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Do’s and Don’ts for Sales Etiquette

If you want to be a successful salesperson, it is essential to observe proper etiquette at all times. The way other people perceive you as a professional can have an enormous impact on whether or not they choose to do business with you. Don’t miss out on opportunities to make sales and form relationships with long-term customers and referral sources because of etiquette issues.


Be Honest
Avoid any kind of dishonesty. For example, be honest about your purpose when placing a sales call. If you say something deceptive to get your phone call put through to the person you want to speak with, he will likely hear about what you did and form a negative impression that you will never overcome. Further, do not act as if you are gathering market research if you are really making a sales call, and do not claim to have been referred by someone who knows the prospect if it is not true.


Respect Others’ Time
You have to be respectful of other people’s time to succeed in sales. If you ask a prospect to set aside 10 minutes to meet with you, keep yourself on a 10-minute clock. If not, you will probably to find yourself unable to get an appointment with that person, as well as others at the same company, ever again.


Express Sincere Interest
Show genuine interest in potential customers rather than immediately launching into a standard sales presentation. Ask what their needs are and really listen. You can use the information to pitch your products or services in a meaningful manner that increases the likelihood the person will buy.


Focus Fully
When you have an opportunity to meet with a potential customer, be fully engaged in the conversation. Do not allow yourself to become distracted by other matters, and, whatever you do, do not touch your cell phone during the meeting. Set the device to silent so there are no distracting noises and keep it in your pocket, purse or briefcase.


Be Nice to Everyone
When calling on a potential customer or existing client, it is essential to treat everyone you meet in a professional, positive and kind manner. If, for example, you come across as a salesperson who is rude or dismissive to administrative employees, the office workers will probably make negative comments about you to their supervisors, something that can keep decision-makers from choosing to do business with you.


Professional Appearance
When making sales calls, dress in a manner that is appropriate for the location where you will be meeting with prospective customers. If you are going into someone’s home or into an office that you are not familiar with, choose professional attire that is conservative so you can be sure that your appearance will make a positive impression. Avoid wearing business casual clothes unless you are certain they are appropriate for the environment, and never wear anything that is too casual, overly revealing or flashy. [1]


Sales Call Etiquette (A checklist)

A successful sales call doesn’t happen by accident. It doesn’t happen because you are charming and people like you. It doesn’t happen because you’ve memorized every feature of your product and service. It happens when you do specific things to make it successful. Here is your sales call etiquette checklist.


Show up early, but not too early

If you are not early, you are late. That said, it’s rude to be too early. Show up 10 minutes before your meeting starts, unless you are presenting, in which case you should show up 15 minutes early to make sure you can set up. Showing up 20 minutes early is as rude as showing up 5 minutes late.


Prepare for your meeting

Plan your agenda. Review your notes from prior meetings. Look at your customer’s profile on LinkedIn, especially if it is your first meeting. The time you get with your clients is too important—and too rare—to wing it.


Share your agenda

I know you’ve been told to try to make some personal connection before getting to business, but this is no longer good advice. You are a business person now, and business people share agendas and make small talk later. The last thing you want to do is show up looking like a waste of time. You asked for a business meeting. Do business.


Preview what comes next

This is the second part of your agenda. You need to tell your prospective client what comes next. If this meeting is successful, what are the likely next steps. You are supposed to know how these things go because you sell what you sell all the time, and they rarely buy it.


Don’t interrupt your client

One of the greatest strategies for developing rapport is to become an excellent listener. Allow your client to finish their thoughts before you speak, and recognize that oftentimes when you believe they are done speaking, they aren’t. They’re pausing, and they intend to say more. If you want trust, start here.


Take notes

You know what it means when you don’t take notes? It means you don’t care what your client is saying, that you don’t believe you need to remember it, and that you are self-oriented, looking to your outcomes and not theirs. You should keep good notes, and you should eliminate the need to go back over information you have been provided unless you need clarity.


Be respectful of your prospect’s time

If they agreed to an hour, your meeting should last exactly one hour. If the client needs you to continue, then you ask for permission to continue. It is disrespectful to go over time without asking for permission.


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Don’t ignore stakeholders

If there are multiple people from your client’s team in the meeting, do your best to bring them into the conversation and to make sure that you include their needs in your agenda. If they are in the meeting, they are important to the person you are meeting with, and that means they are important to you.


Bring enough for everyone

If you are bringing anything on paper, bring enough for everyone in the room. If you bring coffee, take orders and make sure you include everyone. Same with lunch, and order extra just in case.


Make Introductions

If you bring team mates, introduce them and their role. Make certain your client knows why they are there. By pointing out their expertise, you help the client believe in you and your team. Also, you make sure each person on your team knows what role they are serving and what questions you are likely to pass to them for their expertise.


Review next steps and commitments

At the conclusion of a meeting, remind your client of what next steps should be, and share the commitments that you have made, and the commitments that they have agreed to. This is the list you are going to work through as you follow up, and as you prepare for your next meeting, this one having been wildly successful. [2]


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References Sources:

[1] Taken from Do’s and Don’ts for Salespeople Etiquette written by Mary White for AZ Central.

[2] Taken from Sales Call Etiquette (A checklist) written by Anthony Iannarino for Sales Blog.

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