As seen in the October 2002 issue of..
Gifts & Decorative Accessories Magazine
George Matyjewicz (10051 bytes)
George Matyjewicz
of  GAP Enterprises,  Ltd. a management and marketing "solutioning" firm, is the moderator of "E-Tailer’s Digest," an Internet retail discussion forum.   georgem(at)gapent.com.
MANUFACTURERS AND REPS
Going for the Big Ones

It takes as much time to sell a large deal as it does a small deal.

I strongly believe that sales should be an industry of it’s own. A good closer should be able to sell anything to anybody. There may be slight differences selling a product (tangible) versus selling a service (intangible), but otherwise, selling is selling.

Over the years I have been quite successful with larger deals. I go for them, as it takes as much time to sell a large deal as it does a small one. And my closing ratio is quite high as I only seek those accounts for which I believe I have a solution. What’s my secret? It’s a combination of strategy, marketing, and confidence.

First of all, what are you really selling? You’re selling comfort. The prospect needs to be comfortable that you can solve his or her problems, that you have credibility, that you possess the strength to carry out the deal, and that you know what you’re doing.  Here are my thoughts on ways to get to that point:

  1. 1.  You must read “High Probability Selling” by Jacques Werth. I’ve always thought that selling and poker have much in common, and when I read Werth’s book I realized that I had been using his tactics my entire career.
  2. In poker you should drop out six hands out of every seven that are dealt. However, you should also win six out of seven hands in which you stay. So the odds are in your favor. The same holds true in selling. When do you drop out of a selling situation? When you can’t reach the decision makers. Talking to non-decision makers is throwing money on the table with no assurance of a win. Remember, not all deals are for you.
    In poker you also need to keep playing for at least 20 hours to wear down your opponents. It’s the same with selling: Most salespeople give up after three calls, yet most prospects are not reached until the fifth or sixth call.
  3. Think big. It is much easier to close a big deal than a small one. Relatively speaking, the smaller deal may represent a larger percentage of expenditure for a smaller company. Hence the smaller company will think twice (or three, four, or more times) before deciding.
  4. Have confidence that what you are selling is good, and that it will satisfy the buyer. Learn the details of your product intimately. Be sure you can answer all the buyer’s questions, and avoid answers like “I’ll get back to you” (unless, of course, you are really stuck). Be honest. If you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know.
  5. Know your buyer. Learn everything you can about them. Who are they? How many locations do they have? What’s their specialty?
  6. Learn to listen. When meeting with a buyer for the first time, bring a blank pad and ask them their needs. Write down the issues they bring up and then summarize them when the meeting is done. Limit the issues to no more than five. Ask them, “If we solve these issues, can we do business?” If yes, prepare a presentation. If no, find out why not. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, thank them and move on.
  7. Manage your resources. Round up as many people as you can (inside and outside your company) for a particular project. They become part of your solution.
  8. Create good marketing materials that emphasize the strengths of your product and your company (such as customer service and delivery times).
  9. Prepare a presentation. Be certain that your solution addresses the buyer’s needs and solves their problems. (Good salespeople go through every detail of every presentation, and rehearse it many times. I once had a colleague who would drive me nuts rehearsing out loud. When I said I understood, he replied, “But I’m not doing it for you. I’m doing it for me. I need to be prepared.”)
  10. Start the meeting with the buyer by saying, “I heard you say … ” and identify the issues the buyer needs resolved. Ask if those are the issues (get a “buy in”). If they are not, get the right issues, and go home and prepare for the correct solution.
  11. Use Power Point or a flip chart when making a presentation. The presentation should be divided into the following distinct sections:
    A. A cover title, such as “Presentation of __________ for XYZ Stationery Stores.”
    B. State the objective of the meeting.
    C. Identify the five issues that need to be resolved.
    D. State the specific solutions — one line for each solution.
    E. State the key benefits of your solution.
    F. Show who you are with one to three slides telling what it is you do.
    G. Spell out the details of the solution.
    H. List the solutions once again to show that you answered the issues.
    I. Provide a summary that includes the next steps.
  12. Finally, write out the order, and pick up the check! After all, if the buyer has identified the issues, and you’ve shown how you can solve them while making the buyer comfortable, how can they not go with you?

So, set your strategy, establish your confidence, and go after the big ones.
 

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GEORGE MATYJEWICZ is Chief Global Strategist and a Partner at GAP Enterprises, Ltd. a management and marketing Solutioning ™ firm that assists retailers. He is a veteran of the Internet and the computer field, as well as a former retailer and the moderator of E-Tailer's Digest.  Matyjewicz can be reached at (770) 752-7022  or e-mail to georgem(at)gapent.com or write to him c/o G&DA, 345 Hudson Street,  New York, NY 10014