Sales Predator Or Professional Sales Rep
From a customer's perception, it's easy for a salesperson to come across as a predator. If the customer views you as the predator, he probably sees himself as the prey. Your initial impression will greatly influence if there is going to be a lasting relationship.
In a recent survey conducted by Target Marketing Systems, Inc. they listed fourteen criteria that indicate how effective a first meeting is likely to be. Here are four of the factors, not in order of priority, with some of my observations.
Listens before giving solutions - If you're not listening carefully, you're probably not asking good questions. Some salespeople have all the answers before they ask the questions. Avoid the trap of talking too much, especially during first call. Try to get the customer talking for at least 75% of the time you spend together during the first call. Don't talk about your products before your customer talks about his business.
Has knowledge of industry - Do your homework before you make the sales call. It's never been easier and quicker to do homework. Using the internet makes this not only a practical step but an easy one. If you don't want to come across as a master of nothing, don't skip the homework.
Communicates value - Consider this. If you're not communicating value, you be communicating something else. Daaaaaa! Probably the wrong stuff. Be wary of aggressive gruffiness. Don't come on too strong. If your selling style happens to be direct, be careful it's not interpreted as "in your face." Avoid being too loud, inarticulate, rambling, and closing too early and too often. Sometimes, the best way to communicate value is to take a genuine interest in the customer and his business.
Structures agenda for meeting - Every sales call warrants specific objectives. Having a purpose for the call sends a powerful message to the potential customer. Organization is a small thing if you have it. It's a big thing if you don't and you're disorganized. Make sure your briefcase can pass muster. Your notebook can signal professional or shout amateur depending how it looks and how you use it. Rehearsing your opening approach can really be a confidence booster.
If your potential customer sees you as a predator it's because you're missing the qualities that professionals rely on. Haste not only makes waste, it creates the wrong image for you. If you're prepared, personable, punctual, and professional, you'll never be mistaken for a predator.
Your potential customers don't want to be preyed upon, they want to be helped and will be if you offer the professional touch on every sales call.