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Sales Strategies

Sharon Day is President of Greenville-based Sales Activation Group. They help companies who are frustrated with their current team’s performance and/or turnover, teaching a strategic process for revenue generation and employee development.  For more information call 864.293.6633 or e-mail: sharon@2activatesales.com

Should you make that presentation?

So your prospect has granted you an appointment and asked you to present your ideas.  Sounds like you're one step closer to a sale, but are you really?  Before you ever make a presentation and share your pricing answer these italicized questions.  
What are their specific needs?
Comments like: "we're experiencing some difficulty with our current supplier"; "we're planning budgets and need to understand all of our options"; "we need more storage space and are ready to upgrade", are not real needs. They are only indicators of underlying issues, nothing more. Ask questions like these to determine needs.
What does 'difficulty with your current supplier' mean exactly? How is that impacting your business?  Your team?  Your efficiencies?   
When you assessed your current system, what was lacking? How would having those items help you and impact your bottom line?
Why is it that you need more storage space?  What happens if you don't expand?  If they don't admit to having a need, you can stop the conversation right there, they won't make a purchase.
What's their budget?
If they won't share a budget with you, beware.  Anyone who is planning a purchase has an idea of what they'll spend and if they're truly in the market to buy, they'll give you a dollar figure. If they won't, they aren't serious about buying. You can give them some price ranges based on other customers in similar situations to see if they'll at least agree to a range they'd spend. If they have no money, they can't buy, so move on.

When will they make the purchase?
Is there a malfunction resulting in an immediate need for replacement?  Are they planning to expand in the next six months?   When you hear 'we're in the market, or looking to buy, or need three bids', realize that doesn't really mean they'll be purchasing anything any time soon.  Ask:
Why now?  Why then?  So, what happens if you wait another six months?   Understanding the real timeline allows you to properly forecast.  Don't kid yourself, if they can wait to make the purchase, they likely will.
Who will make the final decision?
You need to understand who is involved in deciding which supplier is selected.  Present to the decision maker(s).  Ask:
Who else will assist you in making the final decision?  How about anyone else?  So, when will I be presenting to the group?
Stand firm on this, you want to present to the decision makers so you're the one to answer questions, etc.  If you haven't been speaking with the decision maker you need to get face time with them and start over at the top with your questions and get confirmation of what you've learned from others.
Take the time to get these answers.  That's when you'll be one step closer to making the sale.

11/12/2012 8:46AM
Should you make that presentation?
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