your promises made in the presentation are kept?

If it wasn’t, what can you learn so that future demonstrations are better suited to the customer’s needs?

Each one of these steps will help you progress and improve when you present solutions to prospects. Also, you’ll set yourself apart from your competition who may simply rely on price or product quality to sell for them.

You’ll look more professional and give prospects good reasons to choose your solution because of the trust and reliability you have shown even before they have bought from you.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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