The Clues and Cues of Quality
Edition: October 2001 - Vol 9 Number 10
Author: Anita Sirianni, The Professional Sales Coach
Everybody values quality. In fact, because most people give it consideration when they make purchases, quality is a powerful factor in buying decisions. As a sales representative, you can influence your customers' perception about the quality or ''value image'' of your offering. Let's consider a few ways you can build a quality image for your offering, your company and yourself.
The way you deliver your sales presentation can help you build a quality image for your offering. Every exchange between you and the prospect is like a musical composition. You are the conductor. From initial contact to follow up service, you should orchestrate ways to demonstrate quality.
A little known secret about building value or a quality image lies in differences. Do you set yourself apart from every other rep who calls on your accounts? Is your approach refreshingly unique? For example, most reps are late for appointments. Are you always on time? Many salespeople fail to confirm appointments or make them. How do you demonstrate respect for your prospects' time? Often reps fail to follow up on promises. What's your commitment track record like? Anything you do to demonstrate your uniqueness will have a positive effect in building value for your offering and give off an image of quality.
Get the Look
One of the biggest ways you can exude quality is to look the part! When is the last time you took a long hard look at your ''work clothes?'' A quality image can be projected by something simple, such as a great tie, beautiful silk blouse or a sharp pair of shoes. If you need permission to shop, I say INDULGE! If you smoke, find out if that is evident by the way you smell. It is difficult to be objective; so ask a friend who is a non-smoker. Your image is also shaped by your business armamentarium. Still carrying around that ratty old detail bag? How about those dog eared brochures? Time to overhaul all of your materials and accessories for an image that screams class, quality and excellence!
The Preeminent Presentation
As the conductor in your 'sales symphony,' you can shape each sales presentation to demonstrate quality in a variety of ways. Consider ''where,'' ''what,'' ''why,'' and ''when'' as good guiding points. Where are you conducting your presentation? Are you standing at the reception desk or in the middle of a bustling lab? Ask the office manager to escort you to a consultation area or the doctor's private office. What do you hope to accomplish? So few reps take the time to clearly establish a game plan before a presentation. State your call objectives with customers. You will not set yourself apart from most reps who fail to articulate their meeting goals, but you will reduce prospect resistance.
Why is your offering a good fit for this account? Generic sales pitches are for amateurs, so get specific. Do your homework before the call and figure out at least three reasons your product or service is the best move. When can you get started? Asking for the order isn't nearly as intimidating when you are solving a problem or need with your offering. By answering where, what, why and when in your sales presentations, you will orchestrate an image of quality that is worthy of a standing ovation.
Are You a Class Act?
When we refer to someone as a ''class act,'' we are making a statement about quality. Consider how this impression affects the way we respond to their opinion, their advice and the things they associate with. The same positive impression can work in your favor as a sales representative. So, what does it take to be a ''class act?'' Interpretation depends on who is making the judgment; however, there are common characteristics that smack of quality and class.
For example, our speech can influence our image. Sales professionals need to be communication experts. Words are our tools of the trade. Would people describe you as articulate or well spoken? Do you use word choices that may be offensive to others? Another idea is to speak well of others (including the competition) at all times. This will demonstrate a spirit of generosity and abundance that is attractive to anyone. People who possess a positive outlook and follow the Golden Rule are people we want to be around and do business with. Quality is powerfully attractive to buyers. It influences who gets an order and how much people are willing to spend. So, try on these ideas and the ''class act'' customers are buying from will be you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Professional Sales Coach Anita Sirianni is the President of Ansir International, which provides sales training and consulting to many of the country's leading corporations. She has more than 15 years of sales success in the healthcare industry. She can be reached at: 1-800-471-2619. Or on the Web at: www.anitasiranni.com