| Home | Free Articles for Your Site | Submit an Article | Advertise | Link to Us | Search | Contact Us |
This site is an archive of old articles

    SEARCH ARTICLES
    Custom Search


vertical line

Article Surfing Archive



Selling Professional Services - Articles Surfing

Speak to almost any self employed professional and most of them will say that they love their job but don't care much for selling their services. Here's some advice to help all those reluctant professionals who need to sell to clients.

A powerful presentation can mean the difference between securing a contract and losing one. Always keep in mind that your customers will be inundated with competitors wanting to present their case for stealing your business.

Giving a presentation is one of the most feared events in Western society. In surveys of people's fears, death is usually ranked around number six. Giving a presentation is usually number one. Don't feel alone, this is a common experience. Ensure, before a presentation or meeting with a client that you have done everything you can to be prepared.

As you go through the following four steps, think of the practical issues of your specific service, how can you implement these steps, what else could you do? In order for this module to be effective you have to work through it and not just read it. Use this as your opportunity to become a great presenter.

Selling Professional Services Step 1: Be prepared

Before you go into a business meeting spend some time getting prepared.

What is your product and its features?
Who is your client and what are their needs?
How are you provide a solution to your clients needs?
Why are you the best option for your client?
Identifying reason why they might not want your product and how you might respond to them.
Make sure you will be able to deliver on the promises you make.
Be professional in making appointments, or use someone who can.

Selling Professional Services Step 2: Make a Great Presentation

Of course you are not going to make the perfect presentation at your first attempt.

Start out by giving a brief presentation to your friends, stating your name and address. Follow this with a brief five-minute presentation on your life and interests. Make a habit of giving brief presentations. Despite all the discomfort, you will gradually get into the swing of it. Face that which you fear, and eventually the fear is removed.

When making a presentation to customers, focus on the benefit. Do not mention the cost. Can you imagine trying to sell Leadership Coaching programs for groups of executives in the same company at '100,000 per annum? The simple fact is that nobody has got '100,000 to spend on Leadership Coaching. Therefore, do not talk about the cost. Focus on the benefit. The skills acquired by executives during the program will lead to greater sales, lower costs and greater profits, i.e. greater managerial ability for the foreseeable future. In fact, the program guarantees an increase in profit of '1 million in the first year of the program. If you focus on the benefits of increased managerial skills, and the '1 million added to the bottom line, then the '100,000 cost of the program does not seem excessive. By the time we have focused on the benefit, then the '100,000 is mentioned at the end of the presentation as a mere detail.

Keep using expressions along the lines "what this means to you is...", "what this means to you is that sales will be increased by 20 per cent, what this means to you is that costs will be reduced by 20 per cent, what this means to you is that you will have the holiday of a lifetime, etc.".

Your prospective customer is permanently tuned in to his or her favorite radio station, WIIFM - What's In It For Me? Listen carefully for feedback. Look for benefit as perceived by your customer. You cannot set goals for other people, but you can use the powers of love and suggestion on other people. The customer must feel that you are acting in his or her best interests. You can suggest to your customer that certain benefits work to their advantage.

Be positive. Be excited and enthusiastic about your product or service. Speak confidently.

Dress for success. Be sure to present your product or service in its best light.

Use mega-credibility - who has already used the product successfully, offer recommendations from other customers, present lists of clients, stories of satisfied customers, and independent verification from other companies, research institutes, universities. You cannot offer too much credibility. Nobody wants to be the first sucker to give it a try! Use your judgment to offer trial closes as follows: "is this the kind of thing you had in mind?" "Is this the kind of idea that could be of interest to you?" "Is this what you were looking for?" "Does that make sense to you?" If you can get the prospective customer to nod or agree in any other way to one of these questions, then you are well on the way to making a sale.

As well as appealing to your prospective customer's desires, you could also use a little bit of fear. You could mention the fact that your customer's competitors have already done it!

Finally, be prepared to handle all possible objections.

Step 3 Know how to handle objections

One of the scariest parts of the presentation is the possibility of the customer saying no thanks. The truth is you are probably expecting it anyway. Be prepared for it. Practice what you'll do when someone says no. So they think they are not interested. It is up to you to show them why they they do. Your initial reaction could be that you are not going to make the sale. This is incorrect. You have to understand that an objection is a request for more information. As long as the customer is objecting, you are selling. Only when the customer disappears have you possibly lost the sale. Most objections are simply requests for more information. "It's not in the budget" means "can you invoice me at a later date?" Familiarize yourself with the objections that customers usually make.

Rehearse your replies.

Compliment your customer for the objection along the lines "that's an excellent question ... that's an interesting observation ...".

Handle the objection along the following lines: "many people felt that way at first, but this is what they found ... that's exactly what some of my biggest customers suggested at first, but this is what they found..".

Then, produce the evidence, produce the proof, handle the objection.

For further ideas of how to handle objections, simply think back to the last time you went to look at cars and the sales person would just not take no for an answer. Car sales people are especially good at handling objections.

Selling Professional Services Step 3: Know how to handle objections

One of the scariest parts of the presentation is the possibility of the customer saying no thanks. The truth is you are probably expecting it anyway. Be prepared for it. Practice what you'll do when someone says no. So they think they are not interested. It is up to you to show them why they they do. Your initial reaction could be that you are not going to make the sale. This is incorrect. You have to understand that an objection is a request for more information. As long as the customer is objecting, you are selling. Only when the customer disappears have you possibly lost the sale. Most objections are simply requests for more information. "It's not in the budget" means "can you invoice me at a later date?" Familiarize yourself with the objections that customers usually make.

Rehearse your replies.

Compliment your customer for the objection along the lines "that's an excellent question ... that's an interesting observation ...".

Handle the objection along the following lines: "many people felt that way at first, but this is what they found ... that's exactly what some of my biggest customers suggested at first, but this is what they found..".

Then, produce the evidence, produce the proof, handle the objection.

For further ideas of how to handle objections, simply think back to the last time you went to look at cars and the sales person would just not take no for an answer. Car sales people are especially good at handling objections.

Selling Professional Services Step 4: Closing that deal

A customer is someone who is willing and able to purchase the benefit you offer. In a successful sales presentation, you eventually reach the point when it is time to ask for action, time to close that deal. You may or may not have already tried one or two trial closes.
The following approaches are popular when it comes to closing:

You could try an invitational close:
"should we complete the paperwork ...
should we arrange delivery ...
should we give it a try ...?"

You could try an assumptive close:
"let's arrange the delivery ...
let's complete the paperwork".

Perhaps the most popular approach is the alternative close:
"will you be paying by cash, cheque or credit card ...
the blue one or the red one ...
the deluxe or standard ...
were you thinking of holding the program before or after Christmas?"

Another approach to the alternative close is the minor point or secondary close:
"will you take it with you now or would you like us to deliver ...
did you want it with the hardback or the soft back?"

It is extremely important to note that once the customer is considering the answers to these questions, the purchasing decision has already been made. You have made the sale. We are now discussing mere details. On occasion you will be able to identify a hot button close where the customer has got to buy the product because it's red in color, and it's the only red one he or she has seen in two months.

On occasion the customer makes it perfectly clear that he or she must have that armchair because it is the exact same color as the curtains and the carpet in the living room. Given the chance, go for the hot button close. Identify the most attractive feature to the customer and keep talking about that feature. Finally, congratulate the client on making such an excellent selection. Then make an additional sale to the same customer.

Remember to follow up, you may not sell on the first visit or first occasion. Make a decision to go the extra mile, make the second effort, follow up your initial approach.

Contact the prospective customer once again within three days. You can always reopen a negotiation with new information, new price, new terms, a better offer following discussions with your boss. Keep your customer informed. Educate your customer to appreciate the benefit you offer and your competitive advantage. After making a sale, contact the customer within four weeks with a view to making the next sale. Follow up direct mail with a telephone call. Follow a presentation, visit or discussion with a note, small gift or a "thank-you" card. Many businesses have been completely turned around by the simple technique of getting each salesperson to send out a number of thank you cards every Friday afternoon. Remember that it is activities which lead to sales. Ensure that your final contact with the customer is always positive.

The customer must appreciate that you are caring, courteous and considerate. Do not be afraid to ask for referrals. Referrals alone can guarantee a successful business. Every customer should be able to recommend you to two additional prospective customers. Use your existing customers to create a golden chain. Ask your satisfied customers to provide you with a reference, an endorsement of your product, something on paper which you can use to give you mega-credibility with prospective customers.

Submitted by:

Ben Botes

Learn more at http://www.my1stbusiness.com/sales-letter/landing2.htmBen Botes MSc. MBA, is an Entrepreneur, Speaker, Writer, Coach and academic. He is the founder of My1stBusiness.com, South African Business Hubs Join the My1stbusiness.com Reseller Program and earn 40% referral commission http://www.my1stbusiness.com/affiliate Read Ben's Blog



        RELATED SITES






https://articlesurfing.org/marketing2/selling_professional_services.html

Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).










ARTICLE CATEGORIES

Aging
Arts and Crafts
Auto and Trucks
Automotive
Business
Business and Finance
Cancer Survival
Career
Classifieds
Computers and Internet
Computers and Technology
Cooking
Culture
Education
Education #2
Entertainment
Etiquette
Family
Finances
Food and Drink
Food and Drink B
Gadgets and Gizmos
Gardening
Health
Hobbies
Home Improvement
Home Management
Humor
Internet
Jobs
Kids and Teens
Learning Languages
Leadership
Legal
Legal B
Marketing
Marketing B
Medical Business
Medicines and Remedies
Music and Movies
Online Business
Opinions
Parenting
Parenting B
Pets
Pets and Animals
Poetry
Politics
Politics and Government
Real Estate
Recreation
Recreation and Sports
Science
Self Help
Self Improvement
Short Stories
Site Promotion
Society
Sports
Travel and Leisure
Travel Part B
Web Development
Wellness, Fitness and Diet
World Affairs
Writing
Writing B