buyer & seller relationship

It doesn’t matter what you sell. Whether it’s widgets or watermelons, we all face the same challenge — connecting with our customers and getting our message across.

 

I’ve devised a simple way to do this. I never forget my PAL: the Purpose, Audience and Logistics of every sales call. This is the same method I use when preparing for any kind of presentation — from a one-on-one meeting to a full-fledged “dog and pony show” with visual aids. You can do it, too.

Purpose

The first point to remember is the P: Always keep your Purpose in mind. Do you want to:

Generate sales leads?

Sell a new product to an existing customer?

Get a first order from a new customer?

Being very clear on the purpose of your sales call or sales presentation will make sure you are prepared with the right information to get your message across to your prospect. Do some homework.

  • Does your product meet the need your client has?
  • Are they using a similar product now? If so, how is yours positioned to make them change?
  • If your purpose is to get referrals from an existing customer, what’s in it for them?

Proper planning in advance of your meeting and having a specific purpose will help you avoid wasting time when you are making your presentation, and it will let your customers know that you are interested enough in their needs to have prepared well in advance.

Audience

Next, learn to think of your prospect as the audience. Your objective is to make a meaningful connection with an audience that will lead to the accomplishment of your ultimate purpose:

  • Have the necessary back-up materials, facts and figures easily at hand to make your points. Don’t fumble and start to pull apart your briefcase.
  • Be well prepared in advance for all possible situations.
  • If you are asked a question you cannot answer, always be truthful. Say you’ll get the information and get back in touch promptly — and do so. (What a great wat to ensure you will have at least one more contact with this prospect!)
  • If your meeting has a preset time limit, keep to it.
  • If it’s open-ended, remember that your prospects still want you to make your points in a clear and concise manner, letting them know that you are considerate of his or her time.

Logistics

Knowing the logistics of your sales call in advance can save you a lot of grief later:

  • If you will be using visual aids, be certain you have the proper equipment including laptop fully charged, cables to connect to inhouse monitors or projectors, extra extension cords or anything else that might botch your presentation.
  • If you will be making a presentation at your prospect’s place of business for the first time, you might want to make a pre-visit to the area to familiarize yourself with:
    • Travel time
    • Where to park
    • Meeting room setup
    • Meeting room facilities. Is there a white board? Is there an easel for any physical charts or samples you will bring?
      Often, a friendly receptionist or the prospect’s assistant will be able to show you the space and help ensure everything you need is available
  • Plan to arrive early for your presentation so you have plenty of time to set up and make sure everything is 100% ready.

Finally, be prepared:

  • Be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Be prepared to answer questions you might never have encountered before.
  • Be prepared to be at your best.

And don’t forget your PAL.