“I didn’t know that!”
If you hear those words from an existing customer who likes and trusts you but who just bought something from one of your competitors, you have no one but yourself to blame. It was you who blew the opportunity and left the door wide open to the competition.
Was your response something like, “Gee, we started offering that service six months ago?” Then why didn’t you tell that to this customer? Here’s why: You made the common mistake of assuming that once you have sold a client on your company, the client will stay sold unless something goes seriously wrong.
“Are we a good match?” is every customer’s most important question about your company. You cannot answer it before you have uncovered, understood, and agreed upon the customer’s needs. “Sell yourself” first by demonstrating that you care about those needs. You’ll be amazed at how much more effectively you can then sell your company.
Your competitors are continuously un-selling your company. So you must continuously sell it.
The fact is that your competitors are busy trying to un-sell your company every day. They do it by advertising, by direct mail, by Internet marketing, and in their own calls on your clients. That’s why you must make it a rule to keep selling your company in every sales call.
Remember: Every year, in every call you make on clients or prospects, they become either more or less sold on your company.
Naturally, you won’t tell your entire “company story” each time you call on a customer who already knows you well. But here is what you should do in every call:
- Describe any new products or services you offer that might conceivably interest the client now or a year from now.
- Think of something new and exciting to say about your company; something that casts it in a good light. Did you have a good quarter financially? Have you made any acquisitions or acquired any new, high-profile clients? Have you hired any impressive new people?
- Present this updated information about your company with the right timing and in the right manner. The right time is immediately after you have asked questions to build rapport and to uncover any new needs that may have arisen since your last visit. The right manner is simple. Just say: “Let me quickly cover some new information about (my company).”
If you don’t sell your company on every call, the competition will un-sell you. You will miss opportunities. And you may hear those awful words, “I didn’t know you did that!”
In The Field:
After attending an Action Selling sales training workshop, Karen Caligiuri of the United States Postal Service returned to work and explained one important insight to her district managers: “At USPS, we’re striving to overcome bad press and past perceptions,” she said. “So every time you visit with a customer, you should take the time to relay a positive note about USPS.”
It isn’t only your competitors who can un-sell you to customers. If your organization suffers from a negative image in the marketplace, whatever the reason, it is especially important to “sell your company” on every single sales call. Otherwise, the customer’s bad impressions can only continue to fester.
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About Duane Sparks
Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).
Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).