It is often perceived, especially if one is not from the sales and marketing background, that a salesperson just presents his/her products to those who are interested and with a little convincing, closes the deal. And that is job done.
I would say that it is not an entirely wrong perspective. However, it is merely some of the steps of a sequence of steps that need to be religiously followed by a salesperson. Just three steps from a series of steps if consistently followed and mastered, makes the salesperson dynamic and productive.
This is the process where a salesperson identifies the customers who have the potential to buy the products. Usually, it requires the salesperson to ask some crucial questions to understand the customers’ needs and willingness to buy. This process also requires the salesperson to pinpoint where exactly to find those prospects. Some of the common exercises to achieve this element are;
- picking up the phone and speaking to key accounts, partners, corporate offices and customers themselves
- attending partner events, corporate events and client events
- visiting key account offices, etc.
Approaching the client
It is as simple as it sounds, only that how you approach the client is very much dependent on the information and facts that you have gathered from the first step. The salesperson would need to make appointments with the prospects and prepare him/herself for the meeting with the client. In this context, the client could be an agency or the end customer itself. It is at this stage, usually, the presentation of the products is done addressing the client’s needs and requirements. A little bit of “drama” to create interest and get the client’s complete attention is necessary sometimes.
Close the Deal
After a presentation is done and all the requirements of the client are addressed by showing and explaining how and why the product is ideal without being too pushy, an attempt to close the deal can be made. One way to do this is by asking the clients’ feedback on the presentation and the product. Any additional objections can be handled at this stage. A very obvious sign from the client would be speaking about the value. This process will help the salesperson to understand if the client is ready to buy. It is important for the salesperson to be authorized to make quick decisions on issues that are directly related to either winning or losing the deal.
From this point on, it is vital to have all your communications in writing. The offer you made, the additional commitments you made or any other flexibility extended on terms and conditions, should be properly documented.
The third step, the closing step, is not always immediate. Some prospects take days or weeks to make a final decision, often based on the size of the deal. What is crucial to keep in mind during this period is to do regular follow up with the client without being too aggressive. And always stay positive while never letting the strong waves of competition out there go off your radar.
The next step, one of the most important steps, is post-sale follow-up. The salesperson should always contact the client after the delivery of the service for feedback. Maintain the relationship that has just been built. Keep in touch with the client appropriately constant, to strengthen the relationship and to ensure repeat business and to spread the word for other potential customers.
Final step – repeat the steps all over again.
While there are many different ways of selling, the above is one of the simplest methods and often referred to as Personal Selling in the trade. However, a sales person’s responsibility is not limited to personal selling alone, but also diving in to many other critical areas that build up the entire selling process. That would include market research, competitive product research, developing new accounts and managing existing accounts, relationship management or networking, forecasting, building sales strategies and executing sales plans. Additionally, a salesperson should always be vigilant of market trends, demand periods and opportunities to analyze and apply the most effective strategy at the right time. In other words, a salesperson is a hunter.
Selling is an interesting game. In this game, passion and optimism are essential. Nevertheless, always be ready to accept dissatisfactions just like in any other business. The key is to keep trying until you win. In my opinion, anyone can be a great salesperson. Great sales personnel are not born, they are built. Through knowledge, training and experience. Go hunt.
About the writer: Hassan Nasir is the Assistant Director Of Sales at Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi. Skilled in Easily Adaptable, Hospitality Industry, Leisure Industry, and Property Management Systems, Nasir is a strong sales professional with experience and knowledge of the current hospitality sales and marketing trends, challenges and opportunities.