Issue No. 59 - June/July 2011
Be prepared to open the sale
by Craig Stubing
"The reason why so many salespeople have trouble closing the sale is that they don't open them properly to begin with."
I first heard that statement a number of years ago. To me it remains one of the great sales truths.
What is opening the sale all about? In my opinion there are two aspects. Firstly, making sound preparations and, secondly, carrying out the initial steps of the sales discussion effectively.
I believe that there are two causes of poor opening. Firstly, some salespeople are disorganised. They don’t allow time to properly prepare for their sales discussions and, consequently, leave too much to chance.
Secondly, during a sales discussion, some salespeople become uncomfortable when they are not talking. This leads them to talk too much and listen too little. It also leads them to seek their comfort zone – that is, to talk about their product. So that’s where they head, as quickly as they can, short-cutting any preliminaries.
In doing this they overlook the critical point that the key to the sale is not in their product, it’s in their customer. To find that key the salesperson must find out about their customer’s situation. Only after doing this can they try to sell anything with any real chance of success.
If you recognise these behaviours in yourself here are some tips that may help.
Set aside time to prepare. Make sure you have the small stuff right; that your sales material is complete, clean and in order; that your personal grooming and presentation is appropriate.
If you are visiting your customer, make sure you have the address noted correctly (so you don’t get lost) and that you know their name (and can pronounce it properly). You’ll also...