Friday, July 28, 2006

Timing is Key - Don't Shoot All of Your Bullets at Once!

In real estate it's "location, location, location!" In sales it's "timing, timing, timing!"

While working with a client this week I was reminded of the importance of timing in the sales process. People won't buy until the timing for them is right. Make sure you are there when the timing is right for them OR make sure that you are the one they think of when they are ready to buy. One way to insure you are top of mind for your customer is to not shoot all your bullets at once!

By this I mean to carefully dole out information to your customer on a gradual basis. This can be handled during a 20 minute meeting or over the course of several months or even years. Here are few examples of how to work timing in your favor:

  • Hold Back Information. During a short customer meeting have open ended questions planned in advance to help uncover what is important to your customer. These need to be sincere and then listen to what your customer says. (As sales people we sometimes have a hard time listening because we are trying to think of what to say next!). Start with a dialog and gradually reveal information about what you are selling throughout the conversation! Don't tell them everything you know in the first 5 minutes.

  • Make "Creative" Excuses. The work I did this week was for a professional speaker. Since I know this can be a fairly long sales process I began by mailing the customer information about the speaker. I held back some of the speaker's marketing materials to save for the future so I would have an "excuse" to contact the customer again.

    Instead of my first follow up phone calling going like this:
    "Hi, this is Zan. Have you decided to hire my speaker?"

    It went like this,
    "Hi, this is Zan. I just wanted to make sure you received the information.
    By the way, did I tell you about this speaker's recent article in People
    magazine? Why don't I mail you a copy of the article?"

    By doing this I've still created the opportunity to ask the customer if they want to hire my speaker - but I have positioned the phone call as a request to make sure the customer has the information they need and then be able to offer more value to them. In addition, I've created another excuse to call again and say, "Hi, this is Zan. Just wanted to make sure you had received a copy of the People article?"

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