If you’re selling business-to-business products that need a demo or hands-on presentation, give yourself the best chance to lock up the order. If you send a salesperson out to the prospect’s site, you risk a lower percentage of orders than if you invite the customer to your site. Once the salesperson walks out your door, you really can’t be sure whether he is going to follow the presentation required by your company. He may not even take the correct model of your product to demonstrate—it’s been known to happen. Or maybe there’s a chance to upgrade the product to the next higher model, but the salesperson doesn’t have it with him or doesn’t mention it. Perhaps he could’ve sold add-ons and accessories—
if he’d had them with him to demonstrate.
If the prospect has a question that the salesperson can’t answer, the rep will have to get back to the prospect with the answer. This interrupts the flow of the presentation, and frankly, it’s not always easy to reach some people after the fact. Also, sales reps may not be able to answer questions about credit terms, payment plans, trade-in values, and so on.
So what does this mean? It means you have a better chance of closing the sale faster (especially on big-ticket items) if you get the buyer in your ballpark. And I mean the buyer, not the buyer’s assistant. Get a person who can make a decision, not just a messenger.
Here are some ideas for how to get your prospect into your ballpark and what to do when he gets there:
- Make your showroom or demo area the neatest and cleanest room in your building.
- Test your demo product in advance to make sure it works! This is very important.
- Keep your showroom near the front door so prospects don’t have to walk down a messy hallway and look in offices with cluttered desks. Believe me, they look.
- Have one or two people in your company responsible for keeping the showroom tidy and ready for unexpected guests at all times
- Have a water cooler and clean paper cups in your demo room.
- Everyone offers coffee, but not too many offer espresso. You can purchase used espresso machines for a few hundred dollars at a restaurant supply store, and it adds a nice touch.
- Have fresh cake, cookies, and/or fruit available.
- Set an exact time and send a limo to pick up the prospect. You can make a deal with a limo company to have X number of trips per month, and you’ll probably get a better price.
- Treat the prospect like a guest, not like a dollar sign.
- Introduce the prospect to other important people in your company.
- Alert your credit department so you’ll have someone available to answer questions if necessary.
- Have a technical person standing by to handle any technical questions.
- If you’re giving a plant tour, advise the plant manager in advance so all employees will be on their best behavior. And be sure the plant is as neat and clean as possible.
- You, the salesperson, and the company should be available to prospects and visitors during working hours and even after hours.
- Demonstrate upgrade products and accessories that should be nearby.
- Show a video of a third-party or satisfied customer using your products.
- Don’t leave your guest/prospect alone in your office or demo room for more than a minute or two.
- Remember that when the prospect is in your ballpark, selling can be a team effort.
- Last but certainly not least, remember that a lot of selling ideas come from listening.