The face-to-face sales interview with a potential buyer is the most important part of the whole marketing function. It is at this point that your product or service is scrutinised by the person who can, with the right decision in your favour, make the all important contribution to your business; that is place an order, for without orders there is no business.
Before you get in front of a customer think about your personal appearance. If you seek maximum acceptance it is safer to conform to conventional style.
Avoid using mannerisms that can be distracting and irritating. Try not to overdo hand movements while you are speaking as this implies that you are nervous and unsure of what you are saying. You want 100 per cent attention for your presentation; any distraction whatsoever will lose sales.
Be aware of your body language and ensure that it does not conflict with what you are saying. Ask a number of your friends (of all ages) to appraise your appearance and manner honestly and tell you what, if anything, would stop them buying from you. Be prepared to measure your performance after every meeting. It might be helpful to model yourself on someone who is well regarded in your business sector.
Never underestimate the importance of getting your presentation right. Whilst the unique selling point (USP) is important, it is equally important that buyers like what they see and hear, in both the product and the sales person presenting it.
Seven golden rules
- conduct research on your product or service and the potential market;
- check your own presentation and that of your samples and sales literature;
- plan to start early and make as many calls as possible;
- plan your journeys carefully;
- be polite and positive, and smile at every call;
- ask for the order at every call; and,
- constantly appraise your performance and results.
The sales guru, Geoff Burch, emphasises that friendly persuasion is the key to sales success.
The sales presentation
The actual sales presentation itself must be factual and persuasive, with the USPs clearly spelt out in order of importance. Many large sales forces have their staff learn by heart a complete sales presentation. This is not so the salesman can repeat this parrot fashion to a prospect, but so that when presenting the product the main selling points and USPs will, through habit, fall naturally into the right and best sequence. For a new, nervous or unskilled salesperson, it is a good idea to use this method:
- make a list of the features and benefits of your product and the reasons why someone should buy from you;
- write a sales presentation and learn it by heart; then
- say it to yourself in front of a mirror, complete with a smile of course!