-Taken from the book, The Startup’s Guide to Sales by Roshan Louis Joseph and Ram Mohan Menon
The first time you see the customer’s face, there is every possibility that he does not like what he sees. This is why a lot of work has gone in to ensure there is no apparent reason for a shallow rejection: the salesperson is well dressed, preferably in uniform. The hair is well combed and there are no offensive odours either.
Tip 1: The Greeting
There is a good amount of sales literature, which suggests that the greeting must be precise, happy and engaging. Even a ‘good morning’ can be said with feeling. The salutation has to be followed by a short capability statement. This effort to let the customer know which company is being represented and what is the business they are in can go something like this:
I am Ajoy, from B-More Consulting.
We are in the business of developing sales performance, installing effective sales teams and sales systems.
Tip 2: Don't get right to the business!
What do you say after ‘Hello’?
Here is the tricky part. This is where the salesperson has to take charge. Sales experts recommend that the initial conversation should be ‘off syllabus’. In other words, don’t get right into business. Start a conversation that would be in the interest of the customer. This could be about sports, world news or anything of general interest. You would avoid refocusing the customer’s mind to what is of interest to you.
The topics must be of some interest to the customer. If you know he is a Chelsea fan, you might want to ask his views on how Chelsea was doing that football season. That would set him off talking. When he’s finished, the time is right to get down to the work at hand.
stepping into the customer’s office, plan your approach. Think of topics that you could take up. Look around and see if there is anything that could start a conversation. Go over the purpose of your visit. Keep a Plan A and a Plan B, in case there is something unpredictable that may happen.
Tip 3: Positive Contact, Each and Every Time
A question often put is that while positive contact is necessary, is it required to keep using the positive contact, each time that the customer is being contacted. There should be no difference between the first-time call and the regular call. In fact, the more grave danger is when one imagines there is no need to be so ‘formal’ and things, get lost all of a sudden.
It is vital that every customer call starts with the effort to put the customer in the right mood to discuss the business for which he is being visited.
Tip 4: Don't be pushy!
Despite all your best efforts at creating a positive mood, the customer appears sullen, pre-occupied, addressing phone calls and even goes out to confer with colleagues. It surely does not seem like a good day to make the call. What is the best course of action?
To carry on regardless is merely completing the action for statutory purposes. Perhaps, seeking another date might be a better strategy. Another time, another day will only improve the chances of cracking the order. When the customer is not in the mood, don’t push it.
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