Do Your Homework

Selling yourself and your product does not consist of magic, or showing off or luck. It consists of homework and hard work and rewarding work. The more you understand about your prospect’s needs and wants, the better equipped you’ll be to provide them with the right solution and product! Of course, the effectiveness of the selling depends upon the homework you’ve done. Nothing beats knowing exactly what your prospect’s problems and needs are—and having solutions for them.

Professional salespeople will take the time to obtain the information they need to match the right product for their customers by asking a series of questions. The purpose of these questions is to investigate the needs of the prospect and to get a conversation going. Of course, what he tells you will help you determine the direction of your sales presentation. I believe these questions should be kept simple and easy to answer. Once you ask a question, be certain to keep quiet long enough to give your prospect enough time to respond. I can’t emphasize enough, listening is a vital part of selling.

Truly outstanding salespeople are all excellent listeners and know what questions to ask to find the right product for their customer. The only way to be assured of this kind of comfort is by doing your homework in advance so you’re 100 percent certain you can handle any situation that might arise. There’s nothing more disrespectful or presumptuous than not being able to answer all of his questions. If you do so, you’ve wasted his time—and your own. You owe him an apology.

Although I’ve already emphasized that being prepared is important, sometimes even the most professional salesperson can’t have all the answers. If a prospect asks a question you can’t answer, simply say: “I am sorry, but I can’t answer that for you. But I will find out as soon as I get back to my office, and I’ll call you immediately”. Keep in mind that if you hear yourself saying this too often, then you are not properly prepared. Be sure if that situation arises you keep your promise. Find the information your customer needs and call them back immediately.

Make sure you get aboard your product and learn all about it top to bottom, inside and out. Product knowledge is worth little without a selling strategy, and a sales strategy is almost worthless if you lack product knowledge. I also strongly recommend that you become an expert in your field. The only way professional people can keep current with the vast changes that are constantly taking place in their professions is to spend several hours each week reading published materials, having discussions with their peers and attending seminars. As a professional salesperson, you must DO YOUR HOMEWORK and always be prepared!