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Wednesday focus: The workplace

Yup, sales are more difficult to make these days.

But you still can make those sales in the toughest economy if you take specific, effective steps, says Dave Mattson, chief executive of Sandler Training, which has more than 600 sales training franchisees worldwide.

Mattson and his colleagues offer these sales ideas for tough times:

Name your customer’s pain. The old salesman’s cliche of selling the features and benefits isn’t as effective as figuring out the pain a customer is trying to solve, he added.

“People buy for emotional reasons and justify their purchases intellectually. You’ll make the sale if you attach your value to solving their pain,” Mattson said.

Increase your share. Small businesses can improve their results by working to get more business from existing customers rather than spending all their time seeking new customers, Mattson said. You may have what, for you, is a giant contract with a customer. But what if that contract is only 20 percent of what that customer spends on products and services that you can supply?

Sell in increments. These days your toughest competitor is not another company but customers’ unwillingness to make a decision, he said. You must get them out of that mode so try selling a smaller part that doesn’t seem so costly.

Work backward. These days, consumers and companies put off their purchases until the last minute. You may speed up their purchase decision by drawing on paper a visual time line, starting with the purchase and ending with the actual delivery of the product or service.

“There may be a lot of things that have to happen – purchase the software, customization, training – that it helps to put dates on each step and this helps shrink the selling cycle,” Mattson said.

No is OK. Time is money, so Martinez likes the Sandler method that quickly weeds out people who aren’t interested in his products so he doesn’t spend time following up with them. He can focus on true prospects.

“I tell (a prospect) up front, ‘No is OK. I’d rather have you say you’re not interested than spend 30 minutes wasting your and my time,’ ” said Phil Martinez, president of Mission Packaging in Ontario, Calif., and longtime Sandler client.

Orange County Register


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