Be nice. Always, always, always be nice.
It is a strange advice to see in a book that teaches you to sell, but not as strange as it appears. Most of the best sales people I know are extremely nice people.
It’s not your words that sell. It’s your preparation, your questions, your comprehension of the prospect’s problems, and your actions to solve them. Yes, you need to talk about the product and talk about their business, but you have to do it in a comfortable way.
Most of our sales successes have been due to the comprehension of the prospect’s problems and some knowledge of how others solved them. Somewhere in that process, our product might have been involved. One of the advantages you have, as a sales person listening to lots of questions and problems from potential customers is that you become a kind of Information Hub. That puts you in a consultative role. That is always a good starting point and a way to build a rapport with customers.
unless they have a problem equivalent to their house on fire and you are the fire department, insurance company, and grief counselor combined, you both know that you won’t be doing business together, because that’s how things work.
When customers have urgent pressing problems and they think that you may have a possible solution, they will give you a lot of their time. They will somehow find you.
I absolutely, positively recommend choosing 2-3 media platforms and becoming active. Personally, I use our company blog, a personal blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The blogs enable me to share perspectives and industry expertise in detail, while Twitter and LinkedIn allow for sharing these posts and for daily interactions with customers.
I think this is a great idea and can relate to it. Several of my fellow entrepreneurs do that as well.
You need to give them a reason to take your calls, return your calls, or spend five minutes with you when they do answer the phone.
This will be very difficult initially. But if you provide value in every interaction with the customer, it gets easier.
As you are calling each of your prospects and inbound leads, white papers are effective because they show that you are serious about the industry and that you are participating with thoughtful contributions.
We did not do this well at all. But I have seen how some companies like Hubspot do such a good job.
Know your industry-specific news sites. These industry news sites give you plenty of reasons to call a lead or a prospect to ask them how a particular happening affects their business.
A bit of shameless plug. If you want to know how to discover news and send them to your customers or use them as conversation starters, we can certainly help.
The process of migrating a ‘user’ to a ‘customer’ will reveal the answers to several vital questions about your business and its viability.
If you are a startup in the early customer development phase, this is invaluable. Even as you grow, this process can keep you well rooted.
Startup Selling: How to sell if you really, really have to and don’t know how by Sambucci, Scott is really a book worth reading. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I think I will go back and reread parts of it later. Thanks to Sid for suggesting it.