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Welcome to the WISE newsletter, a program of
The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University
 

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

WISE2006: How to Sell Better Than Your Competition and Feel Comfortable Doing It

Jennifer Peterson is the founder of Visible Solutions, a janitorial services company. She worked in academia prior and decided that she needed a change. The company was begun in the late 1990s and is still going strong.

Peterson’s keys points:


  • Target your customers & their needs – find out their specific needs. Peterson gave an example of getting an account because she asked what the client needed and did not assume. Ask what they want; don’t tell them what they need.

  • Be picky – Be selective about who you want as customers. Is it a good fit for you?

  • Find out why your customers buy. It is to solve a specific need? What will your customers gain from your product or service?

  • If you fear selling, think about what can be done to change or eliminate your fear. Take action to address your fears.

  • Find enthusiasm for your business. If you are enthusiastic, your customers will be enthusiastic. Consider creating a list of customer benefits.

  • Start small – practice your sales pitch in front of friends and family.

  • Keep track of your successes. Keep memories, notes, or mementos that will remind you of your successes.

  • Throw a party to bring people/customers together and use it as a way for them to learn more about your and your business. Don’t want to throw a party? Create some other type of networking event.

  • Stay focused – remember why you started the business.

  • Find and work your niche.

  • Selling is one of the top three things you need to do. You must sell to bring in new business and keep your business from getting stale. It will get your through any lulls. You need to consistently do sales either on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Remember to keep in touch, too, with your old/existing clients.

Stages of action:


  • Get people interested in your product and services.

  • Find a way of standing out from the crowd.

  • Desire - Make people want your stuff.

  • Conviction – Get recommendations

  • Action – Ask for the order – Don’t just tell them what you can do. You must ask for the order. Ask them to do business with you.

  • Figure out what type of customer you are dealing with (e.g., decisive, inquisitive, rational, expressive) and then sell to that customer appropriately. Interact with you clients in the ways they want. Use the language and style that they want.

Opening strategies:

  • Be brief

  • Be prepared

  • Ask questions

  • Be probing

  • Show how you can solve their problems

Closing the sale strategies:


  • Assume that everything is on track. Assume that they have made a decision and that the contract is yours.

  • Give the customer a choice of services with the assumption that that will take either one (and use your services).

  • Summary close – you want to get a “no” at the end. “You want blah blah blah, is there anything else I can do for you?”

  • Offer a deal – order today and I can offer X.

Other thoughts:


  • Answer questions with specific details. Talk about benefits.

  • Set a deadline for the sale. Don’t let the customer drag out the sale. Remember that time is money.

  • Look for ways to service your customer better.

  • Be accessible and visible. Don’t disappear.

  • Built rapport.

  • Remember that one size (one technique) doesn’t fit all (or work in every situation).

  • Peterson mentioned the books by Jeffrey Gitomer and recommended them as a way of learning about sales.

  • Remember to network and to take opportunities to learn from others.

  • A part-time business will yield part-time results.






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