Awards & Engraving

November '19

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A&E NOVEMBER 2019 • 15 be certain you don't forget anything. Plan to ask more open probes — ques- tions that uncover new information — than closed probes (questions that should only be asked to confirm info you already know). 4. Call during off-peak hours, especially early mornings, late afternoons, and on Fridays. One good thing about those times is you won't run into any of your competitors and you may just catch the decision-maker when he or she is most agreeable. 5. Vary your call times by day and time of day. Don't try to make contact with a key prospect every Monday at 10 a.m. There's a good chance she's leading her weekly staff meeting at that time or has some other regular time commitment. 6. Develop, refine, practice, and role-play your response to, "We buy our awards from ABC Custom Gifts, one of your competitors. How is your company different?" Until you can respond to this question in a smooth, confident, and meaningful way — one that com- municates added value to the prospect — you will be shot down each time you make a call at the top. 7. Plan to choose from more than just one closing strategy. Perhaps you've only mastered the assumptive close. Don't expect it to work with everyone. Learn new ones, perhaps from other accomplished sales professionals or others on your team. 8. Expect the worst and hope for the best. Anticipate customer concerns, objec- tions, or surprises, and have a strategy for handling each. 9. At the end of every sales interaction, determine or validate what is the stron- gest, unmet professional and personal need of the person with whom you met. The three professional needs — image, performance, and finance — often are a reflection of the person's title. For example, purchasing agents usu- ally have a strong need for financial things (prices, terms, discounts, etc.), while CEO/presidents/owners tend to favor a need for image enhancers. You should determine the strongest personal need from the six common ones — accomplishment, recognition, authority, affiliation, safety/security, and order — based on the questions the prospect asks and the things they keep referring to. 10. Don't give up. Persistence is often rec- ognized and rewarded by accomplished executives. If you turn tail at the first sign of adversity, what are you going to do if you land the account and then encounter problems?

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