Brant Butler
Supervisor of ITNHGE (Institute Technological National Hydrocarbons Guinea Equatorial) and NCAT (Nationalization, Competency, Assurance and Training) at Wood Group Equatorial Guinea, Africa
OHST (Occupational Health & Safety Technologist)
CES (Certified Environmental Specialist)
Member of The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP)
SEMS Auditor (Lead Auditor trained by accredited COS approved trainer)

Sales Tips

Below are just a few of my thoughts on sales.  I'll update more over time.  If you have any tips you would like to add email me at:

If you win the business on price alone, you'll loose the business on price alone.  There is no loyality and service hardly matters.  You can't be a successful salesperson with these customers.  These customers usually bring low margins, low commissions but HIGH head aches. **

Since I originally posted the above comment, I have had people tell me that in today's economy price alone is all that matters, let me answer them.  In the beginning, price alone can get you a meeting with the decision maker or even get you the business.  Once you are in there, YOU have to deliver more than the next guy.  I've landed several customers on price alone, but then provided them with consulting at no extra charge.  I was able to save them money in more than just one area.  I also try to answer the phone EVERY TIME they call.  Now, when the competition comes in, and they have, do you know what my customer said, "leave your info and I'll look at it when I have time", he then fowarded the info on to me.  Now I may have gotten in the door on price alone, but I delivered much more, and now price alone is on the back burner.
LISTEN to your customer!  This could be the single biggest complaint most customers and people have of thier saleperson.  How many times have you gone into a store, knowing what you want, then a salesman gets involved and you end up with something else?  Then when you get home and try this "better" product out, it SUCKS!  I could devote several chapters to this, but won't right now.  Listen to what your customer says, you can find out plenty.  You can find out what pushes thier buttons and what they place high value on.  Also listen to what they don't say.  But, for starters, listen, don't push "your" agenda.

Get in front of the decision maker!  How many times have you gone in on a cold call only to be stopped by the lovely secretary or be pushed off to some mid-level manager and you never hear back from them?  There are ways around this, it takes WORK and PRACTICE.  Let's say I'm visiting one of my customers and a block down or so is another potential customer.  First, I fish around with my customer to see if he knows what they do and who runs the place.  Then I see how well he knows them and if he knows them well, most of the time we'll call them from my customers desk and I'll get introduced that way, which is instant credibility.  If he doesn't know them at all, when I'm out in my car I'll use one of the most powerful tools to a salesman - GOOGLE.  With today's smart phones you can find out just about everything there is to know about a customer while sitting in thier parking lot.  Once I learn what I can, I then sit and figure out what I can offer them that will get me past the secretary or gatekeeper.  Sometimes, if there isn't much help from GOOGLE, I'll ask to speak with a salesperson and turn my cold call into a "recon" mission trying to gather all the info I can.  A salesperson is TONS of help.  You can find out exactly what they do, where they sell it, who thier target is, who runs the place, who runs the sales, how the company is doing financially and so on.  Then, with that info, I now know who I need to talk to, who thier competition is, and who some of thier customers are.
Be known as someone who gets things done.  

Eliminate your potential customers RISKS!  The reason people don't buy is they percieve the risks outweigh the reward.  During your presentation or sales call, address the risks and how you can either eliminate them or drastically lower them BEFORE the customer expresses his concerns.  If they are able to sit back and realize that you have allready thought about how you can help lower thier risk, you are becoming something more than a saleman to them, you're becomming a partner.

Don't be a salesman, become a friend.  Build a relationship with your customer that will withstand the competition.  This is another topic that deserves a chapter or two.
ASK QUESTIONS!!!  Actually, ask THE RIGHT questions.  If you ask stupid questions, you'll be just another salesman.  If you ask the right questions, you can learn everything you need to make both your life and your customers life better.  Some industries and people are more forthcoming than others, but you can still get the same information just by asking different questions.  For instance, DO NOT say "who are you using now", instead say "how has your expierence been when using..."  At this point your customer doesn't feel he's been asked just another question, he's now been asked for his wise counsel.  Ask questions that MAKE your customer think.  I have a list of questions that I carry around and look at before a sales call, sometimes I'll write them down on my notepad so I won't forget.

Don't you hate it when salesmen come in and they're fumbling through thier notes, don't make eye contact, or worse, don't even know what you do?

Myth: "There's enough business for everyone".  If I encounter any salesperson with that attitude, I've allready beaten them.  How many salesmen are saying that in today's economy?

Recently, I've had some sales people ask me about thier competition bad-mouthing them.  I feel thier is no place for that.  If your competition is bad mouthing you, chances are they are bad mouthing others as well and chances are very strong that they are intimidated by you and feel thier only leg up is using this tactic.  Eventually, the customer will see them for how they are.  It may take some time, but when the customer comes back it is a sweet feeling and you didn't have to stoop to your competitions level to get it.

As of late, I've had several new sales people ask me what books are the best for them to read.  The guy that I like the best is Jeffrey Gittomer.  He is right on with just about everyting that I've read, and I've read most of his stuff.  Zig Ziglar is also good, but Gittomer's books are MUCH easier to read and is laid out better for a sales person on the go.  I recommend picking up his "Sales Bible" and "Little Red Book of Selling".  Once you read those, you'll probably grab the rest.  I had the oppurtunity to meet him once at a conferance he was giving in Frisco Texas a few years back.  I know he won't remember me, but I'll remember him for a long time to come. 
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