SPUD HERE; I guess you got the point, it is a very serious relationship. It is not just a sale this is probably a person you will know the rest of your life hopefully anyway. Residual sales are the most beneficial. It can be hard to listen to everything a person has to say. Sometimes knowledge taught in parables is the best. Curious what type of business do you have? I know you have probably told everyone 100 times but I am new to this forum.
My name is David but I like my nickname. Just call me Spud.
Thanks, Spud! Agreed, residual sales are the most beneficial and recur because of strong, ongoing relationships.
As far as my business, I am an aspiring entrepreneur and not currently a small business owner. I`m a member of the StartupNation team and my primary role is business development and account management. I wanted to share six steps to the sales process, that has worked well for me, with the StartupNation community. The first step- same as in dating- is developing a relationship with the prospect. I will introduce the second step later this week.
Of course, Steve! As I told Rentalbug, I ascribe to the Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage process which would dictate that you are in need of a CREDIBILITY STATEMENT.
I imagine that you have ten seconds to communicate who you are and how wonderful your cookies taste (personally, I love Cherry Almond) so we need to develop an attention getter, quick credibility statement and next step. For example, I told Rentalbug to develop a strong intro statement such as, “I am a rental property expert who enables individual rental property owners to sell out season after season …and I want to help YOU do the same,” and continue with, “Using <insert name of your application/service> Joe’s lake resort was able to increase rentals by 25%. I believe that <insert name of prospect’s company> could achieve similar results…”
I need to know a little more about your business before I can generate a sample. We need a few shocking stats, such as, “X% of consumers suffer from Celiac Disease or wheat allergy, yet only y% of retailers carry gluten free products.” For a strong intro, say something like, “I created Great Taste Gluten Free to help people regain the pleasure they once received from the food they eat and am curious to know if your current assortment appeals to this under-served market?”
I also would like to know your methodology for cold-calling or what is your pre-approach? Do you know if the retailer already offers gluten free products when you come a knockin`? I also need to know more info. about your strategy, e.g. do you prefer to pitch to merchants that already carry gluten free to complement the assortment or is your objective first gluten to retailer? Talk to me, Steve!
Steve, I am kind dealing along the same lines as you are. I have found two successful ways to "cold call" introduce my product and get my foot in the door, don`t know if this helps, or if you could do this with your cookies or not. . .but here is what work for me.
If the store is local, I put together our wholesale info and drop it off with samples. No pressure, I just ask them to give the samples a try and look over our info and call if they are interested. this is how I have picked up most of my accounts. If the store is not local, I send out mailings and then do followup calling. I use envelopes that are clear. I insert an introduction letter and our wholesale info and 1 sample pack. Using the clear envelope allows the recipient to immediately see that there is a sample inside. I then followup with a phone call. I have been pretty picky about who I approach and try to not have any two retail resellers in to close of a proximity of each other. In most cases, they call me before I can call them, it has worked pretty well for us.
Not sure if this helps, but I don`t know how anyone could resist a sample cookie, I know I couldn`t. If you throw in your reseller/product info and possibly a Celiac Disease Brochure, or Gluten info brochure and an individually wrapped sample, might work for you too!
Today I went to a meeting with the number 3 architect firm in Charlotte, NC. I had a meeting with a high level marketing manager. My company has been trying to close this deal for a few years, but always come up short. Today, because of a very casual approach leaving the client feeling like I was going to take care of her every need, she said yes! Yes to everything, and also is going to contact other purchasing agents in the company to recommend looking at our services. This was like great foreplay!
I suspect as long as we deliver on what we discussed in our "vowes" this will be a beautiful relationship.
To my surpise it felt like we had been married for years already. Maybe this was a case of love at first site.
Techinally, I followed what I believe to be the key to selling.
1) Reseach as much about the Co. as possible
2) Who is the competition and what are they doing for the Co.
3) Next part is a little luck. Make the call and ask for a meeting.
4) At the first meeting let the client talk as much as possible, taking notes, and waiting for completion of sentences before talking.
5) Listen for opportunities to offer something that they may not have based on the language presented (for example, today the client was told they could only print on one material for their type of printer. I told them that was a lie and showed them a portfolio of media they could print on. We got to about middle of the samples, and she said WAIT! what is that? It was a piece of Canvas material that could be printed on. She wanted to know if it would work on he machine I said sure! I use it all the time. She was sold immediately, because I knew she was being misled by my competition.)
6) At this point I don`t try to do much more. We have common ground and it is a win/win situation. I will leave the rest of the offering for my next and future visits.
7) This has worked at an almost 100% rate of success in my line of work.
Thanks for sharing your success story, jkdbjj! I love the parallels you drew between the sales process and dating, from “foreplay” to “vows!” You’ve definitely nailed your sales process!
I’ve reverted to the original sales process to which I attribute a ton of success in a new Sales forum topic entitled, “Sales Process- Step Two: Generating Appeal” located here: http://www.startupnation.com/pages/community/forum_posts.asp ?TID=4115&PN=1&TPN=1 If your product or service warrants a consultative approach to selling, please read step two!