As a startup cofounder, I am constantly traveling around the country to meet with Universities and bring Alumnify to their institutions. Like any salesman, I’ve heard more “no” more times than “yes”. However, I pay very close attention to exactly what I've done to get that “yes”. Here are a few tips that have helped me get to the closing in those meetings:
1. Get your customer to like you!
I can’t stress this enough. People buy from people they like, period. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. Have you ever bought anything from someone who made you uncomfortable or you couldn’t relate to? Most people would answer no. LinkedIn is a great way to look up your potential customer and find out what you have in common. It may be where they went to school, where they previously worked, or what organizations they took part in. Being able to create that rapport now changes you from someone trying to sell something to someone they share common interests with.
2. Listen to their problems first.
Many sales people make the mistake of bragging about how amazing their product is from the start. That instantly comes off as a corny sales pitch. Every salesman has a hundred reasons why you should buy their product. But remember we are selling to people, and people have feelings. Take the time to ask them questions such as: What are the current problems you are facing? What are your current solutions? What would you like to see improve? After you listen, then pitch your product based on their pains and needs. Not only do you become someone they share a common interest with but someone who sincerely cares about the problems they are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. This will allow you to align your sales pitch with your potential client’s personal problems, making the conversation more effective.
3. Politely show a sense of Urgency.
Urgency can be used as the icing on the cake. There needs to be a sense of urgency for the customer to buy the product. Without a sense of urgency, they will likely tell you something along the lines of “we’ll think about it and get back to you”. I heard that exact phrase, ten times back in May, and haven’t heard back from them since. Additionally, people love to get discounts. Offer one if you can! I always stress that we have a discounted price for up to “X” amount of Universities. Before we increase our prices, potential customers have to reconsider missing out on not only a great product, but at a discounted price.