Selling starts at the beginning. This was driven home to me in an article I recently read about Dell Computers.  We’ve all heard about the problems they’ve had and the effort they’re making to get their customer service perception back up to where it used to be.  The fact that drew my interest was that Dell consumers spend 99% of their time gathering information about what they want to buy and only 1% buying.  For every salesperson, that simple fact should drive home why it is so important to realize that the sale begins at the beginning.  It doesn’t start after some idle conversation takes place.  It doesn’t start when the salesperson feels the sales call should begin.  The reality is that the sale starts when the customer is ready, and many times, that’s long before the salesperson is.

From this, I’ve made several conclusions:

  1. Customers do more research than we realize and this usually the web.
  2. The customer is going to use all types of information (both good and bad) to help support their decision making process.
  3. Salespeople need to frame their sales call by accepting the fact that the customer will have already done some of their homework prior to the meeting, even though the customer often deny it.
  4. Salespeople need to sell from the start and not allow themselves to believe there are “non-selling periods” in any sales call.
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