The sales guys

Winning in sales is a two-way street. The salesperson only wins if the customer does.

So how do you create a win-win situation? It comes down to two things — preparation and practice.

We have all heard the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When it comes to winning in sales, it is, “Do unto each customer the way they want to be done.”

But that is sometimes easier said than done. So what do you need to do to accomplish it?

There is still a lot of telling and selling going on, which means you tell your customer what to buy, then talk him into buying it without identifying his needs.

You may make sales that way, but you won’t win. An dissatisfied customer is rarely a repeat customer. Instead, do a thorough assessment that identifies your customer’s needs. Then present your product or service in a way that satisfies him or her. When you truly satisfy the needs of your customers, they will thank you, come back and refer you to others.

Think, “What do I need to know about this customer, his or her company, products and services before I start making recommendations?”

Consider yourself a troubleshooter, thoroughly evaluating the entire situation without making assumptions. You also need to be organized and prepared. Here is what you need to create a win-win situation.

* Product and company knowledge

* Rapport

* Needs assessment

* Features and benefits of products and company

* Overcoming customer objections

* Closing

* Reaffirming the sale

* Turning over

* Handling difficult customers

It all comes down to practice. But don’t practice on your customer. COSE is the sponsor of “The Sales Guys” on WERE 1300 Thursdays at 8 a.m. and Mondays at 6 p.m. Catch The Sales Guys live at COSE’s “Sales Aid” event Oct. 28 at the LaCentre Conference and Banquet Center in Westlake. Visit www.cose.org or call (216) 592-2222.

COSE calendar

Blackout 2003: Reaction and prevention

Oct. 7, 7:30 to 11 a.m.

Blackout 2003 will identify the experiences resulting from the most significant blackout in our nation’s history as well as inform the public of possible solutions and the importance of emergency plans should there be a similar event in the future. Speakers include representatives from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cuyahoga Community College, Lubrizol Corp. and The Plain Dealer.

Easy project management

Oct. 22, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In Easy Project Management, you’ll learn the success secrets borrowed from career project managers, then crafted into an easy-to-follow, step-by-step winning recipe. Project management is a proven process that helps break down complex projects into simple work elements and efficiently manage time, money and resources.

You’ll learn how to:

* Quarterback projects without being sacked

* Finish on time and on budget

* Get it done right first and save time

* Confidently estimate costs and schedules

* Calculate risks and avoid problems

* Accurately track and prioritize project components

* Motivate various departments to achieve project goals

Resourceful solutions

Oct. 27, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Individuals at all levels of the organization are responsible for making decisions and solving problems. Learn this critical skill and ensure your own success along with that of your organization.

You’ll learn how to identify not only problems, but causes; determine multiple solutions to problems; and use a variety of statistical tools and graphing techniques to promote creative and effective problem solving.

For more information about these and other COSE events, call the communications department at (216) 361-3100, or visit www.cose.org and click on events.

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