Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How Behavior Affects the Sale - Part 2 - Research and Work Appropriate Before a Meeting

This is the second in a three-part series by John Daly which Extraordinary Events is proud to present. -Andrea Michaels
Last time we took a look at steps to take before meeting with a prospective client. This week’s addition will examine the research and deep thought required in preparation to meet the potential client.


Know the Client

Knowing the client doesn’t just mean having his or her contact information or perhaps even having a past relationship with that person. It is critical that you spend time doing research on that prospect.

» Look up the mission statement of the company.

» Follow the values of the company in conversation and actions. Read news releases on the company site; figure out what the company’s priorities are.

» Find the words they use to sell their product and then use those words in both written and spoken correspondence.

» In your first meeting, be prepared to listen far more than you talk.


Know Your Client’s Product

If you are unfamiliar with the company’s industry, it is critical that you “bone up” on the vernacular used in the client’s industry before the meeting.

» Be sure you say your client’s product name(s) correctly. For instance, it’s Porsche, not Porsh. Adidas is pronounced Ahh-Dee-dass, not A-Dee-diss.

» When you are meeting with a sports team representative, be mindful of the color combinations you wear. Make sure you are not wearing an arch rival’s team colors.

» If there is an occasion to send a car to pick up someone from the airport or any destination, make sure the make of the car coincides with the brand they represent. In other words, don’t send a Cadillac to pick up a Ford client!


Preparing Proposals

Andrea Michaels is president of multiple award-winning Extraordinary Events, an international meeting and event planning and production firm. She is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower — Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life and co-author of a number of other business books, and she recently wrote an article on “Demystifying the Proposal Process and Winning Business without Losing Money.”

“A doctor will not prescribe medication for you without an examination and subsequent diagnosis,” she wrote. “A mechanic will not order parts for your vehicle without first examining the car and diagnosing the problem.”

She goes on to say that while salespeople aren’t doctors or mechanics, they often are responsible for fixing a corporate problem. Yet they often rush in without the proper examination and diagnosis.

Michaels says that in her own industry of special events, event design and production companies spend $12,000 to $15,000 responding to a client’s Request for Proposal. To double the pressure, her clients want detail, detail, detail, including financial statements, and they demand that information immediately.

And what if you provide all this detail and the client is merely window-shopping? Michaels says, “Why would you want to spend a lot of money with no clue what you are doing?” She affirms, “It would be sheer luck if you could win a bid before you fully understood the needs and goals of your client.”

Michaels’ solution is firmly aligned with mine. The perfect solution is to charge for your proposal. Like Michaels says, “Most of the companies you are dealing with have R&D departments. They are paid for their time ... This is particularly effective if you know someone is trolling for bids. At the very least, it might keep the competition limited to three instead of 23 bids. Explain to the prospective client that the cost will be refunded upon the signing of a contract (i.e. applied to the sale/job.)”

If your industry requires you to submit bids with advanced details, renderings and complex solutions, Michaels and I agree.

“Have clients sign an agreement not to use any part of your proposal if the job is awarded to another company,” she wrote. “Do this before you hand over the proposal. Using your ideas is theft. (This will put a stop to the practice of being handed a proposal from a competitor and asked to price it out against them.)”

Both these practices give your proposal far more perceived value.
Click here for Michaels’ article.

Check in two weeks for the third part of this series on “How Behavior Affects the Sale.”

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or to get his book. If you have questions about business or social etiquette, just ask John at Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjr.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Behavior Affects the Sale - Part 1 - Before You Meet Prospective Clients

I recently read a three-part series by my long-time friend, John Daly. It is based on a presentation that John made at The Special Event this year, and it was such a hit that he is being asked to present this information for other organizations. While some of this may come across as good common sense, there's much to be gleaned from the points he makes. You would be surprised at how often some of these points are overlooked. Extraordinary Events is proud to present this three-part series over the next several weeks. This is the first in the series. Read and absorb. -Andrea Michaels

 Behavior is paramount in sales. Yet, it is often carelessly overlooked by too many. This is the first in a series of articles aimed at reminding all of us of the importance of our actions when it comes to sales.

Phone Facts to Consider

  • Who answers the phone?
  • How is the phone answered?
  • Always answer the phone with a smile on our face.
  • Is there a voicemail or answering service?
Often, we're too busy to think about how our phones are answered and the company image that is projected when calls aren't handled professionally. The person answering your phones should be highly trained to do so in a manner that reflects the image you want your company to project. If you use voicemail, make sure that it sounds professional, doesn't have background noise and can be clearly understood.

Did you know that 67 percent of the population do no return or even listen to voice messages?  If you're dealing with Millennials, know that they generally ignore voicemail.

So, the takeaway is simply to know the generation with which you are dealing and handle accordingly. Does that mean you have to learn to text message if you don't already? Probably so.

If you are among the 33 percent who return voicemails, or you are placing a call, rehearse what you will say if you get a voicemail. Have notes handy so you aren't caught off guard. There's nothing worse than sounding disjointed or leaving an exceedingly long voicemail. People won't listen to them.

If you use an answering service, provide written instructions on specifically how your calls are to be answered and handled. Don't leave it up to chance. If you do, you may be creating a bad image about your company's abilities.

When making sales calls:

  • Return all voice, email and text messages with 24 hours, or have someone do it for you.
  • Always place your own calls.
  • Speak very professionally.
  • Beware again of possible background noise.
  • Refer to the client by last name (Mr. Daly) until he or she asks to be called by first name or you ask for first-name basis permission after you get to know the person.
 For those of you who don't return messages promptly, you not only may be losing opportunities but you are projecting that you aren't organized and can't handle responsibility.

Before Going to a Client Meeting

Think about what you should wear. Here's what you should consider.
  • Dress like you care about the client
  • Showing style is good, but be sure your style is understood. A Mother of the Bride requires a different set of clothing than a Wall Street Corporate Executive.
  • Research the dress code of a company before your appointment and dress in that manner. Do this so that those with whom you meet will feel comfortable with you. I won a long-term contract with Delta Air Lines because I researched and wore the three-piece suit they list in their dress code instead of my usual business casual. Once people feel comfortable with you, they can easily accept you. If they don't feel comfortable, they won't "let you in."
  • Make sure your shoes are shined or clean.
  • Do not overdress or under-dress.
  • Both men and women should keep their jewelry simple. Wearing opulent jewelry may make clients feel like they are paying for it. Being too opulent may also make them feel inferior.
  • Be sure to consider your hygiene. It plays a critical part of the image you create in the minds of a client. That means clean hands, manicured nails and pedicured toenails for ladies who wear open toed shoes or sandals. Beware of chipped nail polish! Make sure your hair is clean and brushed. Pay detailed attention to the image you present.
  • Do not wear cologne or perfume. (Did you know that smell is the most powerful connector to memory?) Every time I encounter a lady wearing the perfume Tabu, I think of my mother. She always wore that scent, and my memories of her are filled with love. But, what if the person you meet has a negative memory about what you are wearing? Or what if that person is allergic?
  • Don't forget deodorant. (During stressful moments, it is possible to generate body odor.)
  • Make sure your breath is fresh. Always have breath mints on hand. Before an appointment, rinse your mouth after eating. Avoid garlic, onions, tuna fish and heavy spices before meetings.
  • If you have an early morning meeting, be careful of the amount of alcohol consumed the night before. (You may reek of it the next day, and that will definitely kill the sale.)


Cars and Social Media

Consider that what you drive matters. It has the same effect as wearing expensive, flamboyant jewelry. I know sales people who have beautiful, expensive cars but choose to drive midpriced automobiles when making sales calls or working. I do the same. I have a Lexus, but my MINI Cooper is my working car.

Don't forget about social media, particularly Facebook and LinkedIn. Be very careful what you post on all social media. (It becomes part of your image.) Posting political or religious comments or crude jokes won't win you any points with potential clients. And these days, everyone checks out both potential employees and vendors on social media.

Never badmouth a client or competition on social media. Once it is on the Internet, it's out there forever and will come back to bite you!

Keep personal information personal and off social media.

Business Cards

  • Keep business cards size to standard. It's frustrating for anyone to deal with oversized cards that won't fit in a card holder or anywhere else. If you are using them to stand out, you'll be standing out in a negative way. If they don't fit, they'll end up in the trash.
  • Adjust fong size to your clientele's age. Small fonts are impossible for anyone over 40 to read!
  • Present your business card with two hands. It is your identity. Treat it with respect, and your client will too.
  • Accept a business card with two hands and read it before putting it away. Respect the person's identity.
  • If a card has initial that describe a title or certification designation, ask what the initials mean (if you don't know). Use this information for future correspondence or speaking. You will impress the client with your attention to detail.
And finally, before going to any meeting, lay out an agenda for it. Make sure that you have your prospective client's full commitment for the meeting. Ask the client to commit to a specific day and time and ask the client to provide you something specific at that meeting. Explain specifically what your agenda is for the meeting.

Want some great advice on how to do that? Read, "When Is a Contract Not a Contract" posted recently on this blog. You'll have an entirely new perspective about securing sales meetings with clients.

Next time, we'll share the second part of this series.

John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or to get his book. If you have questions about business or social etiquette, just ask John at Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjr.