Sales Call Advice
Shared by: redheadwaitress
Sales Call Advice (Even some helpful hints for internationals, too) by Mike Tomasello April, 2001 I. What’s the key to a successful sales call? Preparation. Preparation. Preparation. I’ve seen some AIESEC members be naturals or learn to master the 5 step sales model but for some reason, it’s come times easy to forget how important is prep for the call. Knowing as much as possible about what the company does, the extent of their international operations or plans for growth, their operations locally, who they typically hire, if AIESEC has done business with them in the past internationally and/or nationally and in what ways will not only show the company that you are knowledgeable & interested about their business, it builds credibility, & it will also give you strong hints as to what questions you should ask while discovering their needs during the call. II. OK, so you actually found the building…what do you start with after you’re finished talking about the weather? The Headline: Step #2 of the 5 step sales model makes a big difference. It’s your opportunity to summarize what you have already told the contact about AIESEC previously in setting up the call as well as the opportunity to PEAK a contact’s interest just as a newspaper headline would. If you can’t peak someone’s interest in 2-3 sentences, they might not be willing to answer all of your questions or give you much time at all. Let the prospect do the talking: Americans can be self-centered. They like to hear themselves talk. So, likely your potential customer is either going to want to talk about their company, what they do, or maybe even themselves. This is one of the many reasons that great salespeople recommend that you let your prospect do 60-75% of the talking & why questions are so essential. A good transition between the Headline and Discovering Needs is usually along the lines of “Before I go into more details about our program, I’d like to find out a little more about what you and your company does so that we can determine if you have any needs that AIESEC can fill.” III. Discovering Needs: Step #3 is Questions. Questions. Questions. Unless you already know the contact and exactly what they do, it is normally good to start asking them about what they do in their position or what their department does? This will tell you immediately whether or not you are meeting with a decision maker, what they are responsible for, and likely which areas of AIESEC will be more applicable to them. I normally recommend that you make a list of questions on your notes before you go into the sales call. That way you are less likely to forget a question, helps if you get nervous, & allows you to check them off as you go. Always try to ask questions that build off of what you have already researched. Not only is a good way to build credibility, but those questions also tend to yield the most productive answers in determining needs. ALSO, if there was something that you attempted to research but couldn’t find anywhere, that’s probably a question that you want to ask! Here are some great questions that are normally great for discovering needs: What aspects of the company’s business are done at this location? What are the most common positions that you hire for? What are the positions that you have difficulty hiring for? Are there any positions within your company/department that tend to have high turnover? What experience and/or skills do you look for when hiring that position (when they mention a position that you think may be suitable for AIESEC)? Does your company and./or department do any short term projects? Do you do have any operations or do any business internationally? Do you have any plans to expand internationally? If you could be a bridge, what kind of bridge would you be and why? (OK, just joking on that one) Does your office do any international recruiting? How much does your company spend on average when recruiting for entry-level or Junior positions? IV. Presentation This step involves taking the needs that you learned about during the “Discovering Needs” portion and presenting how AIESEC can address those specific needs. Presentation does not mean that you present every single detail of the AIESEC program to your contact. V. The Close, We’re going home with something! Where do most sales people screw up? They don’t ask for the sale. There are a number of ways to close. It is usually best to ask for the sale immediately after making the presentation or following your handling of an objection. It is recommended that you suggest a time to get back in touch with the contact so that you can make sure they don’t take too long to get back to you (if they are interested). If they are not interested, I always recommend saying “Is it all right if I give you a call back in a few months to see if your needs have changed?” No one has ever said no to this. Also, if the contact indicates that she/he needs to speak to someone else before they can make a decision, always say “If it would be helpful, I would be happy to come in again and explain the program to <<insert name here>> and yourself”. There’s an old saying in sales, Always leave with something…even if you have to steal a pen. So, if you can’t make the sale, make another appointment, ask for a referral, help in some other way, etc. VI. Handling Objections Objections can happen at various times during the call. Most people think Objections are a bad sign. Actually, sometimes it indicates interest. If you can address the objection, you can usually turn handling the objection into a close. One thing to watch for is a false objection. Sometimes the contact doesn’t bring up the real issue with why they are not ready to buy. Through answering the objections, it is up to you to uncover what the real issue is. For example, the Cost is RARELY ever an issue since AIESEC is such a cost effective program and normally saves money. VII. Other things to keep in mind during the sales call. Your Body Language. Lean forward and take notes so that the contact knows that what they say is important to you. The Contact’s body language. At times, contact went long periods without smiling or looking interested. It should serve as an indicator that something is wrong (she is confused, doesn’t care about what you are talking about, doesn’t agree, or is unhappy). In this case, you probably were just telling her more information than she needed to know. In the US, the culture prefers very direct answers to questions. People tend to think you are trying to hide something if you don’t directly answer the question. It’s OK to give a little extra information if you really think it is important, but make sure the focus is on answering their question.