Probably the best sales advice we ever got was to act like an “assistant buyer”. You can’t act like an assistant buyer unless you know your buyer’s needs, history, budget, problems, and successes. You have to know what she is going to do with your product and what her expectations are.
The more you know about her business, the more valuable you will become. Ideally you want her to depend on you. She has to feel confident that you have her best interests at heart. This takes a lot of research and a history of excellent suggestions.
Good sales people help their prospects make the decision to buy.
Here are some tips that will help you make the sale:
1. Imagine How You’ll Feel (when you make the sale): Your expectations influence your own behavior, choice of words, and body language.
2. Establish Credibility: Show up on time. Be neat, clean, and healthy, with good personal hygiene. Your clothes should mirror the prospect’s. Look and act professional.
3. Do Your Homework: Find out as much as you can about your prospects. What have they bought before, what are their challenges, and how do they buy?
4. Give Them News They Can Use: Buyers rely on sales people to keep them abreast of changes and trends in the industry. Keep them up to date.
5. Keep It Short: When you do make your pitch, make it clear, informative and succinct. Stop selling when you’ve made the sale.
6. Stress the Benefits – Not the features: Buyers want to know what’s in it for them. Describe the benefits in terms of the feelings of satisfaction your buyer will experience. How will they feel when they use your product or service?
7. Be Organized: Have everything with you at the ready. Your presentation should go smoothly without searching or fumbling for materials or samples. Be well staged and well rehearsed.
8. Be enthusiastic: It’s catching. If you are sincerely excited about your product, they will be, too. Buyers want to know why you personally would buy your own product.
9. Respect the Competition: Never deride other products. Show that you honestly appreciate them, but distinguish yours for its unique benefits.
10. Solve Their Problem: Listen twice as much as you speak. Ask questions and discover how your product addresses and satisfies a need. What is their best product? What products have they had issues with?
11. Know Your Product: Be prepared to answer any question they may throw at you. Buyers want to buy from sellers who can answer more questions than they can ask.
12. Sell Service, Not Products: The moment your prospect decides to buy, they take ownership. With ownership comes concerns about supply and maintenance. Be there for them. Let them know that you stand behind your product.
Remember, even after mastering all these suggestions, the most successful sales people have built a relationship with their top buyers. This takes consistent performance over a period of time.
Be ready to invest the time it takes to nurture that relationship. Show up often, keep them up to date, and give them advice on what to buy – just like an assistant buyer.
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders