December '20

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time and have good relations with these folks, they will often help you on extended terms, which can be a great deal of help to you. Relationships are important with both clients and suppliers. What questions should you ask of the prospect? Here are a few of the questions I have directed to the prospect. Now keep in mind you normally wouldn't ask the ques- tions one after the other but slip them into the conversation. However, if it is a bid situ- ation and you are working with a third par- ty, like a secretary, then it sometimes is best to ask the questions quickly and directly. • Who has been the supplier up to this time? If you have done your home- work, you will understand what you're up against: Does this competition have a reputation for on-time delivery? Are they creative? Do they manufacture or are they buying and selling the product that others make? • Ask the prospect why they are looking for other vendors (this is good particu- larly if you are talking with the third party). On several occasions, the third party has told me what the exact prob- lem has been—delivery, quality, price, or the attitude of the salesperson who doesn't take care of the order after they receive it. The buyer can have many concerns, and we must always pay at- tention to the buyer. They may not directly tell you the problem, so get to know the buyer to understand when they are satisfied and when they are not. It is not always a direct statement of dis- satisfaction. • Start to work on designs and presenta- tion immediately. Show up prepared, organized, and professional. On bid- ding, I have seen the entire gamut of presentations. Competitors have shown up dressed in shorts or have carried their samples wrapped in newspaper, or even brought the samples in boxes with their supplier's name and phone num- ber on the box. • Put forth a notable presentation that tells the prospect you are sincere, pre- pared, professional, and able to do the order. Many orders take a great deal of capital, so let the prospect know you have the capacity to do the order. • You have to be convinced in order to be convincing to the prospect. Let your face show you are excited about your company and its offerings. The pros- pect will pay attention to you and what you say, especially how you say it. • Talk enthusiastic but calm, determined, and confident. This is different than selling in your showroom. First, you will be on the buyer's turf and you won't be in control, so prepare to react at a moment's notice with the right answer. There are many ways to take your business to the next level and some of you will seek other means, but presentation sell- ing has always been one of my favorites be- cause the rewards can be unbelievable. I have seen many succeed that couldn't necessarily sell, but they had so many other talents. One of those talents was realizing they couldn't sell and hiring someone who could. Think of your business as a game and the profit and loss as the way you keep score. GP STEPHEN CAPPER, along with his wife, Nora, and their daughters, Jami and Toni, owns and operates A-1 Awards Inc. in Indianapolis. He has been associated with the awards and recognition industry since 1958, and has given numerous seminars since 1979. You can contact Steve at 317-546-9000 or via email at 1 4 G R A P H I C S P R O D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M

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