A presentation is from your point of view, positioning is from that of the customer.

So we have done our preparatory work. We have done research, set objectives, and know how to ask questions. So now what do we do?

You’re in front of the customer or on the telephone with them and they are waiting for you to begin. Many salespeople offer a canned presentation. You know the ones. You seem to always hear them on telemarketing calls at dinner time, don’t you? That is not the thing to do.

So let’s give you an approach that is bound to succeed. Let’s have a continuation of the sales approach, and add the steps in the presentation stage of selling.

Here is the next series of things you need to learn in order to become good at “selling.”

  • Explain the benefits.
  • Overcome the objections.
  • Close the sale.

Explain the Benefits

One of the most important aspects of any product knowledge is what is called the “features.” These are that long list of reasons for any customer to buy what you are selling. The quality of the materials, the durability, the technical specifications, and maybe even the color are possible features.

But none of them really matter at all to your customer.

You’re thinking, “Come on. Features are very important. They are what make the difference when I am comparing myself to the competition.”

But I repeat, they do not matter at all. It is the benefits the customer will realize in using your product or service that comes from all those fantastic features. Customers buy the benefits and not the features.

They are concerned with what the product or service will do for them. It is the money they will save over the life of the product, the time they will save when they use your product or service, and most importantly in our work, the lifetime of the product and service.

Overcome the Objections

In every sales function or sales event there will be objections. You’ve heard them. “Your price is too high” is the most common one. But it could be the color, the packaging, the brand, or the quantity. It could be many things.

In every sales function or sales event there will be objections. You’ve heard them. “Your price is too high” is the most common one. But it could be the color, the packaging, the brand, or the quantity. It could be many things.

It could even be about you. I always say to a customer they can say “no” to me, but only if they don’t like me— because the things I sell are the best. And even though I am making light of it, I still get a lot of no’s. You can’t win all the time in anything.

But if we are good at our jobs and at selling, we won’t take the objections personally. We will try and make it very specific so can truly understand what the customer really is objecting to with the product or service. You see, objections are good things as they mean the customer is interested. I view objections as the opportunity for me to further explain the benefits to the customer.

Close the Sale

Okay, so you have explained the benefits and you have overcome every objection the customer has raised. What’s next? Closing the sale is the next step and it sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet this is where many people fail. People don’t recognize the buying signal.

There is an old expression, “You have two eyes and two ears and only one mouth.” You really need to pay attention in the selling business. You need to watch and listen and pay attention to everything your customer does in the process.

So don’t be shy. If you are worried about closing, go for what I call a “trial close.” Say, “If I can overcome those objections, will you give me an order?”

But one thing is for sure—you have to ask for the order. And once you have the order in hand, don’t say anything more. Just thank the customer.

So there you have it: Selling 101. The preparation stage in which you do the research, set objectives, and learn how to ask questions. Then the presentation phase in which you explain the benefits, overcome the objections, and close the sale.

So I leave it up to you. It really is the way of the world. From ideas to products to philosophies to services, everything we want to do requires that someone somewhere sells something.

And you know what? It’s fun. So go ahead and try it. It won’t hurt at all.

by Ron Slee
July, 2009
Water Well Journal

About Water Well Journal

The Water Well Journal is the leading resource for those working in the groundwater industry. The flagship publication of the National Ground Water Association is delivered to more than 24,000 people every month and covers technical issues related to drilling and pump installation, rig maintenance, business management, well rehabilitation, water treatment, and more.

Since many of the companies in the groundwater industry are small family-run businesses it is critical that Water Well Journal provide much more than technical content. That is why Ron Slee’s monthly columns addressing management, supply, and inventory issues are valuable. It is that type of information that helps the publication achieve NGWA’s mission of advancing groundwater knowledge.