Whilst chatting to a colleague today, we got to discussing some of the approaches used to Network and build a client base and this took me back to my early days of working in Training. Friends & Family & people I met would ask 'what is it you do?' to which I replied 'I'm a Trainer' - self explanatory I thought but no, their reply was often 'what, like a Personal Trainer?' or 'what kind of training?. So I rethought my response - 'I'm a Business Trainer' I started to reply!! ' So, what does that mean?' came their response!! It proved very frustrating trying to explain what I did - it was much easier when I was a Bank Manager!!!
So then I set up my own Training & Coaching Company and in researching how to get clients, I read enough articles that said - Network, Network, Network - and, thinking that - 'I'm not phased by talking to people' - just launched into it without any thought about techniques and a complete forgetfulness of what I had learnt previously!
My first attempt at a Networking Event involved me standing around firstly, then when I did manage to talk to someone I introduced myself as 'hi, I'm Nina and I'm a..........' - I may as well have been at an AA meeting!!!!
On reflection, I realised that all my approaches were in complete disparity to my experience & knowledge as a Sales Person, Manager and Trainer!!! If I am selling myself as a business, why was I not following my own simple steps to successful selling and practising what I preach - and once I did, success followed.
If you want to give yourself , or your teams, the best chance to 'get the sale', whether that be face to face, over the phone, through networking, business to business or direct to private customers , follow these simple steps:-
- Build rapport - talk about things other than your business/product - find the common ground & interests so that you can build trust
- Use positive body language (eye contact, firm handshake, open posture) and tone of voice (clear, confident, paced)
- Build a relationship - aim to develop a long term relationship rather than just sell as a one-off
- Don't offer products or talk about what you can do for them until you understand their needs
- Ask open and probing questions to help you understand about them as a person and also about their business if B2B - ie. what makes them tick, future goals, lifestyle, business plans , issues, successes etc
- Once you understand any needs, problems, fears, issues they have that you have a solution for - then you can offer a SOLUTION not a product!
- Give BENEFITS of your product matched to their needs not a list of features
- Be open to objections & handle confidently as these are buying signs
- Find the right CLOSE for you and your customer - but ASK for the business, confirm follow up dates, actions etc
Work on getting all these areas right and you will increase your sales both now and in the future from repeat business. So what's stopping you from getting more sales?