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EPISODE #021

#21 8 Tips to Selling Your Product or Service

Craig shares his 8 tips to selling your product or service.

 

Key Takeaways:

  1. Listen to your customer – Oftentimes when you listen, the customer will tell you what their problem is and why they need your product. Train your sales staff to listen.
  2. Know your product – Know it’s features, know how to distinguish yourself from your competitors. It is really easy to say what the competitors don’t do that you do. Avoid this. If you are going to be the best at what you do or you’re going to have the best product, then your features should stand out on their own. You gain the deal by saying what you do and then standing behind it.
  3. Don’t lead with price –  Focus on the features that solve the problem. Price will take care of itself if your customers understand how and why your product or service solves their problem.
  4. Measure demand – Demand if measured based on how many calls and/or inquiries you get. If you have the ability to ration this product or service then you may want to consider raising the price.
  5. Answer Phone Calls – There’s nothing like leaving a message and wondering when you’re ever going to hear back. The person calling you is busy. They have things to do too. They’ve set aside some time to call and to learn about your product or service. If you can’t answer their call, you’re not treating them with the respect they deserve to be interested in your product.
  6. Don’t Put Artificial Deadlines –  People sense that. We all like to get and meet a quota during a month and sometimes you hear people putting these deadlines. If I sell a few more, I get a trip or I get a prize. If you buy this today, you’ll help me win that prize or you’ll help me be the top salesperson this month. You know what? That may work for some things but I think it’s a low blow to the customer when you do that. Why do I say that? Because I think the customer, you have to show them integrity. You have to show them respect for their time. If it’s a big decision that they’re trying to make, respect their timeframes. They’ll make it in due time. They’ll have their own deadline.
  7. Ask Questions – Learn to ask questions. Once you understand who your customer is, what their needs are, then you can address those.

 

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Transcription:

Speaker 1:

From his first job, flipping burgers at McDonald’s and delivering the Washington Post, Craig Willett counts only one and a half years of his adult life working for someone else. Welcome to the Biz Sherpa podcast, with your host Craig Willett, founder of several multimillion dollar businesses and trusted advisor to other business owners. He’s giving back to help.

Speaker 1:

Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs achieve fulfillment, enhance their lives and create enduring wealth. The Biz Sherpa.

Craig Willett:

This is Craig Willett, the Biz Sherpa. Thanks for joining me today. On today’s episode, I’m going to share with you the Biz Sherpa’s tips on selling. Often we think selling means putting pressure on someone to make a decision and I think that that’s the wrong impression. How many times have you been, and I remember my first trip to the car dealer and I don’t mean to trash car dealers. I have some friends as you know, Warren LeSueur and his family. They don’t put pressure on people, but my first trip to a car dealer was when we had our first child and I knew our little Honda Prelude and my little Dodge Daytona wouldn’t be sufficient to be able to put a car seat in the back or be safe for our child so we went to a car dealership to buy a Chevy Tahoe, well, what’s the equivalent of a Tahoe today?

Craig Willett:

But anyway, this is a long time ago. I remember going in to the dealer and sitting down with my wife and not only were they going to give us some big, huge tiger stuffed animal if we bought a car that day, but more importantly, they sat down and went over a matrix of what the car would do for us, how much they could finance it for and what the price would be if we paid cash and then they kept putting pressure on us. What can we do for you to make you buy the car today? And that’s what I didn’t like. I wanted to buy a car. I didn’t have to have it that day. It was a little early for me to be buying one but if we found the right car, then we would buy it. But I don’t like the pressure and I don’t think any of us like that pressure.

Craig Willett:

One of the things that I say always about business when it comes to having any kind of product or service is, have a product or service that solves a problem and then you need to learn to listen. You need to learn to listen when people show up or call or inquire about your product or service and train your staff to learn to listen. They will tell you what their problem is and why they need your product, I promise you. Spend some time. If you have a sales staff that sells by phone, record their calls and then listen with them. Listen to what people say. They tell you. They tell you right off.

Craig Willett:

I remember James Stevenson on our podcast, where he shared with us that he went through all these benefits that his property management company could do when at the end of the day, all the customer wanted to know is if somebody from his staff could be at the house next Tuesday to let the furniture movers in. That would have sealed the deal, not what happens if there’s a leak on the second story of the house and what kind of problem that would do and how they could solve that for them.

Craig Willett:

I think it’s that simple, listen. The other thing that I think is important and it causes us not to listen, but I think it’s really important is to know our product. Know its features, know how it distinguishes you from your competitors. Now, often I find that it’s really easy to say what the competitors don’t do that yours does. I don’t like that. Someone told me early on, “If you’re going to be the best at what you do or you’re going to have the best product, then your features should stand on their own.” When I developed office buildings, we said what our product had and all of its features and we listed them out. As people shopped our product, we were more expensive, but they started to learn why some of our features were important and then when they would ask our competitors if they had those features, they couldn’t say they did. Let them lose the deal. You gain the deal by saying what you do and then stand behind it.

Craig Willett:

The third area I just sort of mentioned and that is, don’t lead with price, focus on the features that solve the problems, not the price. The price will take care of itself if they understand how and why your product or service solves their problem. And once they understand that, a lot of people are relieved and you’d be surprised how much people are willing to pay just to have a problem solved. It gets it off their problem list and it allows them time think about managing their time and their business. It all of a sudden solves a big issue for them.

Craig Willett:

The other thing that I would say you need to do, the fourth tip to selling is, measure demand. Now you might say, “Well, how do I do that?” Well, it’s based on the number of calls you get, based on the number of inquiries you have. It kind of tells you how interested the market is in your product or service. When you see that go up, you need to step back and ask yourself, “Do you have the ability to ration this product or service?” And if you do, you may want to consider raising your price. If the demand for your product is continuing to go up, it’s time to raise the price.

Craig Willett:

Let me tell you a story. I went to Europe, I told you that one of the things I did to help decompress and spend time was I’d schedule away three to four weeks in the summertime to go with my family to Europe. Why? It was eight hours time zone or nine hours time zone difference from here and I could then spend time with my family during the day while the people working in my business and my customers were sleeping. And then I was sleeping while they were up working and it gave me time to decompress.

Craig Willett:

But anyway, back to my point, while I was gone on one of these trips, my key employees were just taking orders like crazy on one of our projects. When I came back, they said, “Craig, we sold out.” And I thought to myself, well gee, that’s great but how did you sell out so quickly? Well, the week after you left, they announced a hospital a mile away from that project and we just got calls from all kinds of doctors. And I thought to myself, boy, if we had only been able to take a pause or you had called me, I would have told you to raise the price. This is the only opportunity we have to be within a mile and to be having buildings ready before the hospital opens so that those doctors that want to locate near that hospital can buy from us. It’s supply and demand and so you need to measure that demand accordingly.

Craig Willett:

The other thing that I think is really important is to answer phone calls. If you’ve ever sold for me, you’d understand what I demand of my sales staff and that is answer your phone. I wanted to make sure that when people call on our buildings, that they got a live human. There’s nothing like leaving a message and wondering when you’re ever going to hear back. The person calling you is busy. They have things to do too. They’ve set aside some time to call and to learn about your product or service. If you can’t answer their call, you’re not treating them with the respect they deserve to be interested in your product.

Craig Willett:

One of our guests on this show is Jim Stachowski, and you’ll find that Jim Stachowski always has a phone ear piece in and will answer his phone at any time. I’ve called him at 10:00 o’clock at night, he’s answered his phone. I’ve called him at 2:00 in the afternoon and he’s been on the back of a horse and he answers my call. Why? He’s one of the best horse trainers in the world bar none and he probably does the most deals in buying and selling horses in the country. He answers the call. You never know who it’s going to be and you never know how important the request is going to be, so answer the call, make yourself available to your clients.

Craig Willett:

Now, the other thing that I think is really important in the sales process is not to set artificial deadlines. People sense that. We all like to get and meet a quota during a month and sometimes you hear people putting these deadlines. If I sell a few more, I get a trip or I get a prize. If you buy this today, you’ll help me win that prize or you’ll help me be the top salesperson this month. You know what? That may work for some things but I think it’s a low blow to the customer when you do that. Why do I say that? Because I think the customer, you have to show them integrity. You have to show them respect for their time. If it’s a big decision that they’re trying to make, respect their timeframes. They’ll make it in due time. They’ll have their own deadline.

Craig Willett:

In the office building market, they had a lease that was going to expire and once you knew when that was, they had their own self imposed deadline. You could help work it backwards so you could say, “Look, I know you have a lot to think about, but to make the decision and to give yourself enough time so that your building is ready when your lease expires, you need to make a decision by this date.” But you’re only helping them schedule their lives so that they can make a good decision and not rule yours out because of lack of time. But when you give the artificial times, like somebody else is going to put an offer on this tomorrow and they may or they may not, you can tell them other people are interested, but what’s important is to be open and to be honest with them. You never know what people are going to do.

Craig Willett:

I remember one time needing to meet payroll and you’ve probably heard this story from me before. Somebody flew in, was interested. We announced a new project and once we got the information out, a chiropractor called, who owned a number of chiropractic offices in the Valley and he called and he said, “I really want one of those buildings there. How can I meet you today?” He flew in on the site and met our salesperson on site, left him with a check for the deposit on that building for 10% because he wanted the one on the street right there on the corner so he could have his name on it and get all the advertising he’s used to getting for being a prominent chiropractic firm in the area. Be careful about deadlines, you never know. They’re going to have theirs, they’re going to have them for different reasons, but you want to understand what your customer really needs first.

Craig Willett:

The other thing that I think is important to be able to do all that I’ve talked about is to ask questions. Learn to ask questions. Once you understand who your customer is, what their needs are, then you can address those. And that relates back to my first tip and that is, learn to listen. When you ask the question, then learn to listen. I had a friend, he was really good. He leased retail space and one of the tricks he taught me early on in my career, is he said, “Craig, when you ask the question, sit back and put a mint in your mouth. It’s time for you to be quiet.” You’ll be amazed at what they’ll tell you if you’re asking the right questions.

Craig Willett:

And then of course you can’t forget to ask for the deal. I think it’s an extremely important thing. How many times have you been ready to buy something, but they fed you with so much information that you got confused and you went away wondering whether it was for you. If you’ve worked the process correctly and educated your potential customer on your product, on your service and it’s a match, there is nothing wrong with asking for the deal and say to them, “Since this seems to meet your needs or at least it’s my perception that it does, how about we do the paperwork that’s necessary to reserve this for you?” Now that’s not putting pressure, that’s trying to help them out before somebody else does and they lose on the opportunity or time slips away and they get busy doing other things. That’s another way to say it. “Hey, I understand you’re busy and I know it might be hard to get together again for another week or two. How about we put together the necessary paperwork to reserve this for you?”

Craig Willett:

These are very easy things to say and if they’re said right, you’re asking for the deal and you’re asking for a commitment. When you ask for that commitment, you’re trying to see if you’ve met all of their criteria and answered all their problems. Now that’s another time to listen. When you ask and they hesitate, you could ask them, “What’s your concerns?” And then listen and take note and then say you’ll look into it and see how you can resolve those concerns for them.

Craig Willett:

Biz Sherpa’s tips for selling are learn to listen. Understand the problem that they have so that you know how to solve that problem for them. Know your product but the problem with knowing your product is you could start to list a whole bunch of features like James Stevenson said, “I can solve your problem if you have a leak on the second floor,” when really all they want to do is be able to move their furniture in next Tuesday and make sure you have a staff person there or a property manager there to greet the furniture movers and let them in. It’s important to know your product and know how it meets their needs.

Craig Willett:

Make sure you distinguish yourself from the competition by saying what you do and what your product or service does. They’ll figure out for themselves what the others don’t do. They may ask you a question to compare. Never trash another competitor’s product that could come back to haunt you. Focus on features, look at what yours does well that solve the problems. Don’t focus again on other things. It’s easy to become distracted. Measure demand, make sure that you’re pricing your product or your service to meet the demand that’s there. I talked about meeting an increasing demand and I shared a story today about that, but you might have decreasing demand and you may offer a special once in a while to measure the demand and get it back up. Where you give a percentage off for a period of time if they buy or commit to a contract with you in a certain period of time.

Craig Willett:

Most important, answer the phone, answer the calls. If someone’s taking the time to call you, answer it. I know we live in a day where we text each other and I think we do that out of respect so we’re not taking up time. But if someone like my very first customer, when I put up my first sign on my first project called and said, “I’m out looking to renew my lease and I see your sign own for less than rent. I have a lease expiring in about four months. I didn’t know I could own my office building.” You want to be there to get that call. And also keep in mind, they have a limited amount of time and if they leave a message and it takes you a long time to return that call, then it’s going to reflect poorly on you and you may not be able to reach them for a long period of time and may have missed the opportunity.

Craig Willett:

Don’t put artificial deadlines. Remember no artificial deadlines. Be genuine. Ask questions to qualify. Again, you should listen from the beginning and then ask more questions to be sure you understand. And then don’t forget to ask for the deal. There are ways to ask for the deal that don’t put pressure on the buyer or the customer.

Craig Willett:

As you master these eight tips to selling you’ll understand that the Biz Sherpa podcast is here to help you. If it can make a difference in your life, that’s all I care about. This is not here for paid content. This is not here to make me somebody important. This is here to make a difference in your life. I’m here. I spend this time on your behalf. This is where I give back. I’m grateful that you would spend the time and listen to my podcast today. This is Craig Willett, the Biz Sherpa. Thanks for joining us.

Speaker 1:

Be sure to go to our website to access the resources related to this episode at www.bizsherpa.co. If you enjoyed this show, tell your friends about us and be sure to rate our podcast. Craig would like to hear from you so share your thoughts in the Facebook community bizsherpa.co. Follow us on Twitter @bizsherpa_co and on Instagram @bizsherpa.co.

 

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