This is not just about selling as a job; the following five-step process can and does apply to many other aspects of life. Whether you're the biggest extrovert or super shy, at some point in your life, you will be selling SOMETHING.
You're going to need:
A bold attitude ("Do or die", "Take no prisoners", etc.)
A sense of being on a mission
Passion for what you're doing (actually, for selling to work, you DO need to really believe in what you're pushing, if only for that moment in time)
A strong belief in your company, product, or yourself (or a combo of all three)
1. The first step in the selling process is Prospecting-At least about 10% of your time will be spent doing this, and it will be even more when you first start selling. Did you know that word-of-mouth is actually the most cost-effective way to get business to come to you? Until a business is self-sustaining, YOU will be talking up and promoting your company through public relations, direct marketing, and innovative advertising.
2. Qualifying your prospective customers-This means that you want to find the right prospective customer. The single best way to do this is by networking, which is simply meeting people and developing business with them. This can be accomplished by going online, through community involvement, volunteering, sponsoring events, or fundraising (All these will increase your visibility and credibility), or just by being in the right place at the right time.
3. Researching and Targeting-You will spend at least 15% of your time doing this. Research means careful preparation-finding the motivators and benefits that will convince a potential customer to buy. Targeting is a goal to be achieved that's reflective of your strategic approach. Who are you aiming for?
4. Presentation-40% of your time will be spent presenting to your prospects, telling about your products or service, the company (and possibly its goals), and in this process, also about yourself. When you come down to actually getting the order (or a yes, green light, go ahead), you have made a "close".
5. Service-Very important! The strategy here is to build relationships and increase billings. You want to make certain that you stay in touch with your customers (especially the regular ones).
Here are at least seven ways to make sure you get repeat business:
- Do a great job!
- Deliver on time (or ahead of time)and meet your deadlines.
- Solicit feedback.
- Make it right (if a problem develops or things go wrong-because at some point, you know they will).
- Give preferential treatment to your regular customers.
- Go out of your way to assist your customers' business.
- Answer phone calls and correspondence promptly.
When handling an irate customer:
1. Never contradict one.
2. Never lie to one.
3. Never give an irate customer an immediate answer. Why? Because you may need the extra time to double-check your information. Tell the customer you're going to look into the problem as soon as possible (ASAP), and get back to them or rectify the problem ASAP.
Source: “Getting Business to Come to You”-by Paul and Sarah Edwards and Laura Clampitt Douglas