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Always Be Closing

I recently attended a rather intense three day training which focused on the subject of selling and how to maximize the effect you have on potential clients. They started this message by showing a small clip from the movie Glengarry Glenross" which drove the point home in an almost shocking manner that you must Always Be Closing. Think about that idea for a moment...are you in that mind set? If not, then why not?

It was a little bit of a mental twist for me to realize that although I am a chef I also am a salesperson. The salesperson should actually be the more prevalent than the chef. You know you are skilled as a chef, what difference does that make is you can't sell your business.So for the next month I am going to examine the best ways to promote yourself and give you some skills to Always Be Closing.

When you find yourself talking to a potential client how do you conduct the sales call? Because that is what an initial interview is...a sales call . Remember this formula: ask equals lead , answer equals follow. You want to lead the conversation and have a guideline for yourself including the knowledge of any objections.

First ask situation questions.These are open questions designed to give you a very clear idea of what is going on in the client's life. For example:
When do you return home at night after work?
What family activities do you participate in at night or on the weekends?
What is your diet like right now?
How much time do you spend on planning and grocery shopping?
Who does all the cooking and shopping right now?

Once you have a clear view of the situation follow with problem questions.
These are designed to pinpoint the most important details for you, the deal clinchers. You might toss out all the benefits of your service but the purchase decision depends on finding the solution to the biggest problem. Examples of problem questions could be:
Do you have alot of stress because of all those time constraint?
Do you often eat takeout or junk food because you don't have time to cook?
Are you spending less time with your family because of shopping and cooking?
Is the variety of your meals suffering because you just don't feel like it?

After pinpointing the problems you paint pictures of what the client's life looks like and drive home the frustrations. These are consequence questions designed to elicit an emotional response.For example:
Is your family's health suffering because their diet isn't providing all the nutrients they need?
Are you tired and stressed all the time making family time less enjoyable for everyone?
Are you spending money on too much takeout that you could be using for something more satisfying?

Then follow up with a win question. This is a closing question designed to elicit a positive response. If you have followed the client's signals, painted an appropriately grim picture of their situation then they will be ready to answer yes to the following questions.
Would you like me to show you how my service will solve your issue(diet, time, etc)
Would you like to change your lifestyle and let me give you the gift of time?

This question pattern is a very useful tool for any chef to utilize in the interview process and will work for you. Check in next week to read about how to turn objections into success. Happy Cooking and Always Be Closing.

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