Why getting the basics of selling right could make all the difference

Selling is and should be a logical process. If done right, you get the sale. If not, you probably haven’t followed the logical steps, or asked the right questions or listened to the answers. This tends to result in you not meeting the buyers needs or requirements by trying to sell in the wrong product or solution.

  Planning and preparation is a fundamental basic step of the selling process and one that is often neglected especially when a sales person has been in role for a while as they become complacent, thinking they already know everything about their customers. Never assume you do. Customers change, their needs change, markets change. Your customers need to adapt, and you need to adapt with them. Take the time to plan and prepare for your meeting. Review their company website, industry news, their customer record for example to get an accurate and up to date perspective. Plan the meeting, by detailing your objectives and jotting down a list of questions you want to ask to better understand their needs.

  Many sales people say they have ‘the gift of the gab’ but selling should be at least 70% listening and 30% talking. You are there to meet your customer’s needs, but you won’t be able to if you don’t stop talking long enough to discover what they are. By asking lots of open-ended questions first about their business and needs, not only will you build your buyers trust as you are showing an interest rather than going straight for the sell, but it will also aid you understanding their requirements and how you can best meet them with one of your products or services.

  Be sure to listen to the responses you are given, ask follow-up questions to delve deeper and probe into specific areas if needed. Taking notes demonstrates you are listening and gives you an accurate record of the meeting but be sure not to lose the engagement with your buyer by being face down into your note book. Ensure focus and eye contact throughout the meeting.

  Once you have actively listened and established their needs, you can then present your ideas as long as they meet the buyers needs or are a solution to their problem. Don’t just present a standard presentation that you give to all your customers, you should tailor the presentation in response to their answers. Again, demonstrating you really have listened to their needs. It is then harder to say no.

  Be sure to close the sale. It is surprising how often sales people forget to close the deal. If you are getting nods of agreement, inquisitive follow up questions, your buyer is sold. Close the deal by getting a confirmation of the order.

  These basic steps may sound obvious, but they aren’t always followed. Planning, questioning and listening and tailoring a presentation really aid in a sales person being successful as they have been able to build trust, rapport and engaged with a buyer by showing an interest. People do tend to buy from people, so make sure you stand out from the crowd and know your customer inside out.


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