Published on July 20th, 20150
6 ways to make a sale
Making a sale is not difficult if you follow certain rules and have good people skills. Follow these 6 steps.
by The Editors | firstname.lastname@example.org
The first time you are called upon to sell a product or a service is surely the most daunting one. It is often said that marketing and sales requires a certain kind of work ethic and mindset – either you have them or you don’t. It is a difficult niche to crack in any business, and it requires perseverance and a never-say-die attitude.
However, though most of us are not natural salespeople, there may be a point in our professional lives when we may have to try and sell an idea, a product or a service. It is wise to hire a professional to do this task for you if you are not up to it, however, in the absence of outside help, you may have to do it yourself. Though initially difficult, you can soon get the hang of the process if you follow a few ground rules:
1. Do your research. Find out all you can about the person or business you are approaching with your sales pitch. You must know how big their company is, what are the goods and services they deal with, and the projects they normally associate with. Then step back and analyse what you are trying to offer that company or individual. Ask yourself: if I was in their place, would I be interested in associating with this idea? After doing this, find out the details of the person you will be meeting at that company, and make sure to get his or her name right.
2. Prepare a good presentation. This is a tricky one, and your final product will depend largely on how the company prefers to get information. Find out if the company only looks at PowerPoint presentations, or if they are open to reading information from a compiled document as you speak. Some offices ask for audio-visual presentations, so you can make a short creative film to get your point across. The essential thing is to gather and put together all the relevant data in one file or dossier so that the company has all the information it needs in one place. Then you can think of presenting it cleanly and in a way that gets their interest.
3. Be on time for meetings. A sales job requires you to travel to several offices, so you will have to master the knack of winding up earlier meetings and reaching the next one right on time. It is tacky to reach a meeting late, especially if you have requested it. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, like an accident or a terror attack or a transport strike, you have no good excuse to be late for a meeting. When you walk in, make sure you are not sweaty and your face is fresh. Keep a sanitiser in your bag because you will need to shake hands before the meeting starts, and nobody wants to shake an unclean hand.
4. Be polite, firm and confident. Your manner while speaking to a potential client goes a long way in cementing the deal. When making your presentation, be polite, put your point across with as little speech as possible, invite the client to ask as many questions as they want to, and field each query with confidence. Do not ever use the phrase “I am not sure of this” or “I have not thought of the point you are raising” because it just tells the client that your concept and pitch is half-baked. Take some time to rehearse your pitch at home, or hold a mock presentation for your boss or staff and invite suggestions. The better you perfect this step, the more effective your presentation will be.
5. Be consistent, not persistent. You should have enough acumen to gauge in the first meeting if the client is interested in pursuing the idea further or not. You have to set the bar on how much room for negotiation you will allow, and stick to it. When you sense that the company is open to discussing further, set a date for the next meeting at once. Ideally, ask for a meeting not later than three days after the last one, so that the client does not lose interest in the project. When you ask for follow up meetings or make a telephone call to find out what the company is deliberating, don’t grovel or plead to be considered. Also, don’t hound them with emails and calls every single day. Allow them time to revert to you.
6. Be prepared for a long slog. Making a sale is not easy for one primary reason: you are asking an individual or corporation to part with money. Any monetary decision, big or small, takes time to reach a successful conclusion. Be patient and prepared to have a series of meetings to try and convince them that they will gain from associating with you. If it is your first project, be prepared to slash your prices drastically. You might even face a situation where the deal is struck off at the last minute. Don’t take it personally; they are not rejecting you, they simply don’t see the merit of your idea or probably don’t have the wherewithal to come on board. You can approach them with another pitch in the future.