“Nobody likes to be sold, but everybody likes to buy.” That’s how Tom Gill, Senior Sales Strategist, Coach and Trainer with Business Development University, started his presentation on the SkillBites Show this month. Tom shared a number of tips and strategies to make people aware of your product or service and how much it would help them overcome their challenges, without “selling” to them.

Tom is not a fan of cold calling, as that is viewed as an interruption. Instead, he suggested ‘prospecting,’ where you contact someone with whom you have a connection. Maybe you saw them at a networking event, or heard them speak, or there’s an event coming up that you want to invite them to, or you just solved a problem for their competitor and felt they might be interested in the solution as well.

When you have a reason to connect, you can then start a conversation, find out their pain points, dig to uncover the source of the pain and then tell some stories of how your product or service has helped others overcome the same issue.

Tom uses a three-step sales model consisting of (1) building a pipeline of prospects, (2) having a process for nurturing those prospects, and (3) developing the attitude and motivation to convert the prospects to customers. The area he finds most of his clients lack is #2 – the process for nurturing prospects. He reviewed some steps that should be in this process:

  • Qualifying the prospect so that it’s likely that they need your product or service and would be able to pay for it;
  • Discovering the prospect’s pain points, what’s important to them;
  • Identifying the decision-making criteria and who the decision makers are;
  • Determining the priority for the prospect;
  • Developing a presentation, proposing solutions that will help the prospect overcome its challenges and knowing how to handle objections (including hidden objections);
  • Closing the sale

In this last step, Tom emphasized that in most cases, the prospect is buying based on the credibility of the sales person. To be viewed as credible, the sales person needs to be authentic, persistent, polite and professional. If your process demonstrates that it solves the prospect’s problem and the sales person is viewed as credible, then you’ll get the sale.

Tom directed people to the Business Development University website, BusinessDevelopmentUniversity.com, which has a number of resources and tools, and a helpful newsletter. BDU also offers one day and two day training sessions, and Tom offered members of the SkillBites community a discount of 25% off of the upcoming trainings. On December 7, BDU will be providing a one day Sales Management course entitled “Managing and Leading Successful Sales People” in Plymouth Meeting, PA, and on December 14-15, BDU will be offering a two-day Sales course entitled “Prospect to Close … and Everything Else In Between” in Marlton, NJ. Just use the coupon code BDU25 at checkout for the discount. Tom also offered a complimentary 30 minute consultation to anyone who wants.