I get a ton of e-mails asking to solve sales dilemmas. Here are a few that may relate to you right now:
In the current economic downturn, how should I attempt to sell to municipalities that have no funding through the budget?
You can’t sell where there is no budget. My recommendation would be to find another resource because municipalities will be hurting for the next five years.
I have been running my own company for six years. We sell custom-made clothing to private clients. We have never discounted from list price, as I believe it to be the weakest sales tool in the box. I also believe that there are people who are absolutely focused on price alone. Experience, product and service come secondary to the idea that they have managed to get a deal – however trivial. Do you think it is ever OK to offer a discount? Is offering a discount for large, bulk orders sound practice, or are you just devaluing your enterprise?
Have a one-time special on something for existing customers only – maybe for the month of April – but in order for them to get the “deal” they must bring a friend to experience your quality. This will honor your existing customers and get you new customers. Consider the discount as a marketing expense.
How do you recommend I sell to a company that’s “weathering the tough economy?” I’m a young company, and I’m trying to close that crucial first sale. My product is an advertising/marketing solution. As you know, advertising is one of the first places that companies scale back their spending (even though tough times are the best time to ramp up advertising). However, my proposition is that my product will decrease advertising spending and augment the effectiveness of their other advertising effort.
Stop using the word advertising. Nobody wants to advertise, but everybody wants what advertising does. Focus on words like “increased sales,” “increased traffic,” “increased exposure” and “increased profit.” The key to your sale lies in the customer’s ability to see what is in it for them.
What advice do you have for those of us who have been laid off and are now forced to re-enter the interview world?
• Ask about salary or raises. Let them talk about it first.
• Ask about benefits. Let them talk about them first. If you need to find out about health benefits, and the interviewer has not broached the subject, ask a secondary question that seems to put the burden on you. (Do I pay for my child if he goes on the health care program?)
• Ask about vacation, sick days or holidays. They want to know how you will work, not take off.
Do… Be prepared. Look polished. Have a list of questions. Act confident. Be confident. Tell the truth. Be polite. Try to involve the interviewer (take the tour, take the coffee, ask your questions). Answer intelligently. Ask intelligently. Act and react in a positive manner. Be enthusiastic. Ask closing questions. Follow up on the day of decision.
Write a note of thanks. Thank the person for a great interview. Tell the person that you’re enthusiastic about the prospect of becoming a member of their team. Say that it’s just the position you’ve been looking for, and you’re confident you will do a great job. Say that you appreciate his/her careful consideration. Say “I hope I get a chance to prove myself.”