The Green Sheet Online Edition
November 12, 2012 • Issue 12:11:01
The smart way to sell POS systems - Part 2
In the first article of this two-part series, "The smart way to sell POS systems - Part 1," The Green Sheet, Sept. 10, 2012, issue 12:09:01, I discussed effective ways to prospect for potential customers and get your foot in the door.
In this article, I detail how to make the most of a sales meeting now that you have the merchant's attention. It covers what to do before, during and after the meeting and includes advice on how to manage expectations, conduct a survey, tailor your demonstration to the survey results, sell the value of your team and become a connector.
Manage expectations, set the agenda
By setting an agenda and managing expectations, you will convey that you are the consummate professional, you are organized, you are a clear communicator, you value the merchant's time, and you deserve mutual respect in the handling of your appointment.
Many of my former associates lamented over their frustrations with appointment stand-ups, last minute changes and overall lack of their prospects' attention. Ever since I put this process into effect, I significantly reduced the occurrence of stand-ups and attention issues.
Prior to the meeting, discuss the three items below; your prospective customer will know you are an organized professional who respects the prospect's time and will utilize it efficiently. Also, email a copy of your agenda, and ask if the prospect would like to add anything.
- Describe your process: "Here is what you can expect ..."
- Explain your objective: "In our meeting, we will accomplish the following ..."
- List your deliverables: "By the end of our meeting, you will have ..."
Conduct an on-point survey
I have created a customer profile survey that provides positioning phrases (probes) enabling me to gather each customer's commitment points (hot buttons). You earn credibility without uttering any sales statements through active listening and astute observation.
Matching needs is one of the most critical steps within the sales process, and the customer survey will assist you in gathering the necessary information to move the sales process forward.
This tool allows you to obtain relevant information to better understand your prospect. This is done through insightful questions and open-ended statements, and it provides you with all the information you need to deliver a very powerful on-point demo.
There are a host of scenarios and a multitude of ways to demonstrate knowledge while eliciting new insights. Pose a question or state a fact that positions you as an expert or builds trust with the business owner. For example:
- For a retail merchant, you can ask, "Do you work with National Retail Federation codes" or "Do you track your inventory with an industry matrix?"
- For a casual dining restaurant, identify a key piece of equipment such as an espresso machine, and ask the business owner why he or she chose that particular brand or model.
You will gain much insight from this exchange, such as the amount of pride the owner places in the establishment's equipment, how he or she perceives value, how important certain features are, how much the owner researched the product before making the purchase, how important specifications are, etc.
This information will guide the way you convey your value propositions when you deliver your proposal.
- For a fine dining establishment, compliment the extra touches the prospective customer has added such as a crest on the restaurant's plates, the threaded linen, etc. This will inform the business owner that you appreciate the characteristics that differentiate this particular restaurant.
- Every industry has unique characteristics that can be highlighted in your survey. Simply google that industry, review some articles from insiders and note the pertinent information to create talking points.
Tailor your demo to the survey
Customize your demo to hit all the hot buttons that were revealed by the customer survey. Make sure you are knowledgeable and well rehearsed on every topic you are going to cover, including the following:
- Explain the operational construct of the system (why the buttons are placed where they are) and why it was designed with the user in mind.
- Show basic functions and gradually layer in more complex transactions. Make sure you explain how each function will benefit the business.
- Discuss the reports, but try not to overwhelm the merchant. Say something like, "There are numerous POS reports at your fingertips. However, the basic reports that allow every business owner to manage peak performance and profitability are their key performance indicators, called KPI: sales, taxes, labor and product mix."
Sell the value of your team
Most POS systems require a support contract or service agreement of some sort. The team providing this support can be one of your biggest differentiators, yet most sales representatives allow their prospects to refer to this support expense with a negative connotation. The key is to properly position your support team as a unique benefit, not a line item expense.
You can even go as far as including your support model in your list of valuable features. It is important to keep in mind that statistically the most satisfied customers are those with support contracts.
The next time you conduct a sales meeting, describe your support model as passionately as you describe your product - you may be surprised by your prospect's positive reaction.
Be a connector
If, during your conversation, the merchant mentions a project he or she is involved in, a difficulty the merchant is encountering, or an issue that needs addressing and you know someone who may be able to assist, be a connector.
By actively offering referrals, you will not only make a good impression with the merchant and show that you care about the merchant's enterprise, but you will also build goodwill with the person to whom you are referring the prospect.
Hopefully, this will earn you some reciprocal referrals in the process.
Also, remember to ask for referrals from the merchant. Even if the prospect doesn't end up purchasing from you, he or she may be willing to provide the contact information for other business owners who may be interested.
While I devised these selling strategies as a primer for POS systems sales in particular, most of these successful selling strategies can apply to the ISO and merchant level salesperson community in general.
New opportunities are emerging in payments at a fast clip. It is important to educate yourself about them.
While I have endeavored to provide an overview of effective sales techniques and considerations, if you are serious about POS system sales, I strongly recommend participating in the full training programs available from many POS providers in the industry.
Joe Porco is a seasoned POS sales professional and National Sales Trainer for Harbortouch, an emerging leader in the POS industry. His strategies are tried and true representations of daily sales activities that led him to turn around territories plagued with issues, as well as earn him sales leadership recognition. Joe regularly shares his strategies as part of Harbortouch's free POS training program. If you would like to know more about this innovative program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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