Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Simplification of the Sales Process: When It's About Selling, Shortcuts Are Not Worth It.

There Are No Shortcuts In Sales.
I had my first job as a salesman at age 19. At that time, I was an "Account Executive" for an advertising agency in Venezuela, or in other words, I belonged to the team of people responsible for taking care of our customers needs at all times.

For us, it was a simple process:

1.- First we had a meeting with the client to understand to the highest detail what exactly they wanted, which were the parameters we had to take into consideration to put together our proposal for them. In brief, we had to collect all required and relevant information so that it would assist us in working on a clear and efficient way.

2.- All this information was then brought back to the agency and presented to the production and creativity teams, along with account supervisors, of course, so that we could all be on the same page and get to work on developing the most appropriate proposal, according to what our client specifically requested.

3. Once both creative and production teams had prepared the corresponding proposal, we all met again so they could explain us all the rationale behind the proposal prepared, all the reasons that had led to the selection of each product and recommended pieces, so that we could have a complete understanding at the time of "selling" the proposal to the client.

4.- Finally we had to schedule a new meeting with the client to make the presentation of the project and "sell it", explaining in detail each of the arguments used by the agency to prepare the project and clearly indicating how, according to our professional criteria, our proposal adhered to each of the guidelines given by the client on the initial meeting, ending of course with the explanation of costs involved and all relevant details.

For us it was extremely important to have the opportunity to meet physically with the client so that we could have the opportunity to explain in detail the work we had done, face to face.

Who can clearly understand what you have done if you do not take the time to explain it thoroughly?

And it was very important to have that meeting with the client to explain our project or proposal, because each of the pieces, and elements on it had a reason to be there: from the headlines used for ads in magazines, to the model chosen for the product picture, everything had been done using our best professional judgment and based on what the client requested.

We really needed our client to completely understand the reason for each thing and how everything, as a whole, had been designed with our best of criteria, so that we could be confident our proposal would meet their needs while allowing them to reach their goals at the same time.

Nowadays, perhaps as a result of the immense amount of technological gadgets we have access to, many companies make the mistake of skipping the steps of the sales process and take the risk of having customers not completely understanding the work they have done, simply because they do not take the time required to explain everything in detail.

When there are no explanations given, anyone can be right. Is that what you want for your customer?

You might be familiar with some of the following phrases: "We already have the proposals for your brand’s logo. We did email them to you. Could you please take a look at them and let us know what you think?"

Or maybe with this one: "The sketch you asked for your product’s website is ready and you can review it clicking the following link. Check it out and tell us if you want to make changes or if you think everything is fine."

Or worse yet: "We have already prepared the economic proposal for the implementation of your project. We have sent it to you by email, copying department managers. When you have the time to look at it, do we discuss it together?"

Perhaps it is because of the ease of being able to communicate with the client via email and send them things, or perhaps because it is so easy to convert almost everything into a .pdf or .jpg file, but the fact is that we have left in our client’s hands one of the most important stages on the sales process: the presentation of our project or proposal.

How can your client correctly value the offer, if they do not know all the reasons backing up your recommendations or the criteria you used to put it all together?

How can your customer know that you chose a particular photograph because it was the one that best suited corporate branding?

Or how can he know the music track you used for the corporate video is in tune with the favorite music of the brand’s target audience?

Avoid the shortcuts: Defend with passion all proposals you prepare for your client, face to face.

If you do your job with professionalism, dedication, passion, and really take into consideration every detail of what the client told you during the initial meeting, there should be then many reasons that could allow you and the company you represent, to clearly differentiate your proposal and help the client perceive with clarity and security, how your proposal will help them achieve their objectives.

If your work is professionally made and meets customer expectations, the price is no longer a problem.

That's why it's so important to take the time to thoroughly explain your work to your client. If you take the time to make a proper presentation and the work is really professionally done, the price ceases to be a problem in most cases.

But if you do not take that time, anything can happen, starting with the fact that your client might feel his project is not important enough to you therefore you are not willing to set time aside on your agenda to meet with your client and explain it.

Remember that successful selling occurs when the customer can make an informed decision, that is, when he knows all the details of your proposal. If he does not have that information, the decision is no longer informed then and you could end up losing the sale.

It is very simple: remember that in sales, as in many things in life, there are no shortcuts.

Do not allow yourself to lose a project in which you and your team have invested a lot of time, because you simply did not have the time to properly present it to your client.

Picture credit : freshidea / ver portafolio

Post I recommend you to read on this blog:
Smoke Selling: My Thoughts About Our Need Of Immediate Success.
Why Do I Have To Sell More If I’m Fine With What I’m Selling Now?

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