Last week we published some tips to help sales reps stop being “the bad guys” in the eyes of business owners. This week we’re offering a few more – as an organization that employs quite a few outside sales representatives, we’ve thought long and hard about how we can help business owners without wasting their time or playing into stereotypes. Here’s what we’ve learned.



Don’t Just Wander in Off the Street



How many times have you heard a sales rep say, “I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop in?” If that’s actually true, you can’t blame the business owner for telling that rep to take a hike. Do some research before you ever set foot in the door. Don’t just ask for the owner, know who that is. Rather than having your first question be about what the business does, take the time to review their websites and social media platforms before you walk in. Your credibility will increase tenfold when the owner realizes you’ve done your homework.



Get to Know Your Customer



Aside from the general research we mentioned above, those first few minutes in the waiting room or lobby area can be an invaluable source of information. Take a look at what’s on the walls, listen to the conversations the receptionist has with other visitors, and try to get a sense of the culture. When the decision maker is finally available to speak with you, you can blow them away with your knowledge of their business. Your fact-finding mission doesn’t stop there, however. Listen carefully to what the decision maker reveals as you talk. If he mentions that baseball season is starting up soon and his kids are thrilled about their teams, make a note to ask about them next time. If you see photos on her desk of her dogs, ask after them on subsequent visits. Prove that you’re a real person who is interested in more than just a quick sale.



Show That You Know Your Stuff



You know you’re an industry expert – you’ve studied the competition, compared data sets, and worked hard to be the best source of knowledge you can be for your customers. The problem is that they don’t know that – not until you show them. Don’t brag or drown them in data, but choose relevant, thoughtful insights to share that highlight your grasp of the problems they’re facing and ways you’ve solved them in the past. Remember that this first conversation is like a job interview, but one in which they’ve never even seen your resume. Sell yourself as you sell your product. They’re really buying the relationship with you.



Don’t Just Rattle Off a List of Features



We get it, your product does lots of cool stuff. But business owners don’t care about all the cool stuff it can do unless those features are helping them solve a problem. Focus on how what you’re selling can benefit the business owner and highlight those key points. If a business has no need for a particular feature, you can mention it in passing but don’t dwell on it. Tailor your pitch to the person who is receiving it so you can make the maximum impact.



Don’t Be Afraid to Bring It Home



How do you expect a business owner to purchase your product if you never ask for the sale? After you’ve listened, took notes, made recommendations, explained, and repeated all this as needed, you have to go for broke. It may feel strange at first, but asking the customer to sign on the dotted line can be a powerful push to get them to do just that. You’ve built up credibility and proved your value, now go for it with confidence!



ABCD – Always Be Connecting Dots



There’s an old saying in the sales world that reps should “Always Be Closing,” abbreviated to ABC. We prefer Richard Branson’s interpretation – “Always Be Connecting Dots,” or ABCD. Look for ways to connect your customers to you, to your product, and to each other. Refer your customers to each other. Solve problems they didn’t know they had. Be a true partner in the success of their business. That’s exactly what we strive to do every day at 360 Payments. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to show you why we’re a different kind of credit card processor.



PS – Here’s how to build a totally kickass partnership program.



PPS – Don’t get sucked into the fake news machine. Here’s how to stay above the fray.