Slick is a seasoned account executive who has been selling printing for over 4 years,
but like many of us he continues to make costly prospecting mistakes. Follow Slick's telephone presentation and see if you can identify at
least 12 prospecting mistakes, then try to answer the 10 skill testing prospecting questions.
Can you find the 12 prospecting mistakes?
Slick: (To receptionist.) Good morning, I'm calling from
Best Litho. Can you please tell me who handles the printing for your company?
Receptionist: May I ask what this is about?
Slick: I just want to quickly introduce myself to your print buyer and tell him about our printing and mailing services.
Receptionist: Thanks for calling but we've been dealing with the same printer for the past 5 years, so we're not interested.
Slick: Could I just get the name of the person that handles your printing so that I can send a company brochure?
Receptionist: You can mail it to Bob Baxter.
Slick mails the brochure and follows up a week later.
Slick: Good morning, it's Slick from Best Litho, is Bob Baxter in?
Receptionist: One moment please.
Bob: Hello, Bob Baxter speaking.
Slick: Bob, my name is Slick and I'm calling from Best Litho. How are you today?
Bob: I'm fine. How can I help you?
Slick: Bob, at Best Litho we offer quality offset and digital printing, outstanding service and very competitive prices. We also offer complete mailing services. The reason I'm calling is I was hoping to get a few minutes of your time to tell you about our services and possibly quote on one of your upcoming jobs.
Bob: Thanks for calling, but I'm not interested right now.
Skill testing prospecting questions.
1. What response will land the appointment when the prospect says?
I'm not interested, I'm happy with our printer.
Not now; call me in 6 months.
I have a friend in the business.
Send me some literature first.
2. Most prospects decide within the first 6 seconds, whether or not to
meet with you. What must you say to instantly pique their interest? (Clue, it's not telling them about your printing services.)
3. To be successful in print sales you must contact a decision maker.
What single criteria makes someone a decision maker? (Clue, it's not the person that can give you the order.)
4. Give 3 examples of how to get past a receptionist that is screening calls.
5. What easy-to-use technique will circumvent voice mail?
(Clue, it's not leaving a message.)
6. Why must you never call on the purchasing agent or print buyer?
7. Offering a Universal Benefit is the key to prospecting success. What is
the president or owner's Universal Benefit?
8. Prospects don't want to deal with a print salesperson; they want to work with
someone that understands their industry. What must you do to position yourself as an industry expert?
9. Marketing managers are one of your best prospects. What should you offer a
marketing manager that is happy with his present supplier? (Clue, it's not lower prices.)
10. "Bob, I can be at your office tomorrow at 9 am. Is that time convenient
for you?" Why should you never ask this closing question?
Selling the prospect that is happy with his printer
The old way of selling printing, where you tell the prospect about your great quality, outstanding service, fast delivery and low prices, no longer works. Landing a new account in today's competitive marketplace, where everyone you call on claims to be happy with their printer, requires a specific skill set.
(Return to the Top)
Quoting a job is like playing a game of chess. It is played by a
highly defined set of rules and although anyone can play, the salesperson that knows the rules will usually win. So read the following short scenario
and see if you can identify at least 7 common quoting mistakes. Next try to answer the 10 skill testing questions.
You're meeting with Jack, the purchasing agent at a new account.
After giving him your company brochure and telling him about your capabilities, Jack reaches into his desk and hands you a sample and spec sheet.
Jack: We're attending a trade show in July, so how soon can you get me a quote for 15M of these brochures?
Salesperson: Jack, as I mentioned we pride ourselves in offering our customers excellent quality and fast service so I'll make sure that you have the quote first thing tomorrow morning.
Jack: That's great. Thanks for dropping by and I look forward to seeing your quote.
As promised early the next morning you email Jack a cover letter to thank him for the opportunity and attach a very competitively priced quote. A week later you follow up and Jack says "Thanks for your quote but you were $300 too high so we gave the job to someone else."
Skill testing questions(Return to the Top)
1. Prospects are always raising price objections so how would you close the sale, without giving a discount, when your prospect says:
"I can get the same job elsewhere for less"
"This job costs more than I thought"
"This is $800 too expensive" or
"We don't have the budget"
2. When dealing with a price shopper you should not submit a quote because he'll shop it around until he finds an even lower price. How can you close the price shopper without submitting a quote?
3. Submitting a quote at the wrong time can be a fatal mistake. Should you be the first or last to present a quote?
4. About 7% of decision makers are looking for the lowest quote. What are the other 93% looking for? (Hint, it's not fast delivery or better quality.)
5. What are purchasing agents and print buyers looking for in a quote? (Hint, it's not low price)
6. Showing the prospect how to improve the job is a great way to gain a competitive edge. How can you prevent the prospect from stealing your new ideas?
7. An effective way to impress the prospect is to quote the job 2 different ways where column "A" shows the prospect's exact spec's and column "B" shows ways to improve the job or save money. Why is quoting the job two ways a costly mistake?
8. At the end of a strong presentation you say "Mr. Prospect, the price for these brochures is only $1,200." What 3 quoting mistakes did you just make when you gave the price?
9. How can you make any job seem inexpensive and easy to afford?
10. If you try to win the account by submitting the lowest price you will lose more often than win. What easy to implement quoting technique will eliminate price competition?
Winning a job has nothing to do with price
Winning at the quoting game has nothing to do with price and everything to do with skill. In other words, if you're losing jobs to lower quotes or finding it difficult to compete against printers that are heavily discounting, it's not because your prices are too high but rather because you're making some costly quoting mistakes.
Objection Handling Skills
From first contact to closing, objections are part of the selling process.
- Call on a new account and you'll hear "We're not interested, we're happy with our printer".
- Ask for an appointment and the response is likely to be "I'm too busy so call me in 6 months" or "Send me some literature first".
- Submit a quote and you'll hear "I can get the same job elsewhere for less".
- And ask a closing question and the answer is usually "Let me think it over and I'll get back to you".
Here's your chance to measure your ability at this all important selling skill. See if you can answer the following 10 skill testing questions.
1. The most effective way to handle an objection is to prevent it from occurring. What simple technique will permanently prevent your prospects from saying;
"I'm not interested, I'm happy with my printer"
"I can get the same job elsewhere for less"
"I want to look at a few more quotes before I decide"?
2. How can you close the prospect that wants to talk to his partner first?
3. What simple test will instantly tell you if an objection is true or false?
4. How can you land the job when your prospect says "I wants to think it over"?
5. How can you close the sale without answering your prospect's objection?
6. What simple statement will force your prospects to answer their own objections?
7. What is the first thing you must do when your prospect objections?
8. When you're stumped by your prospect's objection, what response will buy you time to think?
9. What 3 techniques will allow you to close the prospect that says "We don't have the budget"?
10. How can you save the sale when the prospect says "We've decided to order from someone else"?
Your success in print sales is directly proportional to your ability to overcome objections
Sooner or later every sales presentation reaches a pivotal point, where the job teeters upon your ability to overcome the prospect's resistance. In other words, your success is directly proportional to your ability to overcome objections, so don't leave this skill to chance.
(Return to the Top)
Making a strong presentation that justifies your price and shows the prospect the benefits of ordering from you is a complete waste of time unless you follow through with the final, all important step and close the sales, because prospects don't order from the salesperson that sold them - they order from the person the closes them.
Read the following scenario and see if you can identify at least 5 costly closing mistakes. Then try to answer the following 10 skill testing questions.
Closing scenario. Can you identify the 5 costly mistakes?
This is Tom's second meeting with Pat, the purchasing agent. Tom has just made a powerful presentation that justified his price and showed Pat the benefits of ordering from him so Tom is ready to ask for the order.
Tom: Pat our equipment is perfectly suited to print your brochures so can I go-ahead with this job? And as I've mentioned we have over 30 years of printing experience so you'll be very satisfied with our work.
Pat: I like what you've shown me but I still have a few more quotes to look at, so why don't you call me next week and I'll give you an answer.
Tom: Thanks for the opportunity and I look forward to talking to you next week.
Skill testing questions
1. Most prospects will try to delay making a buying decision. What technique will allow you to overcome procrastination?
2. What response would turn these common objections into sales?
Let me think it over and I`ll get back to you.
I need to talk to my partner first.
I'd like to look at a few more quotes before I decide.
3. What must you never do after asking a closing question? (This common mistake is costing you sales.)
4. Most salespeople know one closing technique but most sales do not occur until the ______ closing attempt.
5. Closing at the wrong time can be a costly mistake. When is the only time to close? (Hint. It's not at the end of the presentation.)
6. Why should you never ask for the order?
7. How can you test the water to see if your prospect is ready to be closed?
8. Instead of placing the order the prospect says I'm still not sure about the stock, so why don't you get back to me next week. How would you close the sale now?
9. Give 5 examples of how to land the job without asking the prospect to buy.
10. Prospect: If I gave you an order, could I get these brochures within 2 weeks? Salesperson: Absolutely, in fact our new press can turn this job around in about 2 days. What closing mistake did this salesperson just make?
Nothing will have a great impact on your sales then developing your closing skills
Not to minimize the importance of making a powerful presentation, but if you haven't mastered your closing skills you are losing sales because prospects don't order from the salesperons that sold them, they order from the account executive that closed them.
(Return to the Top)