Taking a lead from introduction to closing, isn’t what it used to be. Every customer’s journey is different and in sales you have to be flexible to meet their needs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, there are certain skills and techniques you can implement that will nurture the relationship and increase the likelihood of making the sale.
- Do Your Research – Before you get started, get to studying. You’ll want to find out as much as you can about the potential customer. Visit their website, check out their social media, read some of the latest industry news. The more knowledgeable you are, the more you can customize your presentation and the stronger sales person you will be.
- Be Hands-On – A great deal of the buyer’s journey will be online. By the time they are contacting a company, chances are they’ve already done their fair share of investigating. What can you give them that they haven’t already seen or heard? A personal hands-on experience makes a difference, especially in the concession industry. When they try the equipment and taste test the foods, all of their senses are involved. You want to give them that connection.
- Ask for Next Steps – Don’t just say, “I’ll follow up with you.” You want to gauge the other party’s interest. Ask, “From your perspective, what are our next steps?” Find out what they need from you to make the purchasing decision. Get a sense of their timeframe. This shows that you are truly working for them.
- Don’t Pitch Prematurely – It’s a classic mistake. A sales person gets excited and goes for the close too soon. That’s a major turn off to prospective buyers. Instead, focus on asking questions. Find out what the person’s objectives are. Be curious about their business. These answers are the facts you will use to fuel your eventual proposal.
- Stop Selling Price – It’s the most common negotiating point… and it’s also the most disputable. But focusing on price essentially shows that you believe all other factors are irrelevant. The customer will view you as equal to the competition. Your job is to demonstrate that your quality, service, etc. are superior. With strong selling points, effectively communicated, you won’t be stuck playing an endless pricing game.
- Testimonials/Storytelling – One of the most valuable assets you can have is testimonials or stories from customers. Make sure you have details about what circumstances they encountered and how you were able to help them. And if they are willing to be a reference, that strengthens your reputation even more.
- Be a Resource – Once again, this focuses on the importance of research. Give potential customers something of value. It can be a link to an article or video that relates to their industry. You have made a point of contact with them that can be followed up on later. For example, share blog posts related to different aspects of the concession industry.
- Follow-Up – According to Inc. Magazine, the majority of sales are made during the fifth to twelfth contact. This means that you have to commit to a series of purposeful touch points. More importantly, if you receive a voice mail or email from a prospect, follow up immediately. Responsiveness translates to converted sales.
Adapting your approach is a simple and effective way that not only leads to sales, but to the kinds of relationships that promote customer longevity. It’s worth the effort!