The Business Cafe

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Joe's Blog

A few observations:

Too many salespeople never put themselves in the customer’s place when considering a plan to sell something.  They only see the process from their perspective. Sometimes they unintentionally complicate the process for the customer. Many times a simple change can make a huge difference in how the customer perceives the product or the process.

In the past most manufacturers required the customer to return a defective product to the place where they bought it.  That seemed logical, but that process put a burden on the retail outlet.  Some manufacturers realized that and now include in their product literature, instruction on how to obtain warranty service without bothering the dealer where they purchased the product.  You may have seen statements like: STOP do not return this product to the store, contact XXX for instructions. The product manufacturer directly handles all the problems related to their products.  In many cases they don’t want the defective item back as it cost too much to handle the return.  They just send out a new one and tell you to scrap the defective unit.  

Imagine how that relieves the burden from the retailer and how the retailer will look at products supplied by other manufacturers who don’t take that approach.  It’s easy to understand that if given a choice of who’s products they carry, they would choose the brand that would be the least burdensome to handle.  Manufacturers who work to make it easy for their customers benefit from  that effort. You must consider how your customer sees doing business with you. Put yourself in their place.

Don't assume a consumer will know why they need something when they see it. Further, you have to figure out what the potential customer sees (mentally) when they view your product vs: a competitor’s similar item.  Point out one major difference first.  Information overload is confusing. Tell them about other benefits of buying your product, but make one main benefit obvious.  Consider auto insurance: the push is on price.  It doesn’t matter 'who' has the best price - price is the main benefit.

Another mistake businesses make are with signs. Just because you know what it states, doesn’t mean someone seeing it for the first time will understand it. Especially signs that are viewed while the looker is in motion.  Forget the fancy fonts and complicated visuals.  Make it easy to read and understand with contrasting colors and large simple fonts and pictures.  Don’t use colors that blend in with the scenery. As nice as they may look to you, they are too easy to overlook.  It’s not an art contest. You want to get the message understood quickly and easily. Again, stick with one main attribute to get their attention.

Example: In real estate you have an opportunity to put up a sign. That sign should display one significant attribute of the property.  Something a buyer would want to know; that would make them call YOU right then, while they're parked in front of the property.  After all, if you sell your own listing you get twice the commission.  Create some urgency to spur the buyer into making that phone call right on the spot. If they don’t, they may end up with another agent. This would be especially effective if the home had something special like a gourmet kitchen, huge garage, solar power or anything special that might be a one-time availability.  Display that clearly on the sign.  An interested buyer may want to get at it before someone else.

Too often sales people trust their memory.  I don’t care how good you believe your memory is, you will forget. Even forgetting temporarily can make yourself look bad.  Write it down in a calendar that reminds you. When you don’’t follow thru with commitments, you look undependable and disorganized.  Even a casual statement that you will do something, no matter how trivial you think it is, to a client is a promise. If you don’t follow thru, you broke your word and lost respect.  Never discount the importance anything, no matter how trivial it may seem to you.  Never tell someone you will do something if you can’t be absolutely positively sure you can do it and when you said you will. How many times have you thought? I need to write that down, but you don't. You convince yourself you're going to remember.  Then you forgot! NEVER TRUST YOUR MEMORY WHEN IT COMES TO DEALING WITH A CUSTOMER!

Finally: don't procratinate.  Do it now and never think you're going to outsmart the system (whatever the system is you are working within).  Customers come and go. They aren't waiting around for you to get your product to market.  A single moment of delay and you could miss a very good sale.

Joe Bottieri

More to come!

  Salesmanship & Marketing

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