Thursday, September 17, 2009

Never take no for an answer

I hate rejection. I think most people are. Who in the world would want to hear the word no especially when it means losing a business opportunity.

Every day of my sales life, I hear a lot of No’s than Yes’s. It is a given fact that many of us have prejudices against sales people. So, even at the point of introducing yourself and your company, people tend to reject you when they feel it is sales. Why? There is a connotation that sales people are pushy, tricky or simply because they are wasting their time. We can’t blame them because those are mostly true.

As sales professionals, we should learn to be creative but not with the intention to deceive the clients. We have to be confident and assertive but in a professional way. And of course, we shouldn’t waste their precious time.

In order to set a foot to the client’s turf, we have to prepare a good introduction. And never forget to state what the purpose of that call or conversation is. If the client says no or he says that he is not interested, there is no harm in asking why. We might have caught him in a very bad time. If that is the case, we could simply ask for an appointment on when would be the better time to talk.

That was just part of Sales 101.

Getting the client to engage in the conversation is what we aim for at the very beginning. And as the masters of sales say: Probe, probe, probe! That means we have to find out what the client’s needs are. But if they thought they don’t have any, again there is no harm in asking why.

Assuming that you get things right, and you were able to present your product. Then, you came to that point that you were discussing about cost. This is one of the most critical point because many people are really cost-conscious considering the issues in our economy. If the client really needs that product badly, even if it is costly, he will do something to get it. He will haggle until he could bring the price down that is affordable for him. All your effort may pay off. It turns to sale.

But what if the scenario was different? You got the quotation done and submitted it to the client for approval. So the moment of waiting sets in. And the only thing you can do is pray. This happened to me recently when I was waiting for the approval of a $25K deal. I was grooming that sale for like 2 years. And this client sounded so optimistic that everything would go as planned. But to my disappointment, I found out that it wasn’t approved by the executive director. It truly broke my heart. I haven’t spoken to my client yet but he is one of my to-do list. Their company decided to go with the competitor for budget reason, that’s for sure. But then again I wouldn’t take that as the end, I need to ask him soon if I could earn their business. But right now, I need to heal my broken heart.

Well, there are lots of fishes in the ocean. There are still opportunities out there.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"It takes more than simple presentation"

I always give an impression that I am timid. But believe it or not, I work in sales.

I made a decision to work in a sales company because I feel it was a lot better than working in a manufacturing firm. I worked in a Japanese company for 5 years in Clark Special Economic Zone. I have to admit that my education didn’t prepare me for that kind of job. I was an accounting student and yet I was working in a semi-conductor industry in the production line. The challenges were physically and emotionally draining.

What urged me to move to Metro Manila and take a job in sales was more on economic in nature. I always have this perception that sales is a lucrative profession. I soon realize that it also has its ups and downs. Money doesn’t really flow like water as I thought it to be.

Unlike controlled environment, there are different contributing factors to make us successful in sales. One of course, is our selling skills which is the most important thing to survive in sales industry. Nobody is born with selling skills. That’s why it is called skills because it has to be learned or acquired through study. But there are some people who are naturally confident, conversational and persuasive which would work wonders when you are in sales.

As for my case, I started working in the company trying to defeat my fear over the phone.

For consumable products, selling would focus more on the presentation of the products itself. But with the products like what our company provides, which are training solutions, it takes more than simple presentation. It takes a lot of probing to find out what the clients really need. And if we have an understanding on what their needs are, then that is the time that we match their needs to the products we find applicable for them. We don’t want to sell products for the sake of selling it. We sell the products because we know the clients need it. And we are hoping to build a business relationship with them. So the next time that they have requirements, you would be the first person they will think of calling.
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