It’s human nature. The very first question we ask someone when opening a conversation is “So, how are you?” As I’ve reconnected with people in the new year, the response to my question seems to be the same from everyone – regardless of who they are or what they do. The common reply is “Things are good, but I’m really busy.” Not at all coincidental, that is also my reply when people ask me how I’m doing too. With a four month old daughter, my world revolves around her needs and I find myself constantly juggling my schedule around hers.
The bottom line: everybody is busy. There never seems to be enough time in the day. We’re all making do with less of something. However, from an advertising sales perspective this is actually an opportunity. The fact that all of our clients are very busy managing their business opens a door for us to step through and provide assistance. More than ever, clients need our help to make smart and timely decisions that will positively affect their bottom line.
As professional salespeople, our core responsibility is to uncover needs and offer solutions. In other words, we find opportunities where we can help our clients.
If you want more business in the new year, here’s exactly what you need to do: find a way to get your customers talking about their needs, and then demonstrate to them how your newspaper products and services can help them. It’s that simple.
Years ago, one of my mentors told me that the most valuable phrase a salesperson can use is “Would it be helpful if I…” And he is right. In virtually any situation, you cannot go wrong by offering to help someone. Whether you are trying to set a sales meeting, pitch a specific product, or close a sale, try using the “Would it be helpful if…” technique. You’ll be amazed at how responsive someone is when you offer to take the time (and remember, we’re all short on time these days so the offer will mean a lot to the person you’re offering it to) to help them.
If you’re trying to set a meeting: “Would it be helpful if we scheduled a time when I can sit down with you so you can explain what you’re trying to accomplish with your advertising?”
If you’re trying to pitch a specific product: “Would it be helpful if I sent you an example of how other businesses in your category have successfully used this product to grow their business?”
If you’re trying to edge a client towards agreeing to a sale: “Would it be helpful if I stopped by your office so that we can go over the recommendation I’ve prepared in person and I can address any concerns that you might have?”
In my experience, client responses to the questions above are usually some variant of “Yes, please do” or “Yes, that would be terrific” or “Yes, let’s do that.” At every point during the sales cycle, your goal is to keep your client saying “Yes” because it confirms that your client agrees with what you are saying and/or suggesting. Ultimately, that “Yes” will lead to more sales and more revenue. So make it easy for your customers to say “Yes” by offering to help them whenever you can.
I look forward to seeing you at the convention next week!
If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at 612-278-0223 or email@example.com