You ask for a cappuccino. The barista tells you the price. You pay. You get your coffee. Where is the problem with that?
There is no problem. It’s exactly how it’s supposed to go.
So why does it feel so different when you switch roles? What makes selling your own products or services feel sleazy or awkward?
In this article we will look at 4 ways to prepare for a sales talk:
- Review the standard questions and answers
- Prepare a rough quote
- Analyze your competitors
- Know when to say no
Over time these things will become familiar enough that you hardly need to think about them. But when you just start out, good preparation is a major help.
1. Go through the standard questions and answers
Even before the sales talk you know some basic questions will come up. There are some things every customer wants to know. This is usually basic information to you as an expert, but customers might not know how it works.
Review the basic questions before your talk. If you can’t answer them, think of what you would need to give the answer.
- Is what I want possible?
- When can I have it?
- Are there are any risks?
- What does it cost?
- What exactly is included?
You can fine-tune these questions for your own business. The important thing is to go through the basics. If you want to go a step further you can publish your standard questions and answers on your website as an FAQ. With any luck your customers will show up with the right preparation as well.
Ask questions to make a good deal
Preparing a few questions of your own provides you with all the information you need. Think of it as you and the customer making a briefing together. You will learn what to base your offer on and can show your professional approach to the customer.
Make the information as concrete as possible, so include information like materials, sizes, deadlines and special requirements.
- What do you need to get started on an assignment?
- Do customers know what they want?
- What is essential and what is ‘nice to have’?
- How precise is the image they have in mind?
- Is all the information you need available?
Getting to know the exact wishes of the customer helps you determine if you can offer that at a decent price. You won’t have to worry about ‘pushing the sale’: your customer will recognize how you offer what they are looking for.
2. Prepare a rough quote
Before you go into a sales conversation start preparing your offer for the customer. Use whatever you know about the job to estimate the number of working hours. Then apply your hourly rates so you can give the customer a rough quote.
Present a clear price
Customers think about the finished product, not about the working hours. They prefer to hear a price for the full job instead an hourly rate. It’s easier to understand and doesn’t suggest that the price can still go up. Just make sure you agree on a number of working hours in these cases.
Don’t let the customer dictate prices
Sales talks get awkward if a customer tries to set the price for your services. Your own rough quote helps you recognize if the price a customer mentions is acceptable to you. If it is not, you can negotiate or decline the job.
3. Analyze your competitors
Your customer might be talking to several companies. Your sales talk is your moment to stand out and make the customer remember you.
Make sure they hear your good qualities
Make sure the customer hears about all your good sides. It is those strong points that will make customers want to work with you. Why not open the conversation with “What I do differently from others in my field is…”. You show confidence and you give the customer a solid reason to choose you.
Sell your value instead of your product
What if it’s between you or your competitor? Do you know what convinces the customer? See how you compare to your competition when it comes to price and quality.
- Better price / quality ratio. You could consider charging more. If you want to keep your current prices, it’s good to know you don’t need to go into negotiations if you don’t want to.
- Worse price / quality ratio. A potential customer might ask you to “justify” your prices or might have a strong position in any negotiations over price.
The value of your product lies in the feeling it gives customers. They don’t just buy your product, they also get more free time, more confidence or a feeling of security. In the sales talk try to recognize which value matters to the customer. It will help you convince customers and helps you make decisions while working with the customer.
Here are more tips on how to Analyze your Competitors’ Websites >>>
4. Know when to say no
Not every sales talk turns into a deal. Sometimes you only discuss options or recognize that your offer and the customer’s demand don’t match. This happens all the time, so don’t feel bad about it.
List your dealbreakers
What customer demand would make you decline a job? Would you take this job if it has to be finished by the end of the week? Would you accept a job if the customer is not willing to review work in progress?
You want to sell your products or services, but a bad deal can drain time and energy. So when you prepare your offer make a mental note of what is non-negotiable for you.
Decline under-rate offers
If you are unsure about sales talks, declining a job can feel like losing. But actually, declining a bad offer is good business. No need to feel bad about it. Instead of working far under your rate, your time is better spent finding the right customers who are willing to pay the right amount.
To avoid the awkwardness try attracting the right customers with a pricing page on your website.
Conclusion: Think like a seller, not a customer
Has someone ever sold you a bad second-hand car? Or do you remember that overly-pushy sales rep? You don’t want to be like that. But don’t let your own bad customer experiences stop you from actually selling your products or services.
Sales talks are not just for the Jerry Maguires, the Weasley twins or the Wolves of Wall Street. Natural talent helps, but the most essential for a confident sales talk is the combination of a good product and a good preparation.