Samuel Williams, business development manager at LiveBuzz and EN30 member on the importance of honesty, knowledge and becoming more adaptable.
Let’s face it, most sales people (me included) are motivated by money and filling that commission sheet ready for the end of the month. Who doesn’t want to be sat on their own private island drinking an ice-cold beverage, reminiscing about the time they used to work a standard 40-hour week?
In my early sales days, I found using those slick selling techniques we’ve all used wasn’t really reaping many results for me, so I decided to try a different approach; becoming less robotic and more adaptable in the conversations I was having.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a long way off of being sat on the afore-mentioned island, but I thought for this column, I would talk through the top three things that helped me in securing deals:
Don’t rely on the use of your standard elevator pitch
According to the oracle of knowledge (aka Wikipedia), an elevator pitch is “a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organisation and its value proposition”, and every sales organisation under the sun spends a lot of time trying to perfect that pitch.
Although this is an important tool (every sales person should be able to summarise their show in 90 seconds), the standard elevator pitch tells your story – not your prospect’s story. Instead, have that in your back pocket, try and create a story where they are the lead, get them imagining their products already on the exhibition stand waiting for their dream visitor to walk by and place a massive order.
Sell a solution
Having an understanding of your customer, combined with ample knowledge of your shows and industry, will mean you can confidently begin the sales process with them, but how do you get this understanding of your customer?
It starts with asking questions. Ideally you want to understand everything about your customer’s needs, wants and desires. This way you can then make proper and informed recommendations that will help them achieve their objectives.
In exhibitions, this can mean the location of their stand or what sponsorship they should take. Once you have a proposal that meets all their objectives, closing the sale becomes easier. Sure the customer may still have concerns such as price, but these are typically easy to overcome if you present the product as the perfect solution for that specific customer’s needs and wants. By adapting your pitch to suit individual customers desires you are then selling a specific solution for them, known as solution selling.
Make genuine connections
People tend to know when they are being lied to, and if a customer works it out you are going to be blown out the water and will never close that sale.
A sales person needs to spend time being of genuine assistance to potential clients. I always find my exhibitors appreciate this genuine interest in their needs much more than any other sales tactic, or robotic sales pitches.
Your honesty will shine through the preconceived notions the exhibitor may have about both you as a sales person and the shows you’re selling. It also makes for a functional business relationship that could be profitable for years into the future and generate the best type of business and the business we all love…repeat business.
In my experience, one of the main things that sets a mediocre sales person apart from a great sales person is the ability to change and adapt their sales pitch and techniques depending on who they are selling to.
We all know different potential exhibitors will have different buying motives, so let’s remember our exhibitors are people too with different personalities. They aren’t all the same, so we shouldn’t treat them like they are and think a robotic sales pitch is going to work on everyone we sell to. We should adapt our sales techniques to suit our different customers.
So why not give these a go, if you don’t already. Stop being a robot. Become more adaptable and I will see you on the island.