BIZTIPS - January 7, 2007

Biz Tips: Sales Tips Always Fresh
Sunday, Jan. 7, 2007
By Art Hill

Sometimes sound business advice comes from unlikely sources. For example, the January edition of the Costco Connection has a great little 2-page article by Erin Flynn subtitled "Selling for the Non-Salesperson."

Don't let the subtitle fool you. I've known and managed plenty of sales professionals who need these tips. The best ones keep tips like these tacked up above their phone, or scribbled on their bathroom mirror.

Here are a few samples. Like a doctor, author Allan Boress recommends that we "Find out where it hurts." Ask questions. You aren't there to shove something down somebody's throat, you're there to solve your customer's problem, and you won't know what it is unless you ask questions about it.

My colleague and I recently presented a training client with a proposal they had requested. As we talked about their recent business activity, they came up with another area where they needed help. One proposal became two proposals.

Another tip, this time from Roy Chitwood, founder of an international sales consulting firm. Figure out how to show your customer "What will it do for me?" Believe me, they might seem interested in features, but they're thinking about benefits. Business owners are often dazzled by the brilliance of their own products and services, but to the customer it's a big "So What?" unless they can see real benefits. Sell the benefits, not the product. For many luxury car buyers, the benefit is not the advanced technology under the hood. It's the message that they're successful enough to afford it.

My favorite tip comes from Warren Greshes, author of "The Best Damn Sales Book Ever." Mr. Greshes says simply "Tell everyone you know what you do." This doesn't mean boring or overwhelming your friends. It just means that people know people who need your products and services, but if they don't know what you do, how can they help you connect? Just tell them, and if they're interested, give them a card or note so they can pass it on. Their e-mail address can be priceless for follow-up.

This tip is my favorite because I see it work week in and week out. A colleague told me that the last time they were shipping packages, one of the clerks asked about their product image on the return address label because they had been wondering where they could buy some. My friend told them a little about the business and asked for their e-mail address to send more information. Presto! New customer.

More tips at www.costcoconnection.com. While the January edition is current, click on "Contents" at the top of the screen, then "Birth of a Salesman" on page 30. Best wishes for a joyous and prosperous New Year.


Content © 2007 East Oregonian