Your hands are shaking. Your pulse is pounding. Your palms are two pools of sweat. You are ready to commit. It is a big step in only a short period of time – only a few phones calls and a couple of emails have been exchanged. You have bought flowers and scoped out the competition ensuring availability.
“I am done dating,” you declare to yourself. “We have danced enough, I want to marry you!”
You dial the number, make the final sales-pitch, and cross your fingers that they will exuberantly say, “Yes!”“I don’t dance,” said ARPCO’s president, Albert Puig, in an sales meeting with ARPCO’s account managers. “I want to marry the perspective customer as soon as possible.”
“You have to know exactly what you are after before you make the sales call,” Albert expounded. Before you can reach out to a potential customer, you must know what you hope to gain from the call. Is it broadening an account base and generating new leads, cold-selling your services, or both? You have to clearly know what you have to offer to your potential customer, or date. Ask yourself “Why date me?” and “What makes me attractive?” then answer those questions accordingly before you make the call.
Secondly, know what information you will need to obtain from your potential customer to make it an effective call. If you don’t know what to ask, then you cannot sell. For a logistics brokerage, questions like “What lanes do you run?”; “What kinds of trucks do you use?”; “How do you ship your freight- LTL, Truckload, Intermodal, etc.?”; and “What is the rate range you like to stay in for your freight cost?” are imperative for discerning your potential customers needs. Remember to be friendly, sincere, and upfront. No one appreciates a pushy, rude, or nervous date.
“I don’t dance,” Albert repeated. “Either make the pitch or don’t, but do not waste your potential customers time, or yours for that matter, by dancing around the inevitable question: ‘Will you do business with me?”‘
Your potential customer knows why you are calling and either they are interested in your offer or they are not.
Albert noted that a key opening phrase is, “I have capacity…” This let’s your potential customer know that you are available and willing to commit to them. You are not just dating around.
Talk about your future together. Offer solid quotes and rates for your soon-to-be-customer to examine. Insure that these numbers are realistic and reliable. Do not offer pipe-dreams that will only lead to disappointment and divorce. It is imperative to begin your relationship on solid footing with realistic expectations. As we read in the previous blog, The Partnership Selling Challenge: ARPCO Edition – Part 1, it is just as important not to oversell your product/service as it is not to undersell your product/service.
Happily Ever After
Lastly, act quickly! No bride likes to be waiting at the alter! Follow through immediately and stay in communication with your customer. Sure, mistakes will be made and tough times will arise, but with communication and commitment any situation can be overcome and stronger bonds will be forged from it.The key is NEVER stop providing them with the identical quality of service you provided from that first sales call.