There is no finer talent for a business owner to possess than the skill of making a sale. As the business grows you may decide to outsource the sales function but at the beginning, making a sale is on your ‘to do' list. Here are six simple steps that will turn prospects into clients and leads into revenue.
1. Listen - the King of the Jungle and the first rule in the sales book. Start the meeting with light banter but as soon as you can, encourage your potential client to talk. Ask questions. Then ask more questions. Listen as if listening was going out of fashion. The more you know about your potential client, the more you'll know about their needs and how your product/service can help. Only once you understand their position are you ready to talk about what you do.
2. Mirror - not in movement, but in manner. I'm not suggesting you copy the other person's every move (this can seem contrived), it's more a case of taking into account their manner and reflecting this in your own. If the person you're meeting is softly spoken, best not to shout. If they are gregarious, let your own personality shine.
3. Affirm - play back what your potential client has said. This will ensure you have properly understood their needs and will demonstrate that you have listened.
4. Confirm - with a clear understanding of requirements, confirm how you are able to help. Do this with clarity and confidence. Show how your offer will plug gaps, deliver return and meet objectives.
5. Depart - if the client is happy with what you're suggesting and signs up to a sale, then bring the meeting to an end. Resist the temptation to outstay your welcome!
6. Deliver - now it's time to deliver on what's been promised. Send a courtesy note to thank the new client for their time, confirm in writing what was agreed and start work.
With a solid first contract under your belt, there will be time to develop the relationship; building chemistry and finding common connections. This will encourage customer loyalty and you'll ideally be in the position of never having to feel like you're ‘selling' to that client again!
Source: Emma Jones on Small Business Blog From Microsoft.
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation [www.enterprisenation.com] and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up - how to start a business from home'