By Steve Schwimmer
Renaissance Merchant Services
Most of us in sales are confident in our ability to represent the products and services we have been trained to sell. But, should your sales job end there? No, that is just the beginning.
In recent months, I have been spending time looking at ways to reach my target audience in order to grow my business. So should you.
Begin with taking an inventory of your appearance. Do you look like a trustworthy, competent person?
Put a full-length mirror next to your door with a sign over it: "Would you want to buy products and services from this person?" Be honest, and certainly ask your co-workers for feedback.
Depending on whom I am visiting, I generally dress in either professional banker attire, business causal or if, for instance, I am calling on my golf course clientele, I will dress the part. Everyone is more comfortable that way.
The next area of being sales savvy is communication. There has been a lot of research done lately on e-mail etiquette.
I read an article recently by an international communications expert who advised sales clients to strictly reserve e-mail for appointment confirmations and a quick note, and to save all business matters for in-person or over-the-phone conversations.
Why? It is often difficult for an e-mail's recipient to discern the full intent of the sender because tone of voice and facial expressions are lacking in this form of communication.
This can lead to misunderstandings and cause rifts in sales relationships without you even knowing it. It has happened to me, so I know this particular advice is worth following.
Part of the growing trend in communicating with existing and potential clients is the different ways to set yourself apart from your competitors. All our customers are getting bombarded by messages each day.
Keeping your communication simple, yet interesting, is becoming more and more of a challenge.
Whether the mode is e-mail, direct mail or telephone solicitation, there are some very interesting ways to make your message unique, while remaining professional.
Research the various programs available over the Internet as well as those offered by companies specializing in this area of marketing.
Put creativity into your Internet marketing efforts. In-person sales presentations are an excellent way for clients to get to know you, including your mannerisms and character.
But your Web site is a great place for them to peruse your offerings and have virtual interaction with you at their convenience.
I have seen some Web sites that visitors can only read and others that are very interactive with instant messaging and informative links.
Putting a message together in a distinct style remains a very time consuming and, at times, difficult feat.
But it is one you need to do to reinforce the trustworthiness of your message, your character and integrity.
Successful sales professionals can build on knowledge they have acquired by utilizing fresh ways to garner their clients' attention. And this opens the door to increased sales.
Steve Schwimmer is President of the National Association of Payment Professionals. He has been serving the payment processing industry since 1991 and is the Long Island Director of Sales for Renaissance Merchant Services. Call him at 516-746-6363 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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