Monday, May 23, 2011

Sales Tip: Nothing Happens Till you Sell Something

We work so hard to get the deal. Investing time and research into our clients and getting to know every detail about their lives. We educate them about our product, providing way more information than they will ever retain or need to know. We craft the most thorough and competitive proposal, and then we get the deal!

It seems our job should be done, right? We can sit back, take a deep breathe and soak in the rewards of our hard work?

Wrong! In reality, nothing happens until something is sold! Then, the REAL work begins!
When I started in sales, I can remember being thrilled to get my first deal! I was selling print advertising. I put so much effort into creating a relationship with them and demonstrating that our publication was the best way to reach their audience. When that contract came back with my client’s signature, I was ready to celebrate!

The office manager then came to my desk; “Their credit wasn’t approved.” I needed to get them to pre-pay which wasn’t going to be easy. Next, the production manager came to my office; “The materials they submitted were not the right format.” I needed to call and give the client more specific instructions. They were a small company and didn’t have a graphic designer. They needed help. I wasn’t authorized to offer free service from our production department. It was not a very big contract, so they would have to pay for their service. I had to go back and re-work the entire contract. These were all major hurdles that came after the sale had been finalized.

The challenge really begins when that contract is signed. Whether a print ad, a color printer, the newest high-tech MRI machine or construction equipment. Going after the sale is what you do every day. It’s what you know. Once that contract is signed, the mystery becomes what kind of challenge is coming your way next. We spend a lot of time putting out fires. The challenge is to put that flame out before the client walks away from the contract or decides not to come back once it expires.

If you haven’t learned yet, here is your lesson; BE PREPARED. Understand that if you let your guard down when that contract is signed, you’ll be hit that much harder on the other end. Be prepared that there will be fires to put out and loose ends to tie up. BE ORGANIZED. Try to foresee some of the challenges and loose ends that may cross your path ahead of time. BE PATIENT. You need to expect these challenges and handle them in a positive manner. Maintaining a patient mindset with co-workers will make it easier for them to want to help you. If you need to bring a challenge to your client’s attention, be as helpful as you can to help them through it. Think long term. You want this client to come back to you again and again. The more positive, patient and helpful you are, the more likely they will continue to come back, despite a few bumps in the road.