Last year I was in the process of selling my House and had invited a number of Estate Agents around to show me why they should be get my business.

The process was an eye opener and one that left me totally unimpressed with some of the Agents I met. They were there to sell me on the benefits of why I should place my house on the market with them yet they could not even sell themselves. One Agent even delighted in telling me:

"Oh no, I'm not a salesman. I try to show them the house and stay out of the way" Considering he was asking for a significant chunk of my money to sell my house, this was not what I wanted to hear.

One Agent did a reasonable job of asking me some good sales questions as she walked around my house. She was at the top of the list of my choices even after she had told me her fee was 1.5%. The cheapest agent was asking 0.75%.

I asked the Agent a question I usually ask anyone that I am considering doing business with and there does not appear to be a clear choice: "Why should I choose You as My Estate Agent?" I was hoping she would substantiate her high fee with something like:


We have a completely new marketing system which means that we have been proven to get 30% more viewings than other agents in the critical first 2 weeks.

* We understand choosing an Agent can be difficult and that there is a level of risk involved - usually with you. Therefore we guarantee that if we do not sell your house at the price we recommend within 60 days then we will charge no commission.
* Here is an independent report that shows the average time taken to sell a house in your area with other Agents, is 85 days and our companies average time is 42 days. The benefit to you is that we are proven to sell faster and at the full market value - guaranteed.

What happened next was the Agent taking a sharp intake of breath, pulling a few tortured facial expressions, hesitating for about a minute and then replying: "Oh, OK then. I can do it at 1%" That was not what I wanted either! I wanted her to impress me and instill confidence in me that she was the best choice available. I wasn't looking for a discount - yet!. At that point she went from the top of the list to the bottom. The whole point of that personal tale was to get you thinking. -

"How would I answer that Question?" That question is the basis of success in any business and in any sales position.

I regularly teach Sales Training Courses where the delegates would be looking for me to give them the magic words to say on their cold calls, telephone conversations and sales meetings. I'm afraid that those magic words that will guarantee you the business every time do not exist. All too often it is not the individuals fault as they have never been shown what the benefits of doing business with their company are.

Sales Success is built off the back of hard work and preparation. My top Tips for success are:

* Draw up a features and benefits list of your business and of every product and service you offer. Yes, I know this is sales 101 but do you really do it in your business? Concentrate on the benefits to your prospective customer/client. Learn to live a 'day in their shoes'. Talk about them - Not You. This is one of the single most important processes in any company because once this has been undertaken it can be used for the basis of all of your marketing materials and sales presentations.

* Use the following aids to assist you -- Link every feature with the phrase "which means that" i.e. Sales DNA offer an unconditional guarantee on our sales training (feature) which means that if at any time you do not feel you are getting a significant return on your investment then we will refund all of your investment. This means (a variation) that there is absolutely no risk to you at all.

* Get one person in your organisation to play devils advocate. It is their job to play a potential customer and ask "So What?. What does it mean to me?" to every benefit offered. The tougher they are the better the results!

* Try starting every sentence with "You benefit from..." rather than I / We.

* Document the results of this process and ensure that every new member of staff knows as well as they know your product and service details. The simple act of doing this has proven to make new starters more effective in up to half the time it has taken sales employees prior to this being introduced.

* Make sure that you make this a continuous process and that all members of your company are involved.

* Make it part of your company culture that everyone can answer "Why should I use You?". Every member of staff should be able to articulate this and should be asked regularly to make sure that everyone knows.

* Once you get so good at this that they become second nature be careful not to over do it! When you get good at this the natural human tendency is to tell every prospective client or customer every fantastic benefit you have to offer. Don't! Limit it to the main 2-4 benefits that are relevant to the person. People can't process more than this and the benefits start to lose their impact.

* If you are having trouble developing some fantastic, client focused answers then why not do something radical. Ask your existing clients why they continue to do business with you. The answers may surprise you.

Many marketing consultants and marketing text books advocate the development of a USP. That is a unique feature of your product, service or company that no one else has to offer. I think these are fantastic when done well but are hard to develop in many businesses.

In my experience with my sales consulting and sales training the very fact that you and your staff can articulate what it is you do and why they should use you is probably the best USP you can ever develop. I guarantee your competitors aren't that great at it!

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