sales advice

How to deal with competitors

I used to hate my competitors. I absolutely loathed them. They were taking money out of my pocket…how dare they???!?!??

A few years ago, one of my coworkers went to go work for the competition and I was stunned. How could they? They were the enemy! We talked about it and it turned out Greg got any opportunity he had been waiting years for…it just so happened it was with a different company.

Greg explained to me why he made the decision and a light bulb went off in my head.

I had prided myself on my loyalty and loved my company, but it was eye opening for a naive boy from Pittsburgh.

I realized then, that instead of looking at competitors with contempt, I should, rather, admire them for what they’ve been able to accomplish and in ways that they are better than me.

Every company has issues…it’s how you deal with those issues that sets you apart from the pack.

The next time your competition beats you…don’t get mad. Instead use it as a learning experience and work on becoming better yourself.

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sales advice

To Sell More….Talk Less

Almost every sales person I’ve ever met talks a lot. I don’t just mean a lot, I mean they talk too much.

In sales, the customer wants to be the focus of the deal. The customer wants to be the focus of the conversation. The customer wants to be the focus of the relationship. When a sales person comes in and all they do is talk about themselves, it turns off the buyer. BECAUSE, it’s not about you! It’s about them!

Think about your last buying experience and think about a sales pro that really made you feel good about yourself. Was it because they told you what they had for dinner last night? Or how many countries they’ve been to? Or was it because they asked you questions and were honestly, genuinely, interested in you?

I don’t have the gift of gab. I don’t talk too much. Quite frankly, there are times when I don’t talk enough. But I’m genuinely interested in other people’s lives and experiences to where I have an easy time building and fostering relationships. It’s not because I don’t talk too much, but that helps. It’s because I want to know my customer’s likes and dislikes, cares and worries, what they do for fun, and how I can serve them.

If you want to sell more, you need to learn to talk less, listen more, and have a genuine interest in your customer’s life, goals, and company.

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How to sell to Government Agencies

Be ready for a long sales cycle. The government makes slow decisions and it’s even slower when you’re trying to convince them to buy something they haven’t purchased before or switch vendors.

Like all buyers, though, it’s still run by people who are more inclined to buy from you if they like you. The first step is to make sure you are communicating with the buyer and not someone who thinks they are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking the questions, “are you the decision maker for this field?” and “is there anyone else I should include?” during this process.

Once you’ve established a relationship you have to work on gaining an advantage and that advantage is for you to be written into the bid specs. Every company has their competitive advantage that is somewhat different than your competitors. Even if you feel you don’t have anything special, you can still ask to have the bid specifications written as such; “equipment provided shall be the ’12” pump’ as provided by Godwin Pumps of Bridgeport, NJ.” I specifically mention Godwin Pumps because they have done an absolutely incredible job at getting their pumps specified in government bids. Their pumps aren’t any better, but they asked to be specified and the customer complied.

If you can get your company or product mentioned in the bid, you are leap years ahead of the competition. Let me know how it works out for you! email me at david.digennaro@gmail.com

sales advice

How to use golf to make sales

Golf is an awesome relationship building tool and can facilitate making friends for a long time. Here’s how to use golf to make sales for the long haul.

Verify your customers coming the morning of and then get to the course early and pay for their rounds before they get there. Buy your customers either entire box of logoed of balls if you have the budget or even a sleeve of logoed balls will suffice. The logoed balls creates a memory of the course for the customers as most customers want to save the ball with a logo. Make sure you have access to their range if they have one and make sure you hit a few on the range. Keep it light and loose on the range and don’t hit too many balls. You only have so many good shots during the day.

When you start, gauge your customer’s interest on placing a wager….something like a wager on par threes, birdies are worth money, etc. This is not necessary, but usually adds an element of fun.

I’ve never purposefully lost to a customer. I’ve been beaten a bunch but I never purposefully lose. But, I’ve played with guys that beat me and had a great time watching them do it and I’ve also been beaten by guys who take a little too much pleasure in it….In other words, if you are beating your customer, try not to make it obvious and don’t do anything that will make them think you’re a jagoff like rubbing it in their face or telling them you’re the greatest golfer ever.

I never mention work/sales/business for at least the first nine holes. 100% of the time I’ve golfed with customers, they brought up business before I felt it was necessary. When they bring up your company is the time for you to explain your business, how you can help them, and then ask a few probing questions like, “what is your biggest challenge with the equipment you rent at your refinery?” or “‘if we were able to manage your inventory would that solve your problem?”

Feed your customers well at the turn and continue on the round. Make sure you give them a firm handshake at the end and offer to buy them lunch or dinner in the clubhouse if you have time. If you don’t have time to buy them lunch make sure you establish the next step whether it’s getting them a formal proposal or setting another meeting.

The most important thing about golfing with the customer is to have fun with them and develop that relationship. If they like you, they will buy from you. It might not happen at first, but don’t give up!