Category Archives: sales

The art of interruption

Originally found: http://pcweenies.com/comic/we-interrupt-this-comic/

Sales calls are tough.

You’re excited! You have a great idea! It will change their business!

Why aren’t they responding to your call? Ignoring the e-mail? Saying they are busy?

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. You’re busy each day with goals, tasks, emergencies, and anything else that comes up. When a sales call comes, no matter how great it might be, it’s still an interruption.

Recognize this and honor your customers using these tips:

Care about your customer

Know them as well as you can. What are their interests/hobbies? Do they have a preferred method of communication and time to reach out? (Hint: they do, find out what it is). What challenges are they dealing with in their business? Do you know their birthday, any food allergies, beverage preferences?

Always be adding value

Don’t reach out to your customers to “check in”. The next update meeting should be scheduled at the last call or a commitment to lock in a date. If they are using your product, find out how they are using it and provide customized feedback for them based on usage. Call them with thoughts about a new feature and solicit their input on it. Share industry articles that are relevant that don’t necessarily relate to your product.

Be creative

Send a hand-written postcard. I have a stack of “Greetings from Fargo” postcards on my desk, and buy other personalized ones from time to time to send. Hand-deliver or mail customized gifts for them. This is where knowing your customer comes in to either save the day or make you look insincere. If a customer hates coffee or doesn’t drink alcohol then those are really bad gift ideas! Do they have a particular hobby such as bike riding, or travel to Latin countries? Are they a foodie or voracious reader? Buy something and send with a hand-written card just because, with no “ask” in it.

What are your thoughts?

How do you care for your customers? What’s the most creative way someone has shown you appreciation?

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Three things you MUST do to prepare for a sales call

Making a call to customer or prospect can be a nerve wracking experience! Here are three things you can do today to make it a better experience for you and your customer.

Know your customer

Who will be on the call? What is his/her role in the company? More importantly, are they an influencer, advisor, or a decision-maker? Map out the customer’s team ahead of time, then fill in any gaps through research or make it part of your call. If you don’t know their buying process, e.g. committee review, who writes the check, key times of year for making budget decisions (to name a few) then you can utilize the call to learn more about how it works.

Write out an agenda

It shouldn’t be super wordy, just key thoughts that you want to accomplish on the call. Use the written agenda as a general guidepost for the discussion – one that gives enough structure to achieve outcomes, but is fluid enough to react to customer input. At the beginning of the call review the agenda with the customer, asking them for input. Is there anything they want to add? What are their goals for the meeting? What are yours?

A partnership mindset

Your job on the call isn’t to convince them to buy something! This may sound odd since we called it a sales call. Your goal is to add value to the customer’s day, and determine the best way to move forward with them. Use this opportunity to give them a new insight on their business, to learn from them about what they are experiencing, to develop a deeper relationship built on mutual respect and trust.

Anything else?

What would you add to the list? Do you have any habits or practices that you take into a sales call?

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