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MKT 371

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Jonn Graff

on 22 April 2010

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Transcript of MKT 371

Interviews by:

Jonn Graff, Max Maheras, and Erica Riddle Paul Maheras
Company: J. Maheras Co.
Title: Sales Manager
Market: Produce
Location: Chelsea, MA While developing a relationship strategy, we learned to adopt a win-win philosophy, project a professional image and maintain high ethical standards. Which prescription stands out most to you and how has it affected sales in a positive way? - Well we are a family business that buys and sells from other family businesses, so maintaining high ethics helps keep our company’s good name. What features and benefits do you emphasize while selling? - There aren’t really too many features other than size and selection, so we compete with benefits like last minute orders and quality inspections What is the most important aspect of your presentation strategy? Your cousin has recently started going to restaurants to fill business from supermarkets going direct from farms. The only thing to present is benefits of having a local distributor and emphasizes our range of customers. How do you service the sale? We stand by our products by with FDA inspections on every order. If an order passes and the customer is still unsatisfied we will accept returns on any sized order within 24 hours from time of arrival. Do you agree with the statement: “People buy from people they like.” If so, has a relationship ever saved a sale? I manage this company with my broth and my cousin and several our biggest customers are from the same town and graduated from the same high school. This is a tightly knit market that relies on relationships because competition is federally regulated. In class, we learned of several prospecting techniques. What approach do you take in turning prospects into customers? Like I mentioned before, your cousin Bill is contacting several restaurants weekly. We would turn the prospects into customers by eliminating the restaurant distributors from the equation and saving them money with a fresher product. How have demonstrations add value to your product? If demonstrations are not used, please explain why. We keep several pallets of all our products out front to show buyers the quality of our constant changing growers’ produce. It is also used for small customer convenience to not have to go through the warehouse to gather their order. Has there ever been a time where you used adaptive selling in changing your approach to best match the customers communication style? This is an “old school” market that opens at three in the morning, six days a week. Most people are tired and grumpy so we painted our downstairs office to look like a Jamaican hut in the bottom corner of our warehouse. This and a cup of coffee is all it takes to attract any personality to have a cup of coffee and place an order. How were you introduced to selling and what kept you in the same field to lead you to where you are today?
OR
If you could go back to the time you started with the knowledge you have today, what would be the first thing you change in your approach to selling? Our family business is four generations in the making so I was born a seller. Your grandfather passed when I was in college and that’s when I bought my portion of the company from your grandmother and have been working full time ever since. What would be your #1 “golden rule” of selling? Invest in people. Mitch Graff Background:
Company: American Promotions, Marketplexx Inc.
Title: C.E.O.
Started: As a sales person for a marketing firm when he was 21. Left to start his own company after two years.
The company has existed for 50 years now in the marketing and distribution industries
Operates domestically and internationally:
-Canda
-China
-Israel
-India
Which prescription stands out most to you and how has it affected sales in a positive way? Definitely selling benefits to the customer. When I first started out I had no formal training so I would always just try and sell the product itself. Obviously this did not get me very far. Once I realized customers care about benefits from the products and not the products themselves so much I succeeded a lot more. Even today for the two aspects of my company, it is important to sell the benefits of our marketing services and for distributing goods it is vital to stress the benefits of our goods. What features and benefits do you emphasize while selling? Well, for marketing I sell the benefits that are associated with our services. We are an extremely successful marketing firm. So examples of a benefits that comes from using us would be higher market exposure, higher sales from better packaging, etc. For our distribution departments it depends on the product we are selling. What is the most important aspect of your presentation strategy? For me it is the first face to face meeting with a customer. I think this is where the customer makes the most amount of decisions on the product, the company, and on myself as a salesman and as a person. So it is important to make sure you make the customer feel comfortable first. I usually like this meeting to be over lunch or dinner so it is less formal. Then I will get into the business stuff. This is when I convey what our company can do, what our products can do, and what I can do for the customer and how all of these things will benefit them. How do you service the sale? Constant checking in with the customer mainly. We do a lot of repeat business so we always are checking with our customers to make sure everything is up to par with their expectations. If not, we address it immediately, and let them know how we plan on fixing whatever problem exists. Do you agree with the statement: “People buy from people they like.” If so, has a relationship ever saved a sale? To an extent I agree with this. I think personality goes a long way. But it is not everything. I have dealt with some people that I cannot stand both on the buying and selling ends. To overcome these hurdles of differing personalities it is vital to keep focus on the product or service you are either buying or selling. It is also important to note that many of the people that I did not get along with I no longer do business with, so maybe your statement is more true than I realize. What approach do you take in turning prospects into customers Its easier just to give you the process of how our selling works.
First, we have a team calling companies that might be interested in a product we are currently selling. Their goal is to find out who the buyer is for a particular department. All of this information is put into a database, so it can be accessed later by product category.
This team compiles old information from the database and new information that they just entered and gives it to the proper salespeople.
The salespeople send a "sales sheet" the buyer.
Then then do a follow up with the buyer by calling them and giving them any additional information required at the time.
Then if they are interested meetings are set up (either electronically to get more information on products or personally to close sales). How have demonstrations added value to your product? We always use demonstrations. We spend a lot of money on sending customers samples of our products so they can get a feel for them. We also are always bringing products along to meetings to showcase features and benefits from the products. Basically, they just enhance the message we try to convey when selling to the customers. Has there ever been a time where you used adaptive selling in changing your approach to best match the customers communication style? There have been too many times to count where I have had to adapt based on the customer. So a specific example would be hard to give. But as a salesperson I will say that it is imperative that you can adapt to the customer or situation on the fly. When I first started I was too rigid and didn't know this. Once I learned how to think on my feet and not just follow a "basic script", I became a lot better at what I do. How were you introduced to selling and what kept you in the same field to lead you to where you are today? I started selling because I saw an ad in the newspaper for it. I had just gotten married not long before, had a baby on the way in a couple of months, and did not have a steady job. I thought it was something I could do so I went for it. I stayed in the field because once I learned the fundamentals I realized I had a knack for it and could take it pretty far. What would be your #1 “golden rule” of selling? "Always be honest...with the customer, with yourself, and with your employees." If you are honest it makes it easier to have a solid relationship. The customer will trust you, your employees will respect you, and you will never disillusion yourself into anything. Dan Enxing 1985 - Dave Dinger Ford: Help Wanted, No Experience Necessary Ad
• Sold a Ford Ranger his first day
• Offered a Mustang GT convertible for a Demo Car

Newman Ford:
“I went to school full time, worked 40 hours/week, had a new car for a demo and made a lot of money, life was very good.”

1992: Partners in a Nissan Dealership for 5 years

1998: Opened Subaru of Nashua “I’ve owned the dealership for 12 years now and still love the car business”
How were you introduced to selling? What kept you in the same field/ lead you to where you are today? “I was introduced to selling through that first sales job at Dave Dinger Ford. Once you get over that first bit of nervousness sales becomes a lot easier. I stayed in the automobile business because when I looked at top managers and owners in the business, I noticed that most of them were not college educated and if they were it wasn’t a Harvard or Yale MBA. I figured if they could do it, then I had a very good shot at making it. It was more about street smarts and being willing to take risks.” Dave Dinger Ford

“Once you get over that first bit of nervousness sales becomes a lot easier”
• Fear of Rejection
• Lack of Self Confidence

“I stayed in the automobile business because when I looked at top managers and owners, I noticed that most of them were not college educated and if they were it wasn’t a Harvard or Yale MBA. I figured if they could do it, then I had a very good shot at making it. It was more about street smarts and being willing to take risks.”
• Fear of Taking Risks
How have you built relationships? How have they affected sales or your success as a salesperson? “My first experience with building relationships with customers was at Newman Ford. My approach to sales was not high pressure but getting to know the customer, finding out about them and not all about the car. This made the whole process of buying the car much more relaxed and easy. Once they bought the first car they would bring friends and family members back to see me. I always had appointments set up during my working hours. Even today I still get Christmas Cards from one of my original customers, Walter Norton. Referrals from present customers are essential to building a customer base. A strong customer base is essential to having a successful career in sales”. Find out about the customer:
Understanding the customer helps a salesperson better understand their needs/wants in a car.
Building relationships first made the sales process much more relaxed and easy.

“Even today, I still get Christmas Cards from one of my original customers, Walter Norton.”

Relationships led to referrals of friends and family

“Referrals from present customers are essential to building a customer base. A strong customer base is essential to having a successful career in sales”
Has a relationship you’ve had ever helped to save a sale? Some of the most fun sales are the hardest ones to put together. In the process of buying a car some customers will push and push trying to get the “best deal”. Sometimes they want to push further than we can go. At that point a manager or the owner of the dealership will come over to speak with them, trying to come to a mutual agreement. Most times I will begin by asking them how they wound up at my dealership. 9 times out of 10 one of my current customers has sent them. I will talk about that mutual customer. I will spend 5 or 10 minutes talking about everything other than the car or pricing. Once I feel that we have built some mutual trust and that they like me I will circle back to the price and usually we will come to a quick agreement. With so many choices out there the customer will not spend money with someone they don’t like or trust.” When customers push for “the best deal”, he asks how they wound up at his dealership.

9 times out of 10, they were sent by a current customer.

Talk about that mutual acquaintance to build trust

Usually come to a quick agreement on price

“With so many choices out there the customer will not spend money with someone they don’t like or trust”
What approach or approaches do you use to turn prospects into customers? “The top two prospecting techniques that work best for my industry are referrals and my company website. Referrals are always the easiest to turn into sales because someone has put their reputation out there to send their friend to you. You have some form of initial trust already built when the customer walks through the door. Our website captures leads of people who are interested in cars or services that I have.” Top two prospecting techniques
Referrals and Website

The website captures leads of people who are interested in the cars or services he offers
My Subaru:
- Anyone can create an account.
- Explore various models and save those you like. Compare options, get cost information
and estimate payments. Download Brochures of models that interest you.
What features and benefits do you emphasize while selling? “For my Subaru dealership the number one selling feature is All Wheel Drive. All Wheel Drive is great but the customer cares about safety, the benefit of a car with all wheel drive. For our customer the ability to drive without having to worry about the weather conditions is huge! It’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru!! Ha Ha” Number 1 Selling Feature: All Wheel Drive

Benefit: Safety









“For our customer the ability to drive without having to worry about the weather conditions is huge! It’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru!”
In class we learned the importance of identifying customers’ needs before presenting a product. How do you identify customer’s needs? “LISTENING is the key. While a lot of salespeople love to try to impress customers with product knowledge, a good salesperson knows how to shut up and listen. Don’t get me wrong, product knowledge is very important, but a salesperson who listens can tailor the presentation to what the customer has defined as their important needs.” When selling a product customers often have objections. What is the most common objection you face and how do you address this objection? Price is Number 1 Objection

Add Value and Create Desire for the product

"A good presentation of the product, one that adds value and creates desire while keeping the customer at ease, will make the discussion of price go a lot smoother. Creating desire for the product will help in overcoming most objections." How do you service a sale? “Keeping in touch with the customer after the sale is not always expected after the sale. Most people think that once you made the sale you will forget about them and move on to the next customer. The follow up phone calls, emails and birthday…anniversary ….holiday cards make a HUGE difference. Keeping in touch with customers is not only easy, but is the only way to build a strong customer base. Stop by and bring them a coffee for no reason and watch the reaction! A $2 coffee can get you a sale down the road. I will spend $2 to make $500 any day. Good follow up also makes you a lot of good friends and networking connections.” Follow-up and then Keep in touch with the customer:
•E-mails
•Birthday, Anniversary, and Holiday Cards
Helps to maintain relationship and build a strong customer base.

“Stop by and bring them a coffee for no reason and watch the reaction! A $2 coffee can get you a sale down the road. I will spend $2 to make $500 any day. Good follow-up makes you a lot of good friends and networking connections.”
What would be your #1 “golden rule” of selling? “You put in work to build the relationship, so maintain it!”
Full transcript