by John Monroe

With all the technological advances over the past decade, small businesses are more capable than ever of competing with large businesses.

By using smartphones and apps, business owners can easily keep track of their finances, manage analytics, and respond to customers at the speed of a text or an e-mail.

Yet, with all these streamlined services, we can easily forget that a sales transaction requires more than our undivided attention to a brightly-lit screen. Selling products or services still requires collaboration and face-to-face communication.

An example

My wife, Katie, and I decided to renovate our home office. The sales representative from the furniture store arrived at our home with no swatches, no brochures, not even a notebook to take notes.

Instead, she took all her notes on an electronic tablet that required her to be looking down at the keyboard the entire time. When Katie asked for prices and product information, the rep replied, “Hold for a second while I log onto the internet.”

The last straw was when I asked to see a swatch of the furniture fabric and was handed the tablet with a screenshot of it. Katie and I had tried to give the sales person a chance, but we ultimately refused to buy furniture from a picture on a tiny screen!

Sales presentations requires preparation. The top sales people understand this and know everything there is to know about their product. But what really sets the best apart from everyone else is being knowledgeable about their customer’s needs.

If you feel like this article is speaking directly to you and wondering how to turn things around, here are four ways to unplug from electronic technology and successfully make a sale.

  1. Turn your phone on silent. Your main priority is the customer in front of you. They deserve and require your full attention.
  2. Know your products. Your demeanor and the energy you bring to a sale helps the customer gauge whether you are someone whom they can trust and depend. Reading from notes on your phone during a sales presentation will most likely result in rejection. The customer’s perception of you outweighs anything you will actually say.
  3. Know your customer’s needs and do your homework. Don’t rely on your phone to tell you all about your customer minutes before the sales meeting. Do your homework days or weeks in advance so you can fully understand your customer’s needs.
  4. If your product is tangible, bring samples. Don’t pull up a slideshow of photos on your phone and don’t show off your company’s website. The customer can visit the website anytime and a smartphone slideshow should be reserved only for your personal photos. If you have a product, bring it with you so the customer can get a feel for how it could make their business better.

Top-performing sales people know what tools to carry with them and they understand when and how to use those tools to be successful.

Don’t let electronic gadgets kill the business you have worked so hard to develop.

John Monroe is a Business Development Advisor for Violand Management Associates (VMA), a highly-respected consulting company in the restoration and cleaning industries. Monroe is a leading expert in marketing, sales and sales management for the restoration and cleaning industries with over 30 years of experience in those fields. Through Violand, Monroe works with companies to develop their people and their profits. To reach him, visit Violand.com or call 800-360-3513.