Did that sound a bit like a sales pitch? It was. The two-sentence paragraph above is an example of an “elevator pitch” in a format designed by sales guru Don Zavis. The format is simple: 1) Identify a problem encountered by your target client 2) Provide a solution for that problem. Do this in two sentences and you have your pitch! No more stuttering or blank looks. All in less than 30 seconds.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Don Zavis (rhymes with Travis, not Davis) presented “Selling: It’s Your Business, Too!” at the TAMA April luncheon. He asked the audience what problems they had with selling and he collected several topics, two of which he was able to address in the one hour allotted time. Don gave the TAMA attendees advice on the important sales topics of cold calling and closing the sale.
He noted that 9 out of 10 phone messages are sent to voicemail. The key to getting a call-back on a cold call sent to voicemail is to avoid leaving a complete message that includes TMI (Too Much Information). TMI provides too many decision points that can be used by the prospect to avoid returning the sales call. Therefore, the best message to leave is something like this: “I have your business card and I have a question. Please call me at …” Or “I saw your ad in the paper (or website, etc.) and I have a question…” This technique is called leaving a “blind” message versus a complete message.
When the prospect calls back, simply tell them that you, the sales person, have a service or product that may help them. Advise them that if after 30 seconds they do not think your service or product will be a match, they can say “no,” with no hard feelings. No one wants you to waste their time and you certainly don’t want to waste your own time.
Don also suggested that sales people should not chase clients “down the rabbit hole.” If, after two calls, the target client does not return any sales calls, cut them off and move on. A sample message on the second call could be, “If I don’t hear back from you by this time tomorrow, I will assume that we are not a match and I will not call you again.” Don emphasized ‘matching’ with a client versus chasing after them and wasting time. We all know time is money.
As for closing a sale, sales people should make sure that the client knows ahead of time exactly what will transpire at a sales meeting. By doing this, expectations are set by both sides. As a sales person, when do you want to know if the sale is going to fail? Answer: as soon as possible! Take a “yes” or a “no,” but never take a “maybe” or “I’ll get back to you.” Stop the sales process after two unsuccessful meetings, because indications are that it is time for everyone to move on.
Don emphasized that if a sales person starts a sales call with, “Just,” as in “Just checking in with you…,” it is like saying, “Just checking in to waste your time and my time!” Always aim to obtain a “Yes” or “No,” never an ITIO (“I’ll Think It Over”).
If you have an interest in using Don’s sales techniques or simply learning more, you can contact him at http://www.donzavis.com/Pages/contactus.aspx