Monday, May 19, 2008

Sales and the Art of Rapport - Somewhat random thoughts on being nice and how to get the deal

Rapport during the sales process is something that isn't talked about enough. It is a connection, a commonality, a trust. Rapport is necessary to make a sale, but it becomes important way before a person can approach another and ask then to buy something. Rapport building happens during networking--before the sales process, before quite possibly, your prospect even knows what you do.

A while ago I had the opportunity to attend a talk on sales training. The presenter stressed the importance of first building a rapport and then he dove right into what I would consider a pretty standard "sales" ideal where the salesperson is suppose to not give away anything, and "lead" the prospect to and through the not accept the "nos" or the hesitations.

I shutter at this kind of training because I find it so profoundly irritating when someone tries it on me. Yes, sales should start with building rapport, but part of sales is knowing that you have the right prospect. There is no use in selling something to someone who is unwilling or not ready to buy. If you do succeed in strong-arming them to sign, then you will ultimately end up with an unhappy client. If you don't, then you have wasted your time and theirs.

The best sales are made when the client comes to you--next best is a referral. Both of whom you need to build rapport with... but also you need to maintain that good relationship. You need to maintain that good relationship even after you may have disqualified them as a good client prospect.

Sales is not formulaic. While you may be able to come up with a clever step-by-step chart or catchy acronym, each sale will be different. It has to be...I am different, aren't you?

So what do you need to do to be a good salesperson? Go out, meet people. Join groups and organizations, and participate. Learn what you can about your community and the people in it. Network, be friendly if not friends. Don't fake it. Tell people what you do and ask good questions. Don't sell--explain. If you are able to decipher if they would be a good candidate for your product or service, ask them. If they aren't interested...move on. But don't lose the contact. You never know if they may be a good referral source or customer later on. Even more, you don't know when you may have the opportunity to be a good will ambassador and provide them with a

And lastly--don't be afraid to give something away for free. Many a business was built on samples. Weight loss programs make no secret of the fact that in order to lose weight you will have to eat better and exercise. We all know that. But then they provide the plan and the food... at a cost of course. Have you ever gone to the grocery store and taken a sample of some fresh fruit, cheese spread, or cake? And did you buy it? A lot of the time you do. And the stores do this because it works! So either give away the answer to a person's problem, but make it easier or less expensive for the prospective client to get it from you, or give away a sample...and make it so appealing, the prospect just can't say no to the big piece!

Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Frazzled, frizzled, fried

Hello -- I am still tyring to catch my breath after having to move my entire life to a new laptop -- but in the process I have found a bunch of things that I should have done a long time ago -- making the length of time to complete the arduous task longer, but potentially increasing the quality of the work that I am doing.

--not bad realistically right?

So in lieu of a real entry today, I will refer you today to the one I wrote for my BNI group on one-to-one meetings.

Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Update

I had a wonderful Mother's day weekend and I am trying, still, to get my computer up and running after having my old laptop melt down. It is amazing to my how dependant I have become on a little machine.

I listened to a wonderful program today on NPR about new media and marketing -- I think I would like to write a bit about this--incorporating blogging and other online strategies in the near future.

It is Monday and so I need to go work on invoices so that I can say that I did something today -

Hello to all - and until later....

Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant

Friday, May 09, 2008

Plug and Play

Oh my… there is a lot going on. I have gotten my new laptop (yeah!) - but there is no such thing as “plug and play” for my life. I have too many files, programs, favorites, email accounts and passwords – and as such, I still do not have all my email or all my files, or all my programs (and who knows what else) on this computer. But it is Friday, and even though it is bound to be a busy weekend with relatives in town, a graduation party and mother’s day… I should be able to squeeze in a few minutes to get my life slightly more on track. (Wishful thinking??)

I have been trying to work out more – and my body’s ever-increasing complaints are getting louder. But still it feels good to have pushed myself farther and done more, and I hope to add a long hike or bike ride to the mix this weekend as well. (Am I crazy?)

Summer here is Charlotte has definitely started, and I am enjoying a near 80 degree morning. I do so like the heat and sunshine. I think my optimism is directly related to how much sun I get, because I am pretty optimistic right now despite a long list of things that need to be done.

Things to report: I am now in charge of the Ballantyne BNI newsletter (how did that happen?) I am answering interview questions for another author writing on introversion, my thyroid medicine is now too high and I am no longer sleeping (again), I am going to Vegas in a month AND my house is trashed...

so same old same old....

Meghan Wier
Author Writer Web Consultant