A successful sales presentation starts with careful preparation and ends with guaranteeing customer satisfaction, says Shari Posey, president of Executive Insights, an audio-tape production company in Long Beach, California, specializing in products for entrepreneurs. Her first product is a six-tape set, Start Up & Stay Up: Success Secrets of 17 Entrepreneurs, (Executive Insights, $39.95, 800-SELF CEO). Here are Posey's top five sales strategies:
1. Write out your sales presentation. Making a sales presentation "isn't something you do on the fly," warns Posey. Always use a written presentation. Think about the six major selling points of your product or service. Develop leading questions to probe your customer's reactions and needs to each selling point. "This will help you determine what objections your prospect might have, so you can show how your product or service can meet their needs."
2. Write down objections. Show your prospect you are truly listening to what they are saying by writing down their objections. In this way, you can specifically answer their objections by showing how they will benefit from your product or service. It could be, for instance, by saving money, raising productivity, increasing employee motivation, or increasing their company's name recognition.
3. Offer a first-time incentive. Offer your prospect something significant, so if they do like your product or service, they'll be inclined to make a decision now, rather than wait a few days or put off the decision indefinitely. First-time incentives might include: "10 percent off with your purchase today" or "With today's purchase, you'll receive one free hour of consultation."
4. Offer a 100-percent guarantee. Let your customers know their satisfaction is guaranteed. "A good return policy minimizes customer objections and shows that you believe in your product or service," says Posey. Product guarantees should be unconditional and should not include hidden clauses, like "guaranteed for only 30 days." You can use a guarantee even if you're selling a service: "Satisfaction guaranteed. You'll be thrilled with our service or we'll redo it at our expense."
5. Close with two choices: Rather than ask, "How does this sound?," give your prospect a choice. For example, if you're selling educational books to preschool owners, ask if they want to purchase the book series or the book and tape series together. When they state their choice, write the order. "Your prospect is not likely to stop you," Posey explains, "because mentally they realize they've committed and they've said 'yes.' "