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Jamie was listening patiently to his potential customer. George had said what he was looking for, why he wanted it and what would happen if he didn’t solve the problem soon. Jamie was eager to close the deal but couldn’t tell if now was the time to ask for the sale.

Like Jamie, many salespeople know there is a moment when people are ready to buy. They just don’t quite know how to identify it. Often it is because they’re listening for the clue, not watching for it. The tip off is more frequently in the client’s body language than in what he or she is saying.

Sales people often miss the tell-tale signs because they haven’t set up the situation correctly at the beginning of the interview.

Sales is the art of helping people make a purchase, rather than selling something. If salespeople operate from this principle, they adapt their communication style to that of their prospective client and gather crucial information along the way.

When a client is being visited for the first time, they should be asked about the last time they made a similar purchase. Listen to the answer and pay attention to their body language – facial expressions, gestures, posture and voice tone.

The next question is key: "When you decided to buy that time, (pause) what made you buy that one?"

Notice the changes in the non-verbal behaviour as they answer because the second question takes the client back to the previous moment of decision. Does the customer smile, turn a little red, make bigger gestures? These are the signs that indicate the client is ready to buy.

After verifying what the client wants and why, he or she can be presented with an appropriate solution. But when is the right moment to ask for the sale? Summarize the benefits of the proposition, demonstrating how it can meet the client’s criteria. Look at them carefully while talking. If the non verbals are the same as when they answered the second question above, they are ready to purchase.

Don’t see the signs? Don’t panic, it simply means they are not ready yet. Ask the client what else she needs to make a decision. That’s the way to determine the missing pieces and improve the proposal on the spot. Again, summarize the benefits of the offering and check the body language. If the right signs are there, go ahead and ask for the decision.

The fact that the client was not pressured to buy when they weren’t ready is a sign of attentiveness to his or her needs. Most people appreciate the consideration.

Marketing Tips to Ponder on Route to the Next Sale:

* Preparation pays

* Remember to ask yourself: "What’s in it for them?"

* Have clear objectives

* Have pricing strategy

* Brief team before a presentation; include a message on manners

* Select appropriate clothing colours; red is aggressive, blue is dominant

* Assess whether the other person is sociable or factual. Present accordingly

* Be personable

* Make your advantages easy to understand

* Don’t be everything to everyone

* Don’t sell; help people buy

* Shift the risk to yourself and you will profit

* To be heard, lower your voice

* After a contract is signed, give the pen to the buyer

* Email "Thank you."

* Always leave with a plan of action, even if it is, "I will call in six months."

* Reward your lead generators

* Work for referrals

* Partner with other companies reaching your market



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