March '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 7 M A R C H P R I N T W E A R || 23 STRATEGY 3: BE AGREEABLE Customers ask questions. It is part of the buying process. They state objections and questions to get more information from you. When they ask something, agree with them and then provide your answer. If they make a point that has the potential to stop the process, continue the conversation by saying, "That is a good point. On the other hand, we…" You are ac- knowledging their concern and then addressing it directly, without being negative. STRATEGY 4: LITTLE YES'S LEAD TO A SALE If you can get a few yes's from your customer throughout the conversation, it increases your chances of getting the order at the end of the chat. In sales jargon, these are called micro com- mitments. There are patterns of communication that help you build these yes answers into the discussion in a way that feels natural. When the customer tells you what color product they want, confirm that by saying, "You prefer the navy blue, right?" Naturally, they will say yes. "We are putting the logo on the left chest, correct?" They will say yes again. After you know whether they want you to deliver the order, ship it, or if they are picking it up, get another yes by double checking the due date. STRATEGY 5: GIVE THEM THE HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE Every team knows that there is an incredible advantage to the home field. Offer to meet with customers at their home field: their business. People feel most comfortable when they are in their environment. Come in as a guest instead of a salesperson, and you will be treated as a guest. Invite the customer to bring as many people to the meeting as they want. By allowing them to outnumber you, it increases their comfort level in dealing with you. Finally, show up with something to hand them, even if it is nominal. Some people take in a ball cap with a regional design on it; others bring in candy. STRATEGY 6: WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME? What's in it for me (WIIFM) has been around for as long as salespeople because it matters. Accept the fact that you have to make sure that the person you are working with is getting what they need out of the deal. And what they need may be different than what you would expect. They may need to look good to their boss. They may need to reduce the budget for their next order. They may need to increase the budget. They may need to have a 100 percent guarantee that the order will be on time. They may need to be able to look like a hero in their organization for coming up with a new product. You can ask, "What do you need to make this deal work for you?" Listen carefully to their answer so that you can then build their need into the conversation. Even producers can learn to be successful salespeople. Once you understand that custom- ers have zero interest in your sales process, you are well on your way. Your customers have a problem to solve or need to fill. When you flip your thinking to understand their buying process to identifying and meeting their needs, the sales conversation shifts from "buy my stuff," to "here's how we can help you with that." Sales is a one-sided process. Problem solving involves two sides working together to solve the challenge or meet the need. By aligning yourself with the customer instead of across from them, you become their partner and a much more valuable resource for them, both now and for years to come.

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