6. Be clear about what you're selling. One of those little stick 'em ads was attached to Page One of a local newspaper. The advertiser was a lawn sprinkler company and the ad headline read: "Offering fall discounts for your irrigation needs." Who has "irrigation needs"? Farmers, maybe. What homeowners want is a green lawn that gives them bragging rights, but won't bust the budget. If that's accurate, a more effective headline might be: "Enjoy a lawn that's the envy of the neighborhood and save money and water, too."
We're selling the equivalent of "green lawns," such as increased productivity, reduced costs, improved quality and higher sales.
7. Let customers know you're working for them. Salespeople often earn a reputation for playing rather than working. Even though it may not be true, it's smart to put it to rest. Make sure they know you're out there working for them. Let them know what you're doing, make arrangements to speak to groups and stay in touch. When they don't see or hear from you, what are they to think? Worse yet, they may actually stop thinking of you.
8. Keep your antennae up. Those of us in sales can get so wrapped up with what we're doing, we overlook a lot of valuable information that we run across in our work. Share it with your customers. Quite often, you have a broader perspective than they do. Whether it's current trends, your thoughts about what's happening in your industry, or passing along information on someone who is looking for a position, share your thinking with your customers.
9. Lead with your best price. This is a tough one, but it's a strategy worth taking seriously. Many customers are on edge, concerned about finances and more sensitive than ever. It all adds up to the fact that no one has time for game playing. More than ever, customers need to feel they can trust you to be looking out for their best interests and that includes price. There's nothing you can say that angers customers more than "I'll meet their price." If you can come down now, why didn't you do it first? When this happens, it creates serious doubt and undermines your integrity.
10. Crank up your follow-through. One of the biggest problems facing many salespeople is a lack of follow-through. There's no room for "I meant to get back to you last week" or "I'll take care of that right away" and then fail to do it. These are the so-called "little things." Whether we like it or not, they are also the big things to our customers.
More sales are killed by not keeping our promises than anything else. Customers will ignore our idiosyncrasies and confusing quirks, but they will not tolerate our failure to follow through and to keep your promises. For some unknown reason, we separate sales and customer service; we do one and someone else the other. It's artificial division of labor that gets us in trouble today. No matter what else we do, our first responsibility in sales is customer service.
Edward A. Testa is Vice President of Sales at Greystone Equipment Finance Corporation based in Burlington, Mass., a company that specializes in equipment lending and leasing. Ed has more than twenty years experience in the equipment financing industry and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-894-4332.