A couple were being interviewed on their Golden Wedding Anniversary. “In all that time – did you ever consider divorce?” they were asked. “Oh, no, not divorce,” one said. “Murder sometimes, but never divorce.”
It’s a safe bet you know all the advantages of your product or service. But it isn’t product advantages that close the deal – it’s customer satisfaction. Product advantages don’t mean a thing unless and until your prospects visualise what the products mean to them personally. The more you appreciate this fact, and the more firmly you keep it in mind, the more effective your sales presentation will become. Talking in terms of product advantages is like trying to sell a man a sports jacket without letting him try it on. He simply isn’t going to buy it until he puts it on and looks in a mirror. Then he can see what the jacket does for him and generate a real desire to own it.
Translating product advantages into customer satisfaction isn’t difficult. It’s merely a matter of customising your approach, of presenting your product or service in terms of the desires and satisfaction of this particular prospect. Yet it’s amazing how many salespeople are content to generalise. They talk endlessly about what a wonderful sports coat they offer, but neglect to have the prospect put it on.
The most important thing you can do to close any sale is to paint the prospect a vivid, realistic picture of future satisfaction – so vivid and appealing that he or she can’t wait to grab your pen and sign the order. That’s what selling is all about. People don’t buy product or services – they buy the expected satisfaction of using and owning them. Paint a picture of each prospect’s satisfaction at the start of your presentation and keep it up till the order is signed. Don’t talk in terms of product advantages, talk in terms of future satisfaction – until your prospect can see it, feel it, and taste it.
To believe with certainty, we must begin with doubting.
Ever come across an article about your product or a similar product in a trade journal or newspaper? Cut it out, have it laminated with plastic, and carry it with you to show to prospects or clients. If the article talks about the product in positive terms, it will help reinforce your sales presentations. If it points out negative aspects as well, use it to show how your product differs or how the product has been changed to eliminate those problem areas. If you want to include copies of the article with the literature you give to clients, write to the publisher and ask for reprints of the article. They’re often printed with the masthead of the publication across the top and make impressive pieces to leave behind.
Scientists estimate that the average person’s impression of the world is 87 percent visual. Hearing, taste, touch and smell make up the other 13 percent. What this means is that salespeople can’t afford to concentrate solely on the verbal aspects of their presentations. If they do, they won’t be making the most of their product or service.
It’s not the words alone, but the total picture you and your company present to a prospect that counts. This includes the attitudes, actions, and visual impressions made by everyone who contacts the prospect. Take the way you handle your product, for example. If you take worn, dusty samples out of an old battered sample case and dump them casually in front of prospect, what kind of impression are you making? Obviously the prospect won’t think much of your wares if you treat them with disrespect. On the other hand, if you treat your company’s products as if they had great value, you’re more likely to instil that feeling in the prospect.
Everything the prospects “see” has a tremendous effect on them, consciously or unconsciously. This includes your appearance, the quality of your presentation materials, your briefcase, the pen you give them to sign the order with, and the cleanliness of your car when you take them for a ride, the smile or the frown on your face. The top salespeople in every field take pride in their products, their company, and themselves. And they reflect this pride in everything they do, visually as well as verbally.
They also do everything they can to show prospects the benefits they can expect from using their products. The salespeople know that words are not enough. If you want your customers to think your products and services are valuable, you have to treat them that way, every chance you get. Don’t think people don’t notice these things. They do. And it will make a difference.
Most people don’t plan to fail – they fail to plan.
The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.
A famous teacher once said that if he saw a pupil in despair over his work he always gave him a higher mark than he deserved. The following week the student always made a higher mark himself.
In a poem “Ode to Retirement” by Len Ingebrigtsen, is this line: “The reason I know my youth is spent? My get and go and got up and went.”
Franklin Roosevelt started his career as a lawyer in New York. One of the first cases he was retained to represent was a particularly difficult civil suit. The opposing lawyer, a notable orator, did well in his pleadings before the jury. However, he made one big mistake: he talked on for hours.
Roosevelt, noticing the inattention of the jury, decided his strategy. When his tun came to sum up his client’s side of the case, he merely said: “Gentlemen, you have heard the evidence. You have also listened to my distinguished colleague, a brilliant orator. If you believe him and disbelieve the evidence, you will have to decide in his favour. That’s all I have to say.”
Within five minutes the jury returned. It had ruled in favour of Roosevelt’s client.
Somebody asked the owner of a small country store why he didn’t advertise. “Oh, I tried it once,” he replied, “but people came from all over and bought nearly all the bloody stuff I had.”
A leading business authority makes an interesting distinction between those in an organisation who have power and those who have authority.
Power, he says, is something earned, a sharpening of abilities and talents within the individual, generally over a long period of time. Authority, on the other hand, is something which is conferred on an individual. It usually accompanies a certain job level or position and can be withdrawn at any time. Not so with power. It is something you “give” yourself by making the most of your talents and abilities. Only you, therefore, can deny it. Authority, concludes this expert, is always insecure unless it is based on a real and positive power, that is, on ability.
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers – Voltaire.