The Sales Sandwich… a diet for successful growth!
Here’s a recipe for a tasty sales sandwich and how it helps you get more business, time after time!
Getting new leads, having successful conversations with them and closing the business is not down to luck or being a “salesy” kind of person. The secret to any sale, especially in a complex one like selling business to business (B2B) services, is the following recipe:
First layer of the sandwich
The foundation of any good sandwich is a well-buttered foundation layer…
This is your preparation. Be structured and precise – use your left brain – the analytical and logical side. Be clear about who you want to have a sales call or meeting with and importantly, what the message will be to them. Plan what you will ask them, what you will say and what you want as a result of the call or meeting.
Be very structured in who your prospect is (function in the business, location, industry, size of the business etc.) and find out where they are and where they get their information from. This may sound like a tall order… but don’t be put off – simply think laterally about the possibilities, who might help you and what you already know. The key is thoroughness of preparation.
The heart of the sandwich… and the sales conversation…
The sandwich filling is the actual meeting or phone call. You need to be a little more creative and responsive here – use your right brain – the intuitive, creative, empathetic side. Don’t just talk your prospect into submission, ask them lots of questions. Find out about them, what is the real problem or issue that they need to solve, what is important in making the buying decision, what their time line is for a decision etc. Use your gut feel to see how the prospect is reacting to you and what is being discussed – stay alert to their reaction (both verbally and their body language). If you feel that they are not with you, try subtly asking what doubts they may have.
It is important in this part to be proactive and on the ball, but not pushy! It is all about making a connection and having a pleasant conversation rather than being forced to buy. Especially in a cross cultural environment you will need to be even more aware of possible differences between the buyer and seller and in their decision making process!
The outer layer
This is no Open Sandwich… it’s a Closed Sandwich – and this is the all-important top to the sandwich!
So, lastly there is the close. Here we revert back to the left brain. Be methodical and persistent in your follow up. Agree with the prospect when you should get back to them. Continue to be polite and pleasant, but make sure that in the end you come to a decision.
Don’t miss the opportunity to ask for the business! You’d be surprised how many people don’t, especially those who are not in a full time sales role but have it as part of their wider remit. They are often afraid of being seen as too pushy and therefore don’t ask for a yes or no. Don’t be disheartened if it takes a long time and if many of your calls and e-mails are not returned – this is normal. There is evidence that it can take on average up to 9 separate contacts with the buyer before a purchase decision is made! Remember… the decision to buy or not to buy probably does not matter as much to the prospect as it does to you. So stay on the ball, don’t give up too soon!
With this simple recipe you should be able to improve your sales significantly!