Conducting yourself in a professional manner and showing the proper respect are key to winning over

There’s a reason that the phone companies put out separate Business-to-Business Yellow Pages. Businesses have their own set of needs. In most cases, commercial clients are generally concerned about the property and insurance requirements and look at getting an alarm system purely as a business decision. “Sales is a challenge irregardless,” says Bob Harris, customer relations manager for Pacific Alarm Systems, Inc. in Culver City, Calif.

To make that challenge easier, following are 15 tips that will enable you to fine-tune your techniques for selling to commercial prospects.

1. Network

“Every person out there is a potential customer or knows a potential customer,” advises Harris, who recommends simply walking down the sidewalk and making friends.”

2. Be Professional

From being well dressed to speaking with conviction, salespeople should always convey a professional attitude.

3. Keep Learning

Before you play a sport you have to know the rules. Once you know the rules, you have to practice. If you don’t practice you’ll soon fall behind. The same applies to selling.

4. Sell Yourself First

It’s helpful to remember that when you come face to face with a prospective buyer, that customer could also be turned off. First impressions are usually lasting ones.

5. Gain Prospects’ Trust

Wilson says that an important first step is to establish what the prospect can expect from you as well as what you expect from the prospect.

6. Ask Key Questions

Wilson also advises asking the prospect a lot of key questions. The key, he says, is to uncover the prospect’s “pain.”

7. Learn to Listen

Although inexperienced salespeople are often overzealous and want to keep talking until they convince people their company can do the job, “the most important step is to listen,” contends Harris.

8. Discuss Budget, Money Up Front

“I used to have a problem discussing money with a client,” says Wilson. “It was always the last thing that was done. Once we handed them the proposal, we waited to see what the expressions on their faces were.

9. Be Well-Versed in Products, Services

Read and study everything you can about the products you are selling. You’ve got to know the products fully before you can convince someone else to buy them.

10. Plan Your Presentation

“We have a questionnaire that we ask prospects to fill out before we make our presentation,” says Kenney.

11. Speak With the Decision-Makers

“When we make the presentation, we try to have the people in front of us who are the decision-makers” adds Kenney. “That helps our closing ratio.”

12. Name Drop

Kenney says Richmond Alarm has a profile of its commercial accounts so that when the company targets new accounts, it targets the ones that meet the profile of what they do.

13. Follow Up

“Many companies lose out by not following up,” says Harris. “It’s extremely important and advantageous – especially for the sales representative who sold the job – to follow up with phone calls and periodic mailings.

14. Service, Service and More Service

“One of the things we routinely hear is that customers like Richmond Alarm because of our customer service,” says Kenney.

15. Respect Your Customers

“It all boils down to one word: respect,” says Harris. “If you have enough respect and value your clients’ patronage, time and trust in you, and show them that they’re not just an account number but a real person who you actually care about, you’ll do well.”

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