Sale: The exchange of property or services for a determined amount of money .1
- Goals of sales
- What do you want the customer to do?
- What steps are involved in this process?
- Types of closes
- Assumptive close
- Forced choice close
- Ben Franklin close
- Other types
- Who cares?
- Assumptive close
C Other people or organizations D. Government
- Differential Advantage
- Customer Val ue
- Selectivity & Concentration
- 4 Ps
- Sales Questions to be answered in the process of selling
- Who B. What
- F. How
- Sales Dos & Don’ts
- Sales Questions to be answered in the process of selling
- KEEP YOUR WORD
- “I don’t know but I’ll find out and get back to you .”
- KISS method D. ASSUME
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1973.
GOALS OF SALES
Sale Defined: The exchange of property or services for a determined amount of money.
In every sales transaction we have a goal: A SALE. Sales is the process of reaching that goal. To achieve this goal a salesperson has to go through various steps a process which results in a sale. The steps include but are not limited to: establishing rapport and trust, presenting the features and benefits of the product, finding out which benefits are most important to the customer, and establishing value for these benefits.
Rapport is the “warm up” portion of the sales call. This is the time when the salesperson will ask you if you saw the football game last Sunday or if your hobbies include hunting and fishing. He is trying to establish some common ground on which he can relate to the customer. The salesperson is saying to the customer, “See, we are both alike. You have reason to believe what I say.” Ifyou are at the customer’s location (or home) one good thing to do is to look around and see what the customer displays. What picture is hanging on the wall? Which trophies or awards are displayed? From these items all people, including a salesperson can tell what is important to the customer as a person. He is telling you what he feels is his identity . If you genuinely know about, or are sincerely impressed with anything you see it is good to tell the customer so. The customer will realize that you are interested in HIM not just yourself. One final aspect of rapport is “likability”. A good professional salesperson always is likable. Ifyou ever encounter a good professional salesperson in most cases you will like him. It doesn’t matter what product he is selling ,you still like him. He is selling hi mself. This skill is difficult to teach but is important since the final buying decision is often based on emotional rather than objective criteria.
In order to establish trust for the salesperson sales organizations often use their size and their reputation. “Hi, Mr. Adams my name is Kevin Clark. I’m with XYZ Electrical Supply. We’re the largest electrical supply house on the East Coast.” The implication here is that if the company is so large they must be doing something right You as the customer have reason to trust what the salesperson says unless you think or know that the company grew very large by not telling the truth. To counteract the credibility problem salespeople often bring up their company ‘s reputation very early in a sales call. “By the way Mr. Adams, XYZ won the Associated Building Contractors award for customer excellence in 1994.” In this case the customer has even more reason to trust the salesperson if he knows who the Associated Building Contractors (ABC) are. Ifthe customer does not know who ABC is, often the salesperson will tell him, again trying to give the customer reason to trust him. Ifyou cannot establish trust then the customer has no reason to believe the rest of your presentation and you as a salesperson will
be wasting your time. What kind of sentence would you put together to establish trust for PACE Electric?
Feature and benefit selling is a well established sales method. Products have features which provide the customer benefits. “Mr. Adams XYZ’s huge buying power allows us to purchase every item at the best quantity discount from suppliers (feature). This means, Mr. Adams, that you will get the best price on everything we sell (benefit). What are the features and benefits of
PACE Electric? As a salesperson one has to be sensitive to the customer’s feelings about what you say. Ifyou present a feature and benefit which provokes a question or a nod that may be the feature which is important to the customer. A salesperson must be aware of the customer’s changing attitude and focus on the aspects of his presentation which are important to the customer.
Once the salesperson knows which feature(s) of a product are important he then must establish that these features have a value to the customer. “Mr. Adams, if you could get the best price on all your electrical supplies what would that be worth to you?” The salesperson doesn’t necessarily want to answer this question himself but rather let the customer answer and convince himself that the product is valuable to him. Ifthe customer does not do this readily the salesperson then has to jump into the discussion and point out why the product feature is important. “Think of how much money you could save if you got the best price on all your electrical supplies Mr. Adams.”
Once value has been established the salesperson has to “close” the deal. This means the salesperson must ask for the order in some way otherwise no sale will take place unless the customer says “Can I please buy from you?”, which rarely happens. Closing has its own set of skills and is made easy if the salesperson follows the previously mentioned steps. Basically, what the salesperson needs to do is get some form of commitment from the customer. This can
range from signing on the dotted line to a handshake. For a sales call to be considered successful the salesperson must get a commitment to buy from the customer.
CLOSING THE SALE
Closing the Sale: Obtaining a commitment to buy from the customer.
Closing a sale has been raised to an art form in the U.S.. There are many different ways to close a sale. Once you as the salesperson have obtained a commitment for a sale it can be considered closed. In some situations the sale is not considered closed until the company has been paid and sales commissions are not paid until that time. Furthermore, if the situation arises that a refund must be given to a customer the sale can be “unclosed” and the salesperson’s commission taken away or “charged back” Sales organizations often have the problem of decided when a sale is a sale. For our discussion we will consider the initial close of a sale. This is the one which should “stick” most of the time unless your company is doing something unusual or wrong.
TYPES OF CLOSES
l . Assumptive Close: Assumes the customer wants the product. “When would you like us to deliver your fixtures Mr. Adams?” This close works best when the customer is already sold on your product. It can be considered inappropriate or “pushy” if the customer has not yet made up his mind.
- Forced Choice Close: This close is a variation of the assumptive close, however, gives the customer the illusion that he has a say in the buying process (Which he does!). “Would you like that 300 SL in red or gold, Adams?” The forced choice close assumes that the customer wants the item but gives him a choice about a relatively minor product feature.
- Ben Franklin Close: This close is fairly complex and requires some skill. On a blank sheet of paper the salesperson makes a column for advantages and disadvantages of buying a product. He then ask the customer why he would like to have the product if he were to buy it. The
salesperson then writes down all the positive reasons, given to him by the customer for buying. The salesperson can help the customer along by reminding him what he liked about the product if the customer is reluctant it reluctant to speak. “Remember Mr. Adams, you said that you liked
the Bose stereo system in the 300 SL. What else did you like?” After writing down the reasons for buying the product the salesperson then asks, “What are the reasons against buying the 300 SL, Mr. Adams?”, and then he SHUTS UP! The customer is then forced to remember why he might not want the product. Ifthe customer is normal and has an average memory he will be excited about why he should buy the product and have trouble remembering why not to buy it. If the customer does remember why he should not buy the product the salesperson has “isolated”
the objections to the sale and now knows which objections he needs to address in the remainder of his presentation. An additional trick to this process is for the sales person to quickly dismiss most of the objections before writing them down. So once again the salesperson has a long list of advantages and a short list of disadvantages for the customer to buy the product. At this point the sales person can say, “Mr. Adams, based on what you told me here today it looks to me like you really should own a 300 SL. Ifyou wait one minute I’ll see if we have one in stock.”. This close is useful when selling a high ticket or complex item such as a service upgrade.
PRIMER ON MARKETING THEORY
Basic Principles of Marketing: 1. Differential Advantage: One’s differential advantage is that feature or features of one’s product which the customer cannot (or believes he cannot) obtain anywhere else. 2. Customer Value: What is the value one’s customer is getting from the differential advantage. In electrical service work a customer value might be reduced downtime. THERE MUST BE SOME CUSTOMER VALUE (PERCEIVED OR REAL) FOR A
PRODUCT TO BE SUCCESSFUL. 3. Selectivity and Concentration: Once one has determined that the differential advantage has a value to the customer one must decide who, our
of the broad array of players in the marketplace will have the most use for the product. Once this market segment has been determined it is important to concentrate marketing efforts on this segment.
Another useful analytical tool in marketing is analyzing one’s marketing strategy using the 4 P approach . The four Ps of marketing are Product , Price, Place, and Promotion (Sales is one type of promotional strategy .).
Product: This phase of analysis focuses on what your product is, i.e. developing a product that meets the needs of the marketplace (Market Approach) , or finding a market segment which has use for your existing product (Product Approach) . This phase encompasses R & D including market research, use of outside consultants, and development of a prototype for testing . (In PACE’s case for service work this would be development of a prototype service agreement.)
Price: Pricing is a factor which can help determine the success or failure of a new venture. Clearly, one wants to cover costs and make a fair profit , however, other factors also influence price. First, price can be associated with quality of work. For example, would you go to a Dentist who charged $5.00 per filling? In addition, regardless of cost the marketplace often determines price. For example, if the going rate for electrical service work is $45.00/Hr. then PACE is limited to prices within a range of this number, i.e. PACE should not charge $20.00/Hr. even if PACE could make a profit at this figure since not only will this offering be seen as a poor quality product but PACE will leave “money on the table”. Similarly, If PACE charges
$65.00/Hr. for service work PACE may give the perception of high quality to the marketplace but could also be underbid by competitors who have the same differential advantage as PACE.
Place: This phase of market analysis is used more frequently by companies with a physical product to sell, i.e. a copier, a car, or some sort of widget. Nonetheless it is useful to consider PLACE in performing a market analysis for PACE. Since PACE is in a service business the electrical service product is produced as it is consumed and therefore cannot be inventoried for sale at a future date. This fact gives rise to the concept of PLACE for electrical service work. To determine PLACE here one must ask the question, “Where is electrical service work actually sold?” “How is an electrical service contractor obtain?” Since perhaps the decision to use an electrical service contractor is made at the company’s or homeowner’s location at the time the need arises the idea of PACE stickers at a site makes good sense.
Promotion: Once all the other questions have been answered one is ready to consider promotion of the product. This phase can include advertising, sales, telemarketing, couponing, etc.. In selecting a promotional vehicle one must keep in mind: I . How decisions to buy are made in the marketplace and 2. where the product is in its product life cycle (New or existing product). The information one learns about the marketplace during the first 3 phases of market analysis will determine the best promotional vehicles to choose. In other words there is an appropriate time
for using every promotional vehicle in the marketplace.
SALES WHO CARES?
In sales and marketing it is often very important to ask the question, “Who cares?” when making a statement of fact . Ifa PACE Electric service technician says to a customer, “We are going to put in a 200 amp service in your home.” Who cares? and Why should they care?
Customers typically care about the end result of a job. That is, they care if their refrigerator, air conditioner, and electric oven all work at the same time. The customer may not care that it takes a 200 Amp service to make this event happen. So when speaking to a customer about electrical work it is important to let him know what the end result of your labor will be. It is only necessary to go into the details of electrical work when something unusual or different needs to be done. In this case it is important to explain to the customer why he should care about what you are saying. The last statement goes back to feature and benefit selling. The customer cares
about the 200 amp service (feature) only because it makes his appliances work properly (benefit). The customer should care because he will get the result he wants based upon your solution to his problem. He may not care what you have done if his electrical service does not work!
Service technicians (salespeople) want to ask “Who cares?” when dealing with customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer can lead to repeat business for the service technician as well as for PACE Electric. A satisfied customer could very likely call and say, “Mr. Service Manger , you did my service upgrade and now I want to put in a ceiling fan. Could you send Ken Adams he did a good job last time.” Service technicians needs to care if the customer is happy with the solution to his electrical problem since not only payment for the work done then, but for
payment for future work is derived from a satisfied customer. In other words a customer has dollar value beyond just the one job we do for him in the present. A service technician also might care if a customer is satisfied because the service technician takes pride in his work and wants not only the money but the recognition that he has done a good job.
Other people care how a customer is treated and if he is satisfied. It is often said in sales that one satisfied customer may tell 1 or 2 others about the good work PACE Electric did for him but one dissatisfied customer will tell 10 or 20 other people about his bad experience with PACE. Think of yourself out for the evening talking with the guys about your experiences over a beer. Do you normally say, “Boy I the salesman I talked to at DEF Motors was really helpful to me when I was out car shopping.” Or do you say more frequently, “That pushy bastard at XYZ Motors tried to make me buy a car.” How many of your friends would you send to XYZ Motors in the last case? How many acquaintances or barroom buddies would you send? If you are normal you will probably tell a lot more people how bad your experience with XYZ was than how good your experience with DEF was.
The government cares about customer satisfaction as well. This fact has lead to lemon laws for cars, waiting periods for certain types of sales (e.g. aluminum siding), and regulation of the telemarketing industry. If a dissatisfied customer is so inclined he can report you to the attorney general and you as a service technician and PACE electric will be asked to explain why the customer is unhappy.
THE QUESTIONS OF SELLING
There are six basic questions which arise in all sales transactions. They are: Who, What, When , Where, Why, and How. These questions must be answered by the salesperson during the course of a presentation and close in order for the sale to take place. Consider a service upgrade from 50 Amps to 200 Amps.
Who needs it? A homeowner who wants to run several electrical appliances at once.
This question relates to the selectivity and concentration portion of marketing theory. Ifone homeowner needs something there are probably others with the same needs.
What does he need? A service upgrade. This question relates to the product section of marketing theory . Is a service upgrade to 200 Amps what the customer needs? Could he get by with 150 Amps. Does he need any other electrical work done in order to solve his problem. The service technician in this case serves as a product development specialist to present products to the homeowner which will solve his electrical problems . Remember to keep in mind feature and benefit selling when presenting new ideas (products) to the customer.
When does he need it? This is up to the customer but from a salesperson’s point of view he needs it as soon as possible since the salesperson will generally not get paid until the sale is made. From the customer’s point of view he needs the service upgrade when he wants to run his air conditioner, electric oven, and washer-dryer at the same time. Ultimately the customer needs the work done at his convenience.
Where does he need it? First of all the customer will need a service upgrade at his home. He may need other work done at other locations (e.g. summer house, garage, tools shed). This question relates to the place portion of marketing theory. The customer may need electrical work done in the future at his home so it is a good idea to attach PACE Electric stickers to his
electrical panels if you have worked on them. This is the place where a decision about future electrical work is likely to be made.
Why does he need it? He needs it to solve the problems created by his desire to run several appliances at one time. A customer may also need service work done because his house is old and needs new wiring or because the people who built his home did not plan for the customer’s future electrical needs. As a salesperson the service technician always wants to know why a customer wants something so that the service technician can propose innovative solutions to problems and possibly get more work.
How will the job be done? The service technician will install new equipment, efficiently,
neatly , correctly and professionally. There is nothing which annoys customers more than calling a contractor and having to call back because some problem arose with the contractor’s work. A service professional will always consider how he does a job not only to solve the customer’s electrical problem but also with consideration to the customer’s needs (i.e. not having the electricity turned off during dinner, cleaning up around your work site.)
SALES DOS & DON’TS
ATTITUDE!!! Attitude is the most important aspect of sales. There are some basics which are part of any successful salesperson’s attitude. First, you, the service technician are a professional. You have quality service and skill to offer the customer. You are neat, clean and courteous to the customer. You conduct yourself in a professional manner. Second, you care about your customer’s needs more than anything else except your own personal safety. You want to know how you can make this person happy he chose PACE electric and that PACE electric sent you on the job . Ifyou keep these attitudes in mind you can derive any sales techniques you care to use
to further your sales goals.
KEEP YOUR WORD!!! This means do what you say you will do when you say you will do it. Customers don’t mind delays as much when they are informed of them in advance. Don’t tell your customer you will have the work done today then tell him later on that you can’t finish until tomorrow. Tell him up front how long the work will take. You may even want to leave yourself some extra time so that you will be prepared if any unforeseen circumstances arise during the
job . Ifyou do not know the answer to a customer’s question DON’T B.S.. Tell the customer you don’t know but will find out for him and get back to him, then do it! These behaviors tell the customer that you and PACE Electric are professional and care about him. Ifyou keep your word the credibility problem discussed in THE GOALS OF SALES will be solved.
KISS YOUR CUSTOMERS KISS stands for Keep It Super Simple. Don’t overload your customers with a lot of technical jargon which he will not understand. He is paying you to understand it and solve his problem. That is what he wants!
DON’T ASSUME If you are unsure of a customer’s wishes with respect to your work ask. To ASSUME makes and ASS of U and ME. Get it?!