Selling is the distribution arm of marketing, and it works best when it’s done face-to-face. This type of interaction allows for a dialogue where in the seller can listen to the potential buyer and fill his or her needs. Direct selling isn’t only expensive in terms of employee costs; it can also be expensive in terms of opportunity costs. If you’re the only salesperson for the company and you’re talking to a potential customer who doesn’t buy, you may have missed being able to talk to other customers who would have bought. You can’t make products if you’re in the process of selling, either.
Direct selling takes preparation and you’ll get better with training and experience. If you’re working with a company, the more information you have about what that company needs, the more likely you are to be able to close the sale. It’s important to know what problems you’re solving and whether or not you can. If you have a presentation, ask questions before you get to it. A presentation should result in a check being handed to you if done correctly.
Buyers commit to you when they trust you, have confidence in you, and believe that you can solve their problems or make their lives better. In order to “close” the transaction you must ask for the next step in the process or the sale itself. Don’t leave it to chance or in the potential customer’s hands. Many people don’t buy simply because they weren’t asked to.
After each step, make sure that you follow up and continue to build the relationship. If you got the sale, you want to get future sales. If you didn’t get the sale, you want to cultivate a relationship in case the other party can’t deliver on their promises. Building and maintaining relationships will keep the customer coming back, and your best prospects are your current customers because they already know and trust you.
Your process should be to listen, find out what the problem is, and solve it. Don’t solve problems that don’t exist. If you sell gutters, look at the potential client’s gutters. If they aren’t bent, you can’t talk about how bent gutters inhibit the flow of water and new, straight gutters will allow the water to flow freely. The client doesn’t have a bent gutter problem, so he or she doesn’t need your solution. Be sure that you’re asking questions and listening to the answers. Paraphrase what the client has said back to him or to confirm what you think the client is presenting as the problem.
Selling is important, but it doesn’t replace marketing, and conversely, marketing doesn’t replace selling. You need to do both.
If a customer buys, be ready to upsell: Offer a premium version, offer a subscription version, and then ask for referrals.
Adapted from “Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days (affiliate link).”