This brief guide about selling is written from the perspective of a marketing & advertising agency.

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In sales, the most daunting task is to do cold-calling. As a salesperson, you frequently knock at the door and meet new people unsolicited.

You must think that meeting someone without an appointment is the hardest thing. Well, it is not because in meeting someone, the human interaction removes lots of challenges and the communication is a lot easier in person.

I am sure , it is a lot easier to win over a person in a personal meeting. There is something uncanny about the human face and it has the potential to catch your attention. The face can have a disarming effects on a  person.

However, on the phone, you do not have that luxury, it is just your voice. However, you can reduce the challenges if you prepare yourself for it.

Here is a quick brief about the sales process:

1: Prospecting:

The first task that you need to complete very carefully is the research. You need to find prospects and qualify them by taking a look at their online presence. Qualifying means if the potential client (called prospect) can buy your product or service.

Research the prospects online presence.

I think qualifying prospect is an important step in every sales process but 10X important in the B2B market.

For example, digital marketing industry, the website can give you almost all the basic ideas about a potential client or their business. You can assess how they are employing Digital marketing.

This approach works best when you are selling online marketing services. For other products/services, you need to use a mixed approach. You need to gather bits and pieces of information both online and offline in that case.

You can carefully read their about and product/service section followed by a peek into their main competition and their websites.

Sometimes, the sales or business development executive preferable (a Solepreneur) look at the location in the city to determine whether the client is rich or poor.

Is this the right way to assess a potential budget of a prospect? Tell me what you think of this.

FYI, I have come across some really bad customers in posh areas in terms of spend. I guess the important thing is if they appreciate what you or your industry offer.

Many people have this misconception that internet marketing should be cheap. You need to be ready to overcome that during the negotiation process. Educating them a little does go a long way.

Have a script ready before you call the qualified prospect: I assume that you know your product very well and do your rehearsals like the actors. Man, nowadays you have got the smartphone, you can even film yourself, and be like Mr. Dan Drapper.

Try to find out who influences the decision and this is the person who would often be the first person to meet you. Often, the decision maker is someone else. Try to get an appointment with a decision maker first, if not, then try meeting them both in the same hour in a back-to-back meeting.

During the call, it is advisable that you ask about the budget earlier on to assess their spend. If the budget is not good enough, you can end the call.

Keep your rebuttals ready

Prepare a response when a prospect says:

a) Email us your proposal. b) we are not interested c) we are already working with another agency? d) I am doing it myself

Don’t send a proposal without listening to their problem questions.  If they are interested, they should spare a few minutes to share their list of pain points.

Afterward, I don’t send proposals, I just send them the contract draft. “email us your proposal” is just to get rid of you as they are hit by cold calls every day.

3: During the call with the prospect, stand or walk as it brings more energy & momentum. It is also better for your health considering the epidemic of diseases caused by the sedentary lifestyle.

4: Ask about the decision maker: This is too important and don’t forget it.

5: Don’t act like you need their business, they also need your help. So no need to act desperately.

6: Ask if they have any other agency working for them. If they say yes, then offer something that the agency doesn’t offer or do well. Remember, you had learned that during the research when you were qualifying the prospect.

Don’t be Desperate: This is the mistake we all make during the beginning of our careers and business. We are desperate to get work but you have got to be selective. I know this is easier said than done.

I am sure you would not follow this advice mostly even if you know it is the right thing to do. We all have been there and done that 🙂

The pressure at the earlier stage of your start-up is so intense, it is really hard not to react to the situation.

Keeping a balanced and calm approach is enjoyable when you write or read an article like this 🙂 but once you have drawn your horses running for life out there, the animal instinct kicks in unconsciously.

Too bad we have evolved this way! Ok, It does feel better to blame it all on the evolution, right?

Having said that, I must also say that you don’t need to freak out as practice makes perfect. Just try to get the experience of facing these situations, you would do better.

I am sure.

However, the key is to stay focused on the gains in the long-run. Cheap clients would destroy your growth and would seriously bog your agency down.

Don’t forget, you would like to grow your business in the end!

That’s why among the mystics when someone is spiritually high at night is considered less useful as compared to his mental/spiritual state during the day. It’s the day which is full of distractions and makes you forget about important goals and the direction of life.

This must not happen to your during a deal. Negotiate your terms of survival loud and clear 🙂 Don’t be absent mentally during the negotiation.

How to do a Sales Presentation: Selling Online Marketing Services.

Know the product/service

It means you should know how it solves the customer’s problem. Prepare, detailed list of rebuttals on important aspects like the features and pricing.

Do you have any experience?

This is an important question and can lead to many rejections if you don’t have a presentable portfolio. The solution is to do complementary services for small businesses.

A lot of small businesses would not entertain you either if you just randomly start looking in the market. To land a good client for a complimentary service you also need to research the local market.

Try to select a business that has already availed services from your industry. Such a business is likely to appreciate what you offer for free. They can also potentially opt for paid services with you in the future.

The next important task is to learn how you should present your portfolio. A presentation is an art and I am not just talking about the speaking part but the overall organization of your thoughts.

You see having a beautiful presentation does not necessarily earn you a good deal but it can definitely play a role in breaking one.

Mr. Herzburg called this factors of satisfaction and factors of dissatisfaction. For further details, you can look up Herzberg Two-Factor Theory for details. Herzberg says that some factors can merely satisfy a buyer but not motivate them to take action i.e to buy from you.

On the other hand, if the factors of satisfaction (i.e dissatisfiers ) exist then the buyer would drop your service or brand from consideration list. Therefore, having a bad presentation will surely destroy your deal, but a good one would not necessarily get you one.

8: Pay attention to details: It sounds cliched but it is true. Pay attention to the client’s psychology and when they say something don’t take it lightly.

You should weigh and measure your response. Anything you say represents you and anything they say, if you miss it, can break or make your deal.

For example, I was almost closing a client after several meetings (a lot of waste of time & money) ,but I took an unnecessary hard stand over a little change in the price. The client said this:

” Look, think about this let me know how you can adjust some of the prices for your services. Please, don’t quote me now.”

But I did it then and there. I gave them the final quotation.

The rest is a history and a bad memory as they never entertained my call after that 🙂 Now I can laugh about it and make fun of myself but those days if you would have broached the subjects, man…..!

9: Get Organized:

Just organized yourself. 🙂 what? Everyone can give such free & useless advice. In fact, you don’t need such advice at all; it’s just common sense, isn’t it?

What you really need to do is, define what organizing means  in your life. Ask yourself these questions:

Why are you so disorganized? What causes this? Do you really like the work you do?

OK, please I don’t mean the tidiness of your room. To hell with making your bed and organizing your room.

Do you find yourself organized around your work process? Try to answer this question honestly.

10: Focus on the value for the client and cite a reference to your work. In other words, ensure that your work is important to your prospect’s business.

If you are not convinced that you can contribute, then you should get out of that meeting asap. Be politely though. Just tell them you are not able to do the job for them.

Why Should you be a consultant and where you should draw the limit (coming next)?