One way to be successful in sales is to look at what customers and prospects expect from a sales rep. In other words, put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
At the recent NationaLease Sales Meeting, Rick Baker, National Account Executive for NationaLease, shared his ideas about the elements of a quality sales relationship.
- Be on time: While this seems both simple and obvious, showing up on time for an appointment shows the customer you respect them and that you can be counted on.
- Pay attention to your appearance: Be neatly dressed and look alert when meeting with a customer
- Be prepared: Do your homework so you know something about your prospect’s business, industry and his position within the company.
- Bring proper support material: Make sure you have all necessary resources and data you will need to help you answer questions or provide information during the sales call.
- Honor all commitments: This is the old “do what you promise” adage. This applies to meeting deadlines and providing follow up material.
- Don't bad mouth the competition: Most customers don't react well to negative selling. Rather than focusing on the competition, talk about your company’s strengths and capabilities.
- Clarify your authority: Make sure the customer know which issues you have the authority to resolve and which you need to bring to your supervisor. Explain the nature of any higher-level approvals you need.
- Hold off on saying “no:” If your customer asks you to do something your company doesn’t typically do, don’t be too quick to say no. Check with your supervisor to see if an exception can be made. If an exception can’t be made, then tell the customer you can’t do what he asks, but try to offer an alternate solution.
- Make suggestions: The customer doesn't need you to be an order taker. Make suggestions and offer alternatives that you think will improve efficiency or that make more sense for their operation.
- Recap the meeting: At the end of the meeting, summarize what was discussed and let the prospect or customer know what they can expect from you in the way of follow up actions.