Sometimes big companies seem like impenetrable fortresses. Most sales representatives commonly ask, "Who do I call?" - especially if you don't know anyone who works in the account.
In checking out their website, you discover information on the top-level corporate officers, but still don't have a clue who's in charge of making decisions for your product or service. And when you see all those different business units, the challenge becomes even more daunting.
Where do you start? How can you find the right person to contact?
First identify the possible job titles of someone who makes decisions in your area. In most dealerships the decision maker will be the General Manager (GM), Used Car Sales Manager, Internet Manager or Director.
When you're selling to other businesses, you need to pinpoint and then target the key decision makers, i.e. there is no point selling to someone who doesn't have the power to buy your product or service.
The main decision maker is often the individual who signs the cheque - but this won't always be the only person you need to convince. Others may also play an important role in the buying process.
This lesson will tell you how to identify and make contact with the key decision makers you need to sell your goods or services to.
The size of a business will usually dictate who you need to address your sales pitch to for your product or service. Purchasing decisions in smaller businesses are often made by the owner or a managing director. In larger companies, you may need to target the head of a particular department, as well as the budget holder, if these are different people.
So when you're selling to other businesses, you need to identify these people and target them accordingly. It is worth carrying out some research to ensure you know who to approach before you plan your pitch.
It's generally best to aim as high up the chain as you can. So if you've discovered that it's the General Manager or Dealer Principle who'll sign the cheque for your product, that's who you need to get in touch with first.
The person at the top of the chain may put you through to the manager of a relevant department or ask you to send them an email or letter. But at least the ultimate decision-maker will be aware of your presence.
There are a number of methods you can use to find out who the decision makers in your target business are.
Once you have the information on the key decision makers, it's almost time to make contact with them. Before you do this, make sure you know what you are going to say.
In larger companies, receptionists, personal assistants and other employees may be asked to shield their managers from unwanted sales calls, especially if they get lots of calls every day.
Therefore you'll need to convince them to put you through to the decision maker. Be polite but assertive - you have a valuable product or service and you don't want them to miss out.
If the decision maker is not available or you are put through to their voicemail, you should explain who you are and your company name. Advise them that you will call back at a more suitable time, rather than leave a message. Don't try to sell your product or service to the call taker. Even if they pass on your message accurately, they will not have sufficient interest in your product or service to convince the decision maker to respond to your call. In smaller firms, the owner or other decision maker may answer the phone so be prepared to launch into your sales pitch straight away.
The main purpose of many sales calls is to get an appointment with a potential customer. Once you get through to the person you're targeting, you need to persuade them why it's worth meeting you.
Xcite™ believes that it's very important that you should plan what you're going to say in advance. You may have as little as 10 to 20 seconds to get the customer's attention before they lose interest - so you've got to say something that will make them listen. Be ready for brush-offs.
Most business people are busy and won't have time to see everyone who calls them, so make sure you quickly establish why they cannot afford to miss out.
Pick one key benefit of your product or service and tailor the way you present it to fit the particular customer's needs.
If the customer sounds interested in what you've got to offer, ask for a meeting to discuss things further. Propose a time that's convenient for you and let the customer come back with an alternative if they wish. Always offer to visit customers at their own premises - they will be less likely to cancel the appointment.
Ask them who will be attending so that you can bring duplicates of any documents or handouts. Make sure you note down all the details of the appointment and plan in some time beforehand to collect information on the company and prepare your presentation.
Getting the brush-off is a fact of life for any sales person. The key to success is learning the most common brush-offs and planning in advance how you will handle them.
Always aim to keep developing the relationship with the customer. The longer you can keep the conversation going, the more chance you have of getting them interested.
"Put something in the mail to me/send me an email."
"I'll need to think about it."
"I'm afraid I haven't got time to speak now."
Sometimes you will get an outright brush-off - the customer will make it clear they are not interested at all. If this happens, try to find out why. It may be that a follow-up call in a few months' time may be better received. If not, at least you may find out whether you need to change or improve your sales techniques. Don't let a refusal get you down - the next customer you speak to may pick up on any negativity in your voice.
Remember that you only gain 1 sale out of 6 so you need to keep revisiting them and talking to as many dealerships as you can before you will sign a contract.
Always make a list of potential clients that you have contacted and the outcome. This will help you to avoid contacting the same company twice by mistake. In time, you can revisit the list and try again as their situation may have changed or you may have a new product or service to offer. This step is very important.
In the following lesson you will learn about how to research and plan for a sales call.
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