Are you a Sale Maker or an Order Taker?

Are you responsible for Selling or Order Taking? An Order Taker waits for “the right time” the prospect is going to consider purchasing your services or products. Proactive sales people believe that what they sell helps their customers. They create a sense of urgency in the mind of the customer to win business now. They politely compel prospects to buy sooner by confirming value established by benefits that are important to the customer.

At Sales Concepts, we have trained thousands of sales people over the past 33 years. We are always amazed at people who when told to call back in six months, will actually wait for six months to call again. Most don’t ask, “Why six months?”

We are saddened to hear a Sales Person react to “send me more information” by sending more information without asking questions. Why not politely ask, “What have I said to cause you to want more information?” “What have I said that interest you?” Why not say, “I’ll be glad to send you information. However, we have a lot of material; I want to make sure I send you information that addresses your needs. Would you allow me about two minutes to ask a couple of questions?”

Below are questions that may be asked if you were selling scientific or lab instruments.  These are just examples, but you can adapt these questions to your industry and customer types.

  •     Would you briefly tell me about your application?
  •     What is your average throughput per day?
  •     How long does it take fulfill an order?
  •     Who actually does the analysis?
  •     Wwhat does your technician make per hour.
  •     How are you doing it now?
  •     Are you pleased with the instrument you are now using? What do you like/dislike about it?
  •     What would you want to do differently if you could?

These are merely some examples of questions you can ask. We’re not suggesting you bombard the prospect with questions, but not asking any questions may come across as if you are really not interested. “Oh, you are having a meeting in May? Tell me about your meeting. Do you have an agenda? What is the purpose of the meeting? Where will it be? Who is attending?”

If you are unable to tell your manager about the prospect’s needs, sense of urgency, present problems, etc. then you are probably an Order Taker.

Why not ask “Why did you agree to talk with me?” You’ll be surprised at the answers! Some people call this qualifying. I call this selling. How can you help a prospect if you do not understand their situation and circumstances?

Yes, I know the prospect is usually in a hurry so “sell” them on giving you some time! Selling is not telling – It’s asking questions to create urgency in the prospect’s mind. Good things don’t always happen to those who wait.

“Thanks! Great Presentation!”

“Great Presentation!” These cGreat Presentationould be the two worst words you can hear after your sales presentation! Another horrible response a presenter might hear after a presentation is “Thank you very much. We don’t see a fit at this time.” Without an inspiring action step, most sales-oriented presentations inform without compelling a proactive response from the prospect(s). Almost anyone can deliver an informative presentation. However, when you bring together an informative presentation that is sales-oriented, you have a powerful combination that will more likely achieve the desired result: a trial, a visit, an ORDER!

Two other critical components to a compelling presentation are its visual appeal and flexibility to accommodate the audience’s interests. The graphics, support materials and content flow must be stimulating. It’s boring to use a PowerPoint presentation with black type on a white background in the default font of Arial. If this describes your presentations, maybe you hear the refrain, “Thanks, we’ll get back to you” more than you would like. There’s no question that a visually attractive presentation commands greater attention, but it also needs to be flexible. Use hyperlinks to navigate to content when your prospect shows interest in a point or asks a question. It’s more important to respond your prospect’s thoughts than following the order of your slides. Visual appeal and flexibility will produce a more proactive response from your prospects. That means you may have to brush up on your PowerPoint skills. Some of the best sales-oriented presentations we have seen did not use PowerPoint at all. If you prepare and practice with your prospect in mind, you can command the attention all by yourself! Gasp! Remember, PowerPoint is there to support you, not replace you.

Here are a few keys to a truly great presentation that generates action and business:

The Objective
This is the most important part of any presentation. A presentation can’t be compelling without one.
Leave nothing to chance, take nothing for granted.
Analyzing Your Audience
Understand and fulfill their expectations.
Build the core of your presentation and be prepared to respond.
The Opening
Grab the attention of your audience and hold it.
Compell your audience to want to listen for the rest of your story.
Getting Feedback
Know for certain that you are compelling.
Finish strong with a call for action.

So take a time to review your presentations or those used by your team. Ask an objective individual to give you their assessment. Is the presentation focused on your objective, and the customer’s needs? Does it compel you to take action? If not, re-tool your presentation to include the ideas and points mentioned above. Sometimes it takes an external source to help sharpen the presentation skills of your team. At Sales Concepts, we are your ally when it comes to delivering successful sales-oriented presentations, so that instead of “Great Presentation” you will hear “How soon can we get started?”