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Preparation key in sales

Jason Cannon March 5, 2013

One of the oldest adages in business is “people do business with people they like.”

You’ve heard that before, probably more than once.

That’s called Relationship Selling.

The ability to get close personally to customers is a critical sales skill.
However, that will only carry you so far.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you know your customer’s daughter plays shortstop on her high school softball team, or if the customer’s mother recently fought the flu.

What matters most is whether or not the customer has confidence in your product knowledge and trusts you as an authority.

Every business owner wants to brag on their business just as much as their children. Do you know your customer’s industry as well as their family tree?

What industry challenges keep Truck Buyer John awake at night?

Maybe John is having a great year but a key supplier just gave him some bad news that will complicate his business a few weeks down the road.

In an NTEA Work Truck session held Tuesday, Bob Aquaro, Vice President, TARA Commercial Vehicle Consulting Services, said you should know as much as possible about your customer and their industry before the first sales meeting.

The first sales meeting will validate that information and you’ll learn new information that will later affect the negotiation process.

On your first sales call, dress similar to your customer, and grooming is important. If you can’t find out your customer’s dress code, Aquaro says err on the side of your Sunday best.

“You can’t go wrong in a suit and tie, for both men and women,” he says. “You can go wrong in jeans and a t-shirt.”

He says salespeople are the most important part of the deal. They establish customer confidence and trust.

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Jason Cannon is Online Managing Editor for Truck Parts & Service.

You can follow me on twitter at @By_Jason_Cannon

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