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The Small Sales Techniques That Make a Big Difference

When the economy is slow, it's the little things that really count in your sales tactics.
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This story appears in the May 2003 issue of Startups. Subscribe »
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Too often, sales books and seminars do not bother covering the small, seemingly trivial sales techniques that make a big difference. These sales techniques mustn't be passed over and are as important as ever for the teen entrepreneur trying to gain traction in tough economic times. Let us touch on a few of these strategies that will help accelerate your sales endeavors:

  • Exude professionalism at every contact. During a slow sales season, many businesspeople try to double the number of pitches they make, looking to make the numbers or objectives. Consequently, as the salesperson works extra hard to make new calls and close existing leads, the small bits and pieces may fall off. Don't let professionalism be one of them. Your prospects are more risk-adverse than ever in these times--any lack of professionalism (be it in an e-mail, meeting or invoice) at any contact can lead to lugubrious sales success and lost opportunities.
  • Pitch to anyone who can help, not just buyers. Limiting yourself to meeting only with the folks who will directly purchase your product or service is a mistake. Pitching to the trade associations, retired C-level executives and anyone who influences the active buyers can make getting over the hump of accessing the buyer a little easier.
  • Ding them when it counts. hopefully, you have a systematic way of following up on leads. Many times, the organization procuring your good or service will delay a final decision until they have a better sense as to how much money they can set aside to purchase your product. In all midsized to large organizations, there usually is a fairly significant budget process that occurs once a year. At that time, managers receive allotments of cash to pursue different projects. You must know when "budget season" takes place in your industry, and be sure to drop a reminder note to your prospects during that process. As organizations tighten their belts, being a line item on the budget is an absolute must. Enhance your chances of achieving that goal by strategically timing your follow-ups.

These are some techniques that you can deploy now. If you can combine these little strategies with sound pre-qualification of leads, a stellar "knock your socks off" presentation, and strategic and professional follow-up, you can reap accelerated sales in an economic downturn.

Fourteen-year-old Ben Casnocha is founder, CEO and chairman of Comcate Inc., a San Francisco firm focused on providing technology solutions for local governments. His work has been profiled in more than 50 magazines, newspapers, radio stations, TV outlets and Web sites nationwide. Got something to squawk about? Write to Casnocha at ben@comcate.com.

Edition: May 2017

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