The Negotiator Magazine

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Imagine boarding an airplane scheduled to fly from Chicago to San Francisco. Imagine also hearing the pilot welcome everybody on board and announcing that he is new at flying the 757 you are seated on. Also imagine your dentist refers you to a specialist for your very first root canal. And imagine that the specialist lets you know he's a recent Dental School graduate and you're his first patient. Now, how does that make you feel? That's how everyone feels when they're working with somebody who announces they are "NEW."

Action-step. If you're new to sales or are an experienced sales REP just getting started with a NEW company give some thought how you will introduce yourself. Just don't say that you're "NEW."

4. Doing price-driven quotes instead of value-structured proposals. If you're in sales you're likely to get requests on a daily basis for product quotes. Somebody wants you to quote on a particular product or a particular service. So, like someone following the Pied Piper you do exactly what they ask, namely you send them a quotation. Then you go ballistic when you lose the deal because you did not have the lowest price.

Look Bubba - when you send somebody your quote all you are really doing is sending them a price to look at. If you don't like that approach get out of the quotation business. Do sales proposals. Load them with value. Make your sales proposal scream value and always include a benefits page. Your benefits page should be positioned ahead of your pricing page.

Action-step. If you don't know anything about sales proposals I strongly suggest you do a search on Google.com and Amazon.com using the keywords "sales proposals." This is too important to be flying by the seat-of-your-ants!

5. Making sales calls like a tourist. Anytime you show up on a prospect's/customer's doorstep without written sales call objectives you are nothing more than a well paid tourist. I think you'll agree most people most of the time are too busy to waste their valuable time. When you show up planning to touch base, catch up, check up, and see what's going on - that's called "Wasting time." To get you started in the right direction, here's an example of a written sales call objective for an account you're calling on for the very first time. Simply stated your sales call objective could be written as follows:

"My objective for this sales call is to establish rapport, build some credibility, ask 3-5 open-ended questions, attempt to identify one common interest we have, and if the person is qualified to secure a confirmed follow-up appointment. Note how numbers make this objective even "More specific."

Action-step. Never leave home without written sales call objectives. The key word is "Never!"

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July 2005