Patience and persistence are the keys to selling. Product knowledge is a given today and the odds of you having something unique are quite low. How then do people decide who to buy from?
When people are confronted with options how do they decide? First, they usually have to want something or be convinced that they want something. The person who wants something is a person ready to become a buyer, he or she justs need to choose from a multitude of sellers. Probably the first option would be to buy from a vendor he or she previously bought from or a person that he or she has a comfort level with. If you are not currently his vendor how do you get this buyer to have confidence in you and your product? Chances are that this will take time. Most cold calls do not result in an immediate sale. What you should be looking for is to lay the foundation for a future sale. You should exude confidence in yourself and product, without being aggresive or pushy. Let the buyer know what you sell and what he can gain from maintaining a relationship with you. Even if you don't make a sale, try to give this buyer something useful. It might be a promotional product that is handy and will leave a reminder of your company. It might be just some good advice on his purchase or it might just be a better comparitive price that he can use to decrease his purchase price with his current supplier. The idea is to give him or her something for nothing. Once this is done this is not the end but rather the beginning.
One of the major reasons people fail to generate new accounts is that they don't follow up. After your phone call or first meeting, you should send this prospect a hand written thank you note for his time and consideration a long with your business card. You should put a note in your diary or blackberry to call this person every 2 weeks. Be sure not only to see if he has somthing to order from you but try to ask if he'll be working on any new projects in the forseable future. Make careful notes and follow up. If you have any informational literature that might be of use to this client send it to him with your card.
Chances are on his next purchase he'll take your proposal a lot more seriously and might not use your proposal to get a better deal with his current supplier. By interacting more and more with this client you are building up your relationship and instilling a sense of comfort with your prospect. Your cold call should after a few months become a constant source of new opportunities. Remember slow and sure wins the race. Stay the course, be patient and don't be overly aggresive to make a sale now. People can sense desperation and do not want to feel pressured into a purchase.
To those buyers who need to be coaxed into realizing they want a purchase, you must follow the same process. First gain his confidence. Secondly, educate the buyer and thirdly gently nudge him into a purchase. Don't be afraid to ask for a sale in a nice and professional manner. That is the reason you are there. Once you do this once, future challenges will be easier to sell as the buyers concerns and fears are reduced by previous positive experinces with you.
Some of my best customers today in printing and promotional products, took me the longest to get. Promotional products are a great, inexpensive and lasting way to leave a good impression. Today there a multitude of promotional products to choose from. Try to choose something different and personal to your company, that will be useful and enjoyed by your prospect. For fresh ideas google promotional products or check out over 600,000 items at http://www.solutionsink4u.com
Steven Schneidman has a B. A.in psychology and an MBA in finance. He has worked for a major Candian Bank, taught finance at a Canadian University and owns a successful printing and promotional product company.