Quick Refresh Of The Sales Fundamental Principles
- People buy from People
- People need a reason to change
- The product is in the mind of the buyer
- People make emotional buying decisions for logical reasons
- The correct use of power is the key
- You cannot sell to someone who cannot buy
1 Secret 1 - Organization
Gather the basic information about the Organization before going for Face to Face Meeting
- What are the names of your divisions and locations
- What are your major products
- How many people work in your organization
- Who are your customers
- What are the key challenges facing your company today
- What differentiates you from your competitors
- What are the major industry concerns your company is facing presently
- What is the company’s market share
2 Secret 2 - Prospect
Gather the basic information about the Prospect during the Face to Face Meeting
- How long have you been with this company
- What are your key responsibilities
- What are your enjoyable moments
- What are the major challenges you face
- What is your professional background
- What personal interest or hobbies you pursue
- What is the distinct advantage if the solutions are implemented
- What is your role in the decision-making process
- What are your personal objectives
- What are your current projects and priorities
3 Secret 3 - Problems
Gather the basic information about the Problems during the Face to Face Meeting
- What are some initiatives you have deployed presently
- How crucial is this solution for your employees
- Have you evaluated other options earlier?
- What are your activity plans?
- Are you looking at the process and behavioral training
- What types of solutions do you prefer the most?
- What features and benefits do you value the most?
A conversation with lower-level managers prior to a meeting with the senior managers can help nail down key challenges that the company is facing, and therefore the opportunities.
The focus should be on identifying three key problems that could be focused on in the meeting.
Understanding the most important problems means listening to the customer, rather than going into ‘sales mode’ right away.
In a recent meeting, while we were pitching our SMS and email solutions, I realized that the opportunity lay in helping the company get mobile numbers of its 90% customer base that it did not have the contact info.
That was the real problem that we had to focus on solving, and through which we could potentially get them to switch. Else, there was little reason for them to change providers.
At this stage, an understanding of the competition is crucial.
The more information gleaned, the sharper can be the solution proposed.
The bigger the problem you solve the bigger the money you make
4 Secret 4 - Process
Gather the basic information about the Process during the Face to Face Meeting
- Is there a budget, if so, what is it
- When will you spend the budget
- What is the cost of doing nothing about this issue
- How urgent is this particular issue
- What is your decision-making process
- Who will be involved in the decision-making process
- Who makes the final decision
- When are you likely to have the new process rolling
5 Secret 5 - Preparation
Proper homework needs to be done about the company being met prior to the meeting.
Today, most companies will have a website.
Public meetings will have their quarterly and annual reports, along with analyst presentations.
These can give a lot of background details about a company.
Checking out recent news items can also provide additional info on the priorities.
It should also be possible to get some information from friends and ex-colleagues who may be working in the target organization.
All of this helps create the necessary background and can also provide some titbits which could be used at appropriate times during the actual sales meeting.
6 Secret 6 - Pitch
A follow-up of understanding the customer’s problems is the preparation of the sales pitch.
In this, the focus needs to be on point solutions to the specific problems they are facing.
Ideally, one should look for solutions created for other similar companies that could be presented as case studies.
For each problem, a couple possible options could be presented.
As part of the process of preparing the pitch, it is helpful to understand the ground realities.
This means, that if it is a retail customer, a visit to the shop floor can provide useful context.
Similarly, for a bank, a visit to a branch can open up new perspectives which can bring an additional dimension to the solution.
In many meetings, I like to give personal examples. This helps make it more real. These stories are the ones that leave a lasting impression.
7 Secret 7 - Presentation
The actual presentation is perhaps the most important part of the sales process.
This is where I see errors galore. More often than not, the slides prepared are not well thought out and follow a set pattern irrespective of the audience and the context.
Also, presentations tend to be long-winded and often leave the most important points too late leaving limited time for discussion on them.
This is what I told my sales team recently.
Our presentation should not take more than 20 minutes.
The first segment should have 2-3 slides that establish the credibility of the company – through our history, lines of business, and the customers we have, with a special focus on the customers in the same segment as the company to which we are presenting.
The next part should showcase the solutions from the customer’s viewpoint, rather than a tech-centric view.
In our case, these should center around helping companies with customer engagement and enhancing their relationships, new customer acquisition, and internal communications.
This helps give an overview of what the company’s solutions are.
The last part should focus on the solutions to the problems that the company has – as discussed in the Pitch.
In this case, we need to have case studies if we have done something similar.
It should end with a clear set of actionable ideas that can be taken up immediately after the presentation.
8 Secret 8 - Props
I have been in so many presentations that are so dry that one either starts fiddling with the phone or switches off midway.
This is the death knell for a sales pitch.
Presentations need to come alive.
There need to be “props” which help in drawing the attendees on.
This can happen in two ways. One, by giving handouts of specific items which have been done for other customers.
Two, by giving live demos that the attendees can do themselves.
These “props” help bring the story to life. They make the solutions real.
They show how others are using them.
They break the dull dreariness of the presentation.
These are what the attendees will remember after the presentation.
9 Secret 9 - Post Meeting
After the meeting, a quick follow-up is important to ensure the momentum is maintained.
The first thing that needs to be done is that a summary of the Minutes of Meeting (MoM) should be sent out to the attendees.
If any presentation was made, it should also be attached.
The MoM should clearly have the actionable with the names of the people who are responsible for them.
Ideally, MoM should be sent out within 24 hours of a meeting.
If any questions came up in the meeting that could not be answered, they should be replied to quickly.
In my own experience, this is where the impetus of a good meeting can be lost.
Without the right follow-up, everyone gets busy with their own life and the memory of the meeting fades.
So, it is very critical to ensure that purposefulness is maintained.
10 Secret 10 - Proposal
Once the MoM is done, the next action is the creation of a proposal, based on the identification of the specific requirements.
The proposal should be short and crisp, and cover the most important points (commercials, payment terms) clearly, and leave as little scope for ambiguity as possible.
Like presentations, there should be internal templates for proposals so it should be possible to craft these rapidly.
It is also important to ensure these proposal templates are updated.
I recently found one of our sales offices giving proposals using a template that was at least a year old.
The customer record should then be updated in the CRM database with an accurate assessment of the opportunity size and expected time to closure.
This will then show up as part of the sales funnel.
11 Secret 11 - Productivity
- Managing rich Data Base and updating the DataBase
- Identifying the BANT/MAN
- Mapping Accounts and establishing relationship 360 degree
- Strengthening relationships with the existing customers/partners and generating repeat business.
- Sharing business opportunity/leads to the respective BU, delegating, accountable for the opportunity, and steering the business proposals till the closure of deals
- Weekly reviews with the team and freezing Plan for the next week
- Increasing product DEMO/PoC
- Agenda to be set & mailed to the customer prior to going for the meeting.
- Do confirm with your customer whether you would be showing PPT (if any).
- You could politely ask your customer how many people would be attending the meeting from the customer end. We must know their name, profile, etc for our knowledge.
- Always check your demo before the meeting. Start with it 🙂
- Keep a couple of case studies of your customer's vertical/ area of business.
- Color printouts of your PPT are advised to be carried before going for the meeting (if you are presenting the same).
- Do not collate or compile too many slides. Let it be short, crisp & interesting.
- Always take time for other things. Market insights, casual talks, competitor's business would always enhance your customer to pay attention to you more & more 🙂
- As far as possible, try for closure. It is time for all of us to be aggressive enough.
- Avoid coming back saying "Will revert back" in terms of discussion on commercials. Let your customer understand that you are also capable to take decisions.
- Note or list down what do you want to achieve in day to day meeting and focus on that.
- When you Brand yourself properly, the competition becomes irrelevant
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Always Ask These Self Questions
1. What are your beliefs on Sales?
2. What am I not good at that is stopping me from reaching my full potential with sales?
3. Who is your Audience right now? Which category do they majorly belong to?
4. What are the objections that you get frequently?
5. How are you going to deal with these objections now?
6. List down 10 Questions that you are going to use for trial Close
7. What are the challenges that you come across when you try to promote your business on social media?
8. What are my Dreams and Desires?
9. What are my current Problems and Pains related to Sales
10. What are your big Fears and Frustrations in Sales?
11. How much time I am investing in Unproductive, Productive, and Superproductive Activities?
12. Why people buy?
13. What are the top reasons?
14. What are Growth Phase and Consolidation Phase in Sales?
- The Sales Meeting and Presentation is the most crucial aspect of the selling process.
- With the right homework prior to the meeting and rapid follow-up after the meeting, it should be possible to accelerate getting the purchase order.
- Always define a time for your meeting.
- Set your customer's expectations when it comes to time & punctuality.
- Before you present, mention the amount of time you would be taking to showcase the PPT.