Practice makes Perfect is a statement all of us have heard in our lifetime. We practice a lot of things on a weekly basis and it has become a part of our everyday fabric of living. For those that have kids, we shuttle our youngsters back and forth from basketball practice, soccer practice, ballet practice, band practice, etc. This list could go on and on. Even the NFL conducts scrimmages prior to kicking off the regular season. Think about all the wonderful shows that we attend during the year, before opening night of any Broadway musical or play there is plenty of practice beforehand.
So the question is — how many of us practice our sales presentations during the year? Or take time to brush up on our selling skills by practicing? Take a moment to give this some thought and then take heed of the following tips to help develop a path to success in 2014.
Develop an “elevator pitch”
This is a 20-30 second story about your product or service and what you do to make things happen. It should be designed to elicit questions and interest. Once developed, practice it with friends and family. Give it a whirl in front of a mirror or record yourself. Do this until it becomes fluid.
Listen and Observe
Make these two actions part of your everyday goals when working with clients. Turn your talking and pitching into listening and then observe. You will gain tremendous knowledge and close more sales when you ask questions, talk less and listen.
Intrinsically we know rejection is part of our job, so prepare for it and do not take it personally. Make a list of the reasons your programs were rejected this year and then figure out responses to overcome these in the future. Put them on paper and again, practice the art of turning the rejection into an exploratory conversation. Most of the time, if we continue to ask probing questions and dig deeper, we eventually will uncover a specific need.
Practice with Smaller Prospect
We learn from our mistakes, so take time to work with smaller prospects while perfecting your presentation and sales skills. Then, approach that large potential client and make the appointment with confidence.
Become a Good Story Teller
We all love good stories and stories build your credibility. Make a success story list and share them with your clients. Be sure to include how you solved a client’s problem or increased their revenue or market share. And once again, practice so that you have these in your hip pocket to share during your conversations with prospects.
Networking is Critical
Get out and network to increase your prospecting list. Join a local business organization in a category of business you want to learn more about. Sign up to become a member of the Small Business Chamber of Commerce or start a lead sharing network. The goal is get out in the community and meet others and learn. This is a great way to practice your elevator pitch too.
Ask for the Sale
This is expected from the prospect, so make it a habit to ask for the sale. Use the following verbiage, “on a scale from 1 to 10, where does this program rank?” Depending on the number you are given, you then follow up with a closing question. Such as, “if I can get this package to an 8 would you be ready to give us the green light?”
Practice does make perfect and December is a great month to begin the process.