Not only are people working more hours per week than before, but they are responsible for more tasks within their jobs. Obtaining more time to apply needed attention to
increasing business details often comes at a premium to the business purchase decision maker. For the professional sales representative, keeping a customer or prospect’s undivided attention within a face-to-face sales call is more challenging than ever!
Constant use of; computers, cell phones, pagers, and handheld PDA’s now present more “electronic interference” within normal office conversations. Obtaining and retaining an existing or potential new customer’s attention, often within their daily working environment, even for relatively short periods of time, can be very challenging and frustrating to a sales person.
Today, professional sale representatives must do whatever they can to make sure their intended message is not only heard, but actually understood by their targeted purchase decision maker. This takes some premeditated planning on the sales representative’s part, especially if the critical information exchange will be taking place within the prospect’s office or within their immediate work area.
Three Steps to Improve Sales Call Dialogue:
- Plan the Conversation:
A logical tactic of a sales representative is to prepare a written outline of key talking points that are to be made during the pending sales call. This written outline should be made prior to the intended conversation. Key topics should be written within a most logical information absorption sequence. Sometimes it makes sense to also note how much time is to be allotted on each key point within the planned dialogue outline.
- Define an Optimum Meeting Place:
More often than not, the customer or prospect defines where a future meeting is to be held with the sales representative. The more prominent the decision maker is within their organization, the company owner, the CEO or someone of VP status, the more this is true. Executive level decision makers prefer to meet on “their turf”. This generally is not in the sales representative’s favor, given all the potential for dialogue distractions previously mentioned. So, within the sales call appointment confirmation process, ask the prospect if they can afford to make the meeting away from their office, ideally at a neutral location, maybe lunch. If they cannot, ask if they can have a conference room reserved for the meeting. The goal is to get them away from their computer terminal, office or cubicle. If this can be accomplished, you are half way there.
- Lastly, Define the Meeting Duration:
Key purchase decision makers are often the busiest people within their organization. The probability of them getting distracted within your visit by one of their coworkers or by some immediate significant event is relatively high. Also, during the meeting, they often have other things on their mind that have surfaced just before the meeting or they’re thinking about what else they have to do now or right after the visit with them. It is critical to define, at the beginning of the session, exactly how long you will require their undivided attention. This can increase a buyer’s attention span fivefold. With this simple tactic, they are given the freedom to listen to your prepared topics, for a mutually agreed to period of time. Simply, asking, “How much time do you want to spend today in our meeting?” right up front, can set them free to listen.
It is most interesting how purchase decision makers more appreciate a message communicated when the sales representative makes an obvious attempt to respect their time and use of same with them. Not all sales representatives initiate this basic courtesy to buyers and more often than not, many a sales pitch made has gone unheard because the prospect or customer could only sit there and naturally think to themselves, “How long is this visit going to last???”
With today’s intensifying need to make oral communication more time efficient within the business environment, a sales representative needs to plan their sales calls, control the meeting location and allow the buyer the freedom to listen to their intended messages. Strategic advantage can be a razor thin margin among competing sales representatives. Use of these sales tactics can increase the odds of sales success.