Are you making customers an offer they can’t refuse?

Written by Mike O'Riordan

Continued from page 1

The comparative test

The next test ofrepparttar proposition is to find out how it compares with your competition? What arerepparttar 127223 real advantages torepparttar 127224 customer of your proposition againstrepparttar 127225 competition? What arerepparttar 127226 values of your company and proposition versusrepparttar 127227 competition? How do these values support and relate torepparttar 127228 marketing claims ofrepparttar 127229 product or service? How do these values supportrepparttar 127230 price? The elevator test

This isrepparttar 127231 30-second explanation as to whyrepparttar 127232 customer should invest his time in listening to your proposition. The sales person should really be able to pass this test. It should feel both natural and smooth. The salesperson should ooze confidence, enthusiasm and knowledge as to what’s advantageous and distinctive about your company, product and services.

Why not try this out with three people from your organisation to see what happens? The question could be: “Tell me very briefly why I should buy from your company?” Remember they should be able to support their claims with strong proofs if asked to do so.

The reference and proof test

How many of your salespeople have information to hand about positive reference stories supportingrepparttar 127233 claims ofrepparttar 127234 proposition? The strongerrepparttar 127235 proof ofrepparttar 127236 propositionrepparttar 127237 strongerrepparttar 127238 case for it to be accepted. The spectrum of proof varies fromrepparttar 127239 weakest, which is an unsupported verbal claim, to proof of someone with credibility personally usingrepparttar 127240 product or service.

This reminds me of a true story about a glass company that launched a new range of toughened glass products. The product was given to all salespeople but one particular person achieved disproportionate sales success. The Managing Director called him for a discussion to find out why he was so successful. He explained that after finding out whatrepparttar 127241 customer needed he presented his proposition and took out a large hammer from his briefcase, putrepparttar 127242 glass onrepparttar 127243 table, and hit it as hard as he could. This proof convincedrepparttar 127244 customer to buy by supportingrepparttar 127245 claims ofrepparttar 127246 proposition.

The Managing Director in response bought allrepparttar 127247 sales team hammers and built this process into their sales approach, but atrepparttar 127248 end ofrepparttar 127249 second yearrepparttar 127250 same salesman sold more toughened glass than any other salesperson.

He was again called intorepparttar 127251 Managing Director’s office to explain what he was doing to make himrepparttar 127252 top salesperson again. The salesman replied “I knew you would be supplying allrepparttar 127253 salespeople with a hammer so I considered how I might make my proof stronger. I decided I would takerepparttar 127254 hammer out ofrepparttar 127255 case putrepparttar 127256 glass onrepparttar 127257 table and askrepparttar 127258 customer to hitrepparttar 127259 glass with a hammer”. Can you seerepparttar 127260 power of proofs in convincingrepparttar 127261 customer to buy?

The pricing test

How many salespeople and business managers can defendrepparttar 127262 price of their product or service by understanding and articulatingrepparttar 127263 proposition supported by advantages, proofs and value torepparttar 127264 customer? The greaterrepparttar 127265 value ofrepparttar 127266 product or service torepparttar 127267 customerrepparttar 127268 easier it is to protectrepparttar 127269 price and retain profit margin. Remember (V) Value Added torepparttar 127270 customer = (B) Benefits minus (C) Cost.

How many companies set their pricing by looking atrepparttar 127271 value ofrepparttar 127272 proposition being delivered torepparttar 127273 customer? I have attended many meetings whererepparttar 127274 Finance Director setsrepparttar 127275 pricing based onrepparttar 127276 profit margin he requires rather than looking atrepparttar 127277 value torepparttar 127278 customer. Concentrating on preparing, well-constructed propositions can add significant profit torepparttar 127279 bottom line and increase customer satisfaction by convincingrepparttar 127280 customer ofrepparttar 127281 real value ofrepparttar 127282 purchase.

The differentiation test

Why is your product or service different torepparttar 127283 competition’s? The more differences you have that are advantageous torepparttar 127284 customerrepparttar 127285 more you can place a premium onrepparttar 127286 price. If you can’t highlight any differences why shouldrepparttar 127287 customer buy from you?


If your sales people, business managers and directors are unable to understand, articulate and present your sales propositions in a professional, consistent and coherent manner with knowledge and enthusiasm then your marketing investment may be leaking like a burst water pipe.

A professionally crafted sales proposition that is delivered to customers in a consistent manner, with thought and enthusiasm, supported by knowledge and understanding ofrepparttar 127288 product or service as to how it will be of advantage torepparttar 127289 customer will increase sales, profitability and increaserepparttar 127290 return on your marketing investment.

·Who has responsibility for Sales Propositions within your organisation? ·How well constructed are your Sales Propositions? ·How good arerepparttar 127291 skill levels within your organisation in terms of understanding customers’ needs and wants and presenting your sales propositions in relation to those needs and wants in a way which conveys real, quantifiable business value? ·How do your propositions match those ofrepparttar 127292 competition? ·How doesrepparttar 127293 value of your product or service torepparttar 127294 customer support your pricing? ·How do you setrepparttar 127295 pricing of your products and services? ·What actions are you going to take improverepparttar 127296 quality and delivery of your Sales Propositions?

Mike is an Accountant with 26 yrs experience of successful selling and marketing achievement in the IT industry.Having served on the board of many UK companies including Unisys and Acorn Computers, Mike now runs O’Riordan Lawes, a business consultancy working with CEOs to address the issues of improving business performance and is a Non Executive of Quantum, a leading company of sales practitioners specialising in improving sales performance.

How To ‘Cross-Sell’ And ‘Sell Up’ Over The Telephone

Written by Jeff Downs

Continued from page 1

5. Summarise customer needs and wants

Before presenting your idea, product or service, summariserepparttar customer’s needs and wants usingrepparttar 127222 following structure: ·Thankrepparttar 127223 customer for giving yourepparttar 127224 information ·Ask them if it would be helpful to summariserepparttar 127225 key points to check your understanding of their requirements ·Feedbackrepparttar 127226 key points from your notes if appropriate (the customer will probably correct any misunderstandings en route) ·Check that you have a reasonable and accurate understanding and ask them if they have anything to add.

6. Present relevant propositions

Based onrepparttar 127227 accepted summary, only presentrepparttar 127228 ideas / products / services that are relevant torepparttar 127229 customer. Linkrepparttar 127230 advantages of your propositions torepparttar 127231 customer’s needs and wants. Avoidrepparttar 127232 ‘pitching’ of irrelevant propositions. Emphasiserepparttar 127233 benefits —repparttar 127234 ‘pay-offs’ in relation to their needs and wants. As you present, testrepparttar 127235 customer's commitment, e.g. “how’s it sounding so far Mr Brown?”

7. Have relevant proofs to hand

Throughrepparttar 127236 above process you will generate a good match betweenrepparttar 127237 customer’s requirements and your offering. To gainrepparttar 127238 customer’s commitment you need to develop their belief that your solution will work. Your claims need substantiation or evidence to overcome any customer doubt or scepticism. Good examples of proofs are: customer references; case study materials; charts; brochures; product information sheets; press releases etc.

8. Expect objections and prepare for them

Objections are a sign of genuine customer interest. Without them, sales are rarely made! It’s imperative that we unearth any objections asrepparttar 127239 one to fear most isrepparttar 127240 one we don’t know about! Most objections raise their heads regularly and can be anticipated. Get together with your colleagues and develop ‘best of breed’ answers.

9. Develop an information base

Unless you are dealing with a ‘one-off’ contact / sale, develop an information base onrepparttar 127241 company / individual. Whether on a sophisticated CRM system or on ‘shoebox’ record cards, keep details of all previous conversations, in particular their needs and wants. Develop a check list ofrepparttar 127242 background information you would like to collect for each customer. Use this as an aide memoire forrepparttar 127243 questions to be asked in conjunction withrepparttar 127244 ones required to define needs and wants for your offering.

10. Follow-up and keeprepparttar 127245 initiative

Every “no” gets you closer to a “yes.” Based on your conversion ratios and average sales value work out how much each “no” is worth. It can be quite motivational! A “no” today is not necessarily a “no” forever. Gainrepparttar 127246 customer’s commitment torepparttar 127247 next stage even if it’s only to take a follow-up call in 6 months. Never rely onrepparttar 127248 customer to come back to you (usually they don’t). Keep control ofrepparttar 127249 sale and keeprepparttar 127250 momentum going. If all else fails, qualifyrepparttar 127251 customer out and get on with something else. This in itself is a win.

In summary, our experience is that you will ‘sell-up’ and ‘cross-sell’ more effectively by following these practical guidelines. Furthermore, evidence strongly indicates that customers will more readily buy into your company’s added-value across-the-board if you successfully integraterepparttar 127252 guidelines into your sales approach.

Jeff conceived and jointly-founded Quantum ( in 1992. Prior to Quantum, over a 20-year career, Jeff built a wealth of experience across a number of companies and industries - moving from sales into sales management, general management and on to become a Divisional Director. With a well deserved reputation as a high quality consultant and senior management advisor he has been a central figure in Quantum's growth.

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