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Give your sales prospect an assignment

The fastest way for an instructor to discover whether a student is really interested in a class is to see if the student does his or hers homework.

How does this relate to increasing sales?

It has to do with keeping the prospect engaged during your process. The fastest way to qualify or “upsell” your prospect is to give them an assignment. If you don’t engage them, their thoughts tend to wander with things like, “Can I get this cheaper somewhere else?” or “Maybe I don’t really need this.”

Giving your customer something to do moves the sale forward. If they are not really interested, the prospect will not do the homework and thus you should move on.

Now as for the homework. … Here are some simple suggestions or ideas. If you are in the car sales business, it would go something like this: “Ms. Prospect, would you mind getting the vehicle identification number from your car while I go get the dealer plates?”

If you have worked with me in the marketing and sales business before, I ask you to work on this question for sales before we meet: “If I were to recommend you to someone, what would I tell them about your business?” I always want this answer prepared before we meet. In creating marketing plans, I ask clients to fill out a “Why Advertise?” checklist and e-mail it back to me.

If prospects are not willing to invest the time with very simple tasks, they certainly are not ready to get down to the hard work after the sale is made.

If you are in the service industry, give the customer a catalog to view while you are making repairs. Also give them a paper and pen and ask them to list the top five “dream items” they would like to have for their home out of the catalog. You’ll get to know them and their goals better and set the scene for a future sale.

Assigning homework to your prospects will help your sales effort in several ways:

A) Save time for your sales team. The average time spent selling in a day is 58 minutes. Most of the time waste comes from “getting ready to sell” or prospecting people who are not qualified. If the prospect won’t take time to do the homework, move on.

B) This is a great opportunity to “upsell.” While you’re with the customer and they are buying, it gives you a chance to mention, “By the way since we are already here and you have discovered what you want, let’s do it now and save the cost on a return visit.”

C) It gives your prospect the feeling that you are prepared and professional. One out of 23 of us have a job in selling, but only 3 percent are sales professionals. Sales professionals give their customers assignments to engage in the process. Remember, before you see a physician for the first time, you complete a form listing your aches, pains, medications and allergies. Only then can you see the professional.

A good student always does their homework. A good prospect does, too.

For more information, contact Dave Tester at www.askdavetester.com.

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