I’m an “Old School” sales guy using new technology.
describes the process “back-in-the-day” and the 2nd post will talk about how it’s
to be clever to develop the lead intelligence you needed to make the sale. I’m
not talking about the stated specifications that were written on the Request For
Quote. I’m talking about the needs of the person controlling the purchasing
decision. Until you can understand what motivates and guides them, you can’t
successfully sell them.
prospect’s office a few minutes early for your appointment. You “chatted up”
the lobby receptionist, who often was also the switchboard operator. If you had
promotional items, like pads of paper or key chains, you shared them generously.
A few minutes of small talk could yield valuable information about your prospect’s
schedule and work habits- is he an early bird? Does he stay late? Does he
answer his own phone after hours? Is he casual and outgoing or formal and
difference of whether or not your future calls got put through.
could reveal the names of your competitors and when they had called on your
scene. What do the things in the office reveal about your guy? A golf trophy, a
picture of the family at Disney World, a crayon drawing of the World’s Greatest
Grandpa, a framed award from the company, a photo of your guy with his CEO,
a cluttered desk, —all of these give you clues as to his personality and how to
relate to him as-a-person. Not only were these potential conversation starters,
they gave you the chance to empathize with him and establish mutual interests
that it was logical after finishing our business to say, “What do you say we run
out for a quick sandwich someplace?” This was a good way to get the buyer
out of his business environment where he was playing his official role and into
a setting where he was more relaxed and willing to share personal information
and “off the record” business info. Often this revealed which features were
important and how the buying decision was really going to be made- not the
official process. Maybe it was being made by someone in Engineering that you
needed to convince in order to close the sale.
customer. If you know what the company needs, and what the individual
decision makers need, you can present your offering in those terms. You can
show how you and your company can satisfy those needs. One of the benefits
of this face-to-face process was that it ALSO provided the opportunity for the
customer to learn about you and come to trust you. That personal trust is critical
to any sales situation.