Most people come into selling with the vague idea that if they know their product and have a bit of the old patter, they are likely to get drowned by the amount of sales they make. If only that were the case. Unfortunately, this is only two of the many essential factors that are going to win the day. As much as you need to know your own product inside out, you also need to know your client.
In your sales training you will have been pounded with all the wonderful features of your company’s product. You will have sat up at night revising it until you talk about it in your sleep and begin to see it in your dreams – if not your nightmares… You will know all of its cool benefits and how it will help the average man on the street.
But you are not meeting the average man on the street.
You are meeting a real person who is representing a real company which has a unique profile, mission, needs and requirements. This company will perceive your product (or service) totally differently from any other organisation. It is this unique difference that you need to work on.
By understanding which features and benefits of your product will be most appealing to your buyer, you will be able to adapt your conversation to his exact requirements. Now you are not just hawking a product – you are fulfilling a need. You have the client’s solution – the chances of winning the pitch just trebled!
So, the difference between the data about the product and the info about your client, is (unless that information is already held by your company) you are going to have to do some personal research for the latter. Time-consuming may be, but the benefits could be astronomical.
That information isn’t difficult to find now we have the internet at our fingertips. Here are some pointers as to how you can gather that all important information you need:
Are they known to your organisation?
It may be that your prospective buyer is not only known to your company, but they have actually bought from you before. This is a great source of information. It is likely that your company will not only hold a rich background knowledge of the organisation, but also data about what they were interested in and why. If the latter is difficult to track down, consider finding who made the sale. This person, will be a mine of useful information as to how to approach your prospective buyer and what to focus upon.
You are now also aware of something very important. If the buyer has bought from you before, they have built a certain amount of trust in your company. During your sale conversation, you need to make them aware of previous sales and how you hope you can successfully meet their needs again.
If this is a new contact, refer to how they made their first communication. Is there a contact form which states what their primary needs are? Can you approach a colleague who took the initial call?
Read their website
The company website should give you a good idea as to what the organisation is about and how they fit into their industry. There may also be mission statements and about us pages which will offer ideas as to their goals.
Social media pages
Social media is not only fundamental to communication in the 21st century, it is also essential for business marketing. Facebook may offer company pages and LinkedIn will have a profile and company page. The latter especially gives insight into size of the company, employees, networks and company history.
Use google to dig deeper
Time to be a little inventive. You can put anything into Google and you will get a million solutions back. Try putting in their company name first and see what you get. Then add a few words to the search phrase like “[director] says” “latest figures”, feedback, or “bankruptcy” – you may get a few surprises.
Add company name to Google alerts
Google alerts will feed back any news about the search phrase you input into it. Won’t you look good when you roll up totally knowledgeable about their current promotions!
What is happening in their industry/ read industry magazines and newspapers
They maybe in a different industry to you so understand the sphere they work in. By reading popular industry magazines (these are also often available online) you can get a feel for prevalent issues, an idea of organisational infrastructure and a handle on cutting edge news stories which will be great to drop into your pitch!
Benefits to all
Differentiate yourself from your competitors. At the same time create a situation where your clients can’t do without YOU never mind your product or service because of the valuable insights you bring.
Not only will you find you will be attracting more clients more quicker and easier than ever before but they will also be recommending you to others.
Now you are not just hawking a product – you are fulfilling a need. You have the client’s solution and you can bring valuable insights that will challenge your client’s thinking – the chances of winning the pitch just trebled.
BE THE DIFFERENCE!
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