A Dozen Tips for Tipping the Sales Scale Your Way
By: Alan Buhler
Recently, I ran across a book I’ve had in my personal library for many years. It’s Jack Nadel’s “How to Succeed In Business Without Lying, Cheating or Stealing.” I enjoy reading this “pocket book” time and time again because it’s filled with wise business advice.
Here are seven of my favorite sales tips and five of my favorite negotiation tips from the book that you can use in your selling activities:
- If you can’t explain it in 60 seconds, you probably can’t sell it.
You have just one minute to get your prospect’s attention. If he doesn’t understand you, you have lost him before you had the chance to sell him. Think of it like sending a telegram, not a letter—make every word count.
- Samson slew 600 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, and every day thousands of sales are killed with the same weapon.
So many salespeople just don’t know when to shut up. The presentation is great; the customer is sold. The moment to close the deal has come and gone. “Gabby” just keeps on talking. He actually talks himself into and out of an order.
- It’s better to sell smart than to sell hard.
The more you plan, the more you learn about your prospect’s needs, the more effective you are. There’s nothing tougher than making cold calls and not knowing anything about the account.
- The best way to learn to sell is to go out and sell.
There’s no substitute for actually doing it. The experience of being rejected might have more value than instant success. You must learn that the turndown is usually not personal. Trial and error are the two greatest sales instructors.
- A customer wants to know what the product will do for him, not how it’s made.
Too much technical information can bury a sale. It’s like asking what time it is and being told how the watch was made. A sale is closed only when the customer is convinced the product will do enough for him to justify the price he is paying. Technical explanation of how a product is made is usually of no interest to the buyer. This applies to 90 percent of what’s sold.
- Honesty is not only the best policy—it’s the most profitable.
There’s no lie so ingenious that it will go undiscovered. After a thief is caught, he never is trusted again. Every deal calls for a certain amount of trust. Being honest begets long-lasting relationships and creates better opportunities.
- Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door—as long as you have a good marketing plan.
Word of mouth is too slow of a process in these days of instant communication. As soon as you’re ready, a strong advertising and marketing program must be launched before a competing product can get started. Many tears have been shed by losers who had the same idea but couldn’t get it off the ground.
- After you negotiate the best deal, give a little extra.
It’s important to end negotiations on a high note. The act of doing something nice that wasn’t necessary creates enormous goodwill. It helps ensure the deal will be executed with the same spirit of cooperation that existed when the deal was made.
- No matter how tempted you are, don’t bluff.
It’s OK for poker. If you’re called, you lose just the hand being played. In the real world of business, threats never should be issued lightly. Be prepared to execute any tough promises made—or don’t issue the challenge in the first place.
- Try to end every negotiating session on a high note.
It’s not only OK but it is a good tactic to take a break when the situation gets tense and there seems to be no room for compromise. Give both sides a chance to regroup and evaluate the situation. End a tough session with a humorous statement in good taste, or with some sincere compliment to the other side. The stage will be set for a better attitude at the next meeting.
- Always confirm your agreements in writing.
Most of what’s said is forgotten soon after a conversation takes place. A written record dictated within minutes of the end of the meeting will preserve not only the agreement but the spirit in which it was made. Years later, if there is any dispute, there won’t be any question as to what was said. It’s a good idea to have the other party sign a copy of the confirmation you send him, agreeing that this is also his understanding of the deal.
- How the agreement is executed is as important as the deal itself.
Everybody is happy. The deal has been made and it’s been confirmed with a written contract. Now is the time to make sure all the wheels are in motion to carry out not only the letter, but also the spirit, of the deal. Attention to detail ensures success
Alan Buhler is Executive Vice President at CoreTrac, Inc. He can be reached at abuhler@CoreTrac.com or (512) 236-9120 ext. 272