I met with a prospect not long ago and we spoke at length about his concerns and how he needed his salespeople to move away from the status quo and start bringing in more sales. Without that happening, he may have to make redundancies.
After discussing what we could do to assist him, he asked a question that is subliminally being asked by every buyer we meet; that is, “How can you justify the value you say you offer?”
It’s a very good question, the answer to which can make or break a sale.
The prospect basically wants you to prove that what you are offering will bring a better return on his investment than someone else doing the job or not doing anything at all.
So, it’s always good to have a plan on how you can justify the investment the prospect will be making. And the best way to do this is to ensure the prospect owns it – that is, he or she perceives the value through their own eyes rather than yours. Of course, your product is the best thing on the planet, knocking the competition sideways but if the customer doesn’t believe that, then it isn’t. Period. Sorry.
Ask yourself these five questions before you discuss justifying the value of your offering:
1) Which parts of the buyer’s business will be affected, impacted and measured by using your products?
2) Who is the main stakeholder in the department(s) that will be most affected by your services?
3) What will be the impact of your solution and over what time period?
4) What back-up facilities will be needed that you can provide?
5) How quickly will the investment be covered and how soon will they actually make money on what you are selling?
These can then be broken down so the buyer sees the value in the areas that are most important to them. For example, the parts of the buyer’s business that might be affected could include profits, reduction in costs, increased revenues, cost-avoidance, intangible benefits, etc.
The importance of involving the affected stakeholder in the decision-making process will be obvious when you discuss what the returns will be, using their figures not yours.
You should be able to prove the figures you quote from case studies or experiences that can be proved. Also, analyse over what time period the buyer will be looking at to gain a clearer picture of when they wish to see the returns on their investment.
If your back-up services can justify the initial spend, then there will be specific items that will prove their worth in the long term.
Buyers want to know when the break-even/profitability point will be reached. This is when the cumulative total benefits, including the increase in revenues and the reduction in costs, exceed the cumulative investments made to gain and implement the products and services that you have offered.
When all of these elements have been assessed by the buyer and seen to be favourably in their advantage, you will be able to justify the initial investment, which now becomes less important than ever, because they see the value of your solution over the period of time that will mean so much to them.
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Getting a prospect to agree to an order does not have to be tricky. If you listen to what the prospect is saying there should be no problem in getting them to close the order. The prospect will always give signals and signs as a way of communication to what they are thinking. So how would you know this when doing a presentation?
The short video below will give you 15 ways to know when your prospect is ready to buy.
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Below are three clear and simple mistakes that sales people routinely make while prospecting. Prospecting mistakes are the most costly problems because most sales people and sales management never actually realise the full affect of prospecting errors.
What You Can Not See CAN Hurt YOU
The problem is that it is much easier to see and understand others selling issues that result in loses, such as closing mistakes, poor customer service issues, or losing sales to the competition. It is easy to spot lost sales opportunities.
However, it is far more difficult to recognise or quantify the lost in sales revenue when it comes to sales opportunities that NEVER developed in the first place, due to poor prospecting. So, please take these three prospecting mistakes to heart and avoid them at all costs because it is likely they are already costing you more money than you can imagine.
#3 – Failure to Get Referrals
Not getting enough referrals; especially getting referrals from the prospects that do not buy, is a killer. You must become and expert at getting referrals and if you are already good at this, then practice getting more.
#2 – Selling the Product or Service Prematurely
Prospecting is but a set in the sales process, and it is not the close. However, far too many sales people confuse prospecting with closing. In that I mean, when they should be qualifying the prospect, or identifying the decision maker ort just setting an appointment—they are trying to sell the product.
When a prospect objects to an appointment, you need to sell the appointment and not the product. Avoid falling into the trap of trying to sell your product or service during the prospecting stages.
#1 – Poor Record Keeping and Customers Relationships Management
The most costly prospect mistake is the lack of effective record keeping. Most sales people overlook the importance of keeping accurate sales-activity records. Prospects that slip through the cracks are often the difference between success and failure. Prospects you forgot to call, emails you failed to send or lost leads, are a fraction of what slips through your fingers. If you are using post-it notes, an A4 pad, memory or the back of a cigarette packet for prospecting, you are losing money!
Avoid these costly prospecting mistakes and keep your sales funnel fill.
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(Image by Digital Art)
LinkedIn is THE professional platform to be involved with, and if you are not on it by now then you really are missing out.
LinkedIn is full of opportunities for every executive, sales professional and business owner to generate leads for their business and engage with those all important decision makers – but how do you ensure that your LinkedIn account is a professional as you are?
Well, here are 5 top tips to take your LinkedIn account from office rookie to high-flying executive.
You need to think of your LinkedIn profile as being a 24 hour, worldwide advertisement for yourself and your company – so are you keeping it up to date? Having a 100% complete profile is a must if you want to use the LinkedIn platform to the best of its abilities, and it is so important to ensure that you regularly update your status updates and recommendations on the platform.
You need to look at your LinkedIn Profile as if you were a potential client who has never met you before and wants to know more about you – does your profile do you justice?
Time Is Money
What exactly are you hoping to get out of LinkedIn? Are you looking for a new career? Trying to build up your business connections and generate new leads? Or are you looking to position yourself as an industry expert and leading authority in your field?
You need to be clear about why you have chosen to use the platform to ensure that you are getting real value out of the time you spend on the site. So many LinkedIn users just waste their time on the platform, simple because they are not actively seeking a purpose – so ensure you know what you want out of your time and make the time you spend on the site count.
The Opportunities Are Endless
Every time you connect with a new person on LinkedIn, you immediately become connected to all of their contacts, so your network on the site is ever-growing. The key to getting the most out of your connections on the site is to not only network and engage within your own connections but to also seek out which of your connections contacts might be a valuable connection for you.
Take the time to assess your 2nd Degree connections – there might be some real VIPs right under your nose and you don’t want to miss out on getting that all important introduction to them as they could mean big opportunities for you and your company.
Don’t Be Selfish
When it comes down to it, LinkedIn is still a social networking site, so don’t be anti-social. You will not build your presence on the site by being selfish with your activity, so make sure you regularly contribute to other people’s discussions rather than just posting your own – and contribute something of real value, don’t just make everything you do on the site about self-promotion.
Do You Want To Be In My Gang?
The LinkedIn Groups are a great way to engage with and prospect for new leads, so why not consider starting a group of your own?
By creating a group closely related to your industry, you can immediately see who on LinkedIn is interested in the products and services you provide – think about it, they wouldn’t have joined your group if the first place if they weren’t! You don’t even have to go looking for new prospects, as they will come to you in the form of new group members.
You can then use your own group to network and engage with potential new clients, as well as sharing all of your great content with them and demonstrating to them why you would be a valuable connection for them to have.
Sales 2.0 and modern day selling are hot topics right now, as more and more sales professionals and business owners are seeing the benefits of applying these concepts within their day-to-day sales processes.
Social media and the internet have become big players in the business world, but few professionals really understand how to use these online tools to develop their sales techniques and generate qualified leads.
As many of you will know by now, MTD Sales Training’s MD Sean McPheat is at the forefront of the modern day selling revolution, and has written a bestselling book on the subject– entitled eselling® – which provides readers with a step by step guide on how to use social media and the internet to prospect, network and engage with the c-suite decision maker online.
In November of last year, Sean was invited to give a keynote presentation of the concept of eselling® to over 1,000 sales professionals from across Europe at the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management’s (ISMM) Successful Selling Conference at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.
The short video above is a quick excerpt from Sean’s presentation on modern day selling at the ISMM, which will give you a good overview of what eselling® is really about, and how you can put these techniques into practice within your business.
Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person: