While it may seem obvious that you need to know something about “Your Company”, it’s all too easy to skip over some fundamental sales techniques you should apply in this area.
A common mistake, even among experienced salespeople, is to assume the customer knows all about your company and its’ products. But today, markets and products change so quickly, you can’t afford to take to this for granted.
For this reason, we recommend you…
…Improve your Sales Techniques in the following 7 key areas:
- Products and Services – know them, don’t rely on a brochure or company website. Be aware of new ones and of old ones being phased out.
- Pricing – Price points, discounts, payment terms – all things to negotiate with.
- Key Features – and what they do for the customer – more on this later. Gather product brochures and descriptions. Put these into a handy folder, or presentation book.
- References and statistics – Company performance, market position, business accolades etc.
- Values – known for quality, or cheap and cheerful; have the facts
- Structure, strategy and goals
- Your Competitors
Some of these are obvious areas of sales capability that we would expect you to be fluent in, so let’s just look a couple of these in detail to make some specific points:
No 3 – Distinguish between Product feature and the Value it brings to the customer
Most salespeople are good at remembering product features. For example, I was in a car showroom recently where the salesperson was pointing out all the capabilities of climate control in the car. What they didn’t do was explain what it that does for ME. Because they didn’t ask the right questions first.
This is where the application of basic Sales Techniques let’s people down.
Choosing the right benefit appropriate to each individual customer can make all the difference! So know your products and features, but as we’ll discuss in a later post, know your customer first.
No 4 – References (and Case Studies)
A “Case Study” is information about how a customer has successfully used one of your products. What the problem was, how they fixed it and most important of all, the result they achieved.
This becomes a “Reference Customer” when that customer is happy to associate their name with your company, and happy to speak to your prospective customers to help them decide.
One question we often get is “ Does a case study have to be a company in the same market or industry?” Our answer is NO!
A different industry is OK but make sure the application of the product or service is the same and therefore relevant. Make sure that the business challenges the product or service resolved, are the same kind of issues facing your customers.
No 7 – Your Competitors
The final part of preparation I want to stress in this post is about your competitors. The application of sales techniques with regard to competition is a key strength you must develop.
Today, your competitor can be anywhere in the world. Many products, even complex ones, over time become commodities and the market changes.
Part of situational fluency is to understand who they are and also to keep track of things such as their Product range, Price policy, New promotions and so on…
BUT, be careful how you use this information.
Criticising the competition to win business is not only unethical but it makes you look unprofessional in the eyes of your customer and can lose you business.
I’ll try and cover more on dealing with competitors in later posts.
So take some time to do this preparation about Your Company properly, and don’t just do it once!
Great Sales Techniques are not something you learn or apply once.
Sales Skills are something you apply continuously, therefore it’s an ongoing process of preparation.
In closing out this post, I’d like to particularly stress that knowing all this information is useless until you distinguish between what your company offers, it’s actual products, and what they do for your customers.
This is how these sales techniques are applied by the top achievers in sales, so do it and become a top achiever.