When making a sales presentation, whether in person, in an email or at a trade show, remember that it’s a two-way conversation. You need to learn how to sell to this particular prospect as well as explain your product.

What I see, hear and experience too often is a one-sided onslaught of me, me, me, my, my, my.

Here are my secrets to having a great sales call:

  • Do your homework. Look at your prospects’ stores, web site, weekly advertising flyer, and social media. You’ll get a sense of who their target audience is and you’ll understand some of the marketing options to promote your products if your products get distribution.
  • Have an agenda. And share it with the prospect. You want to learn how to do business with them, right? So, make that focus of why you are there.
  • I highly suggest you ask more questions than you answer. If you do this well, you’ll only answer the questions that lead to “yes”. Sometimes we say too much and bring up issues that are red flags to the buyer. So, manage your outflow basing it on what they want and need for their stores to be successful.
  • Understand retail math. You need to know what your product will sell for on the shelf within a margin of error. I’ve seen products span $4.29-5.99. If you have a feeling for what this channel of trade is using for their margin you can determine a range your product should fall in, e.g. $2.99-3.99. If you are putting a price out there that isn’t attainable, you will lose a lot of credibility.
  • Ask what the next steps are.
  • Get the buyers assistant’s number and email so you can copy them in on your follow-up.
  • Follow-up in a timely manner. You’ll know what that means because you asked!
  • Promise less, deliver more. You can always sweeten the deal later, but you can’t take away something given.

Deb Mazzaferro has been selling specialty foods since 1977 and coaching companies on how to grow their sales and profitability since 2001. Contact her at Deb@CoachMaz.com to discuss your sales team’s challenges.

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