I really started thinking about this, after all I have been selling all of my life and so have all of you!
Children are the best sales people on the planet! In the toy store, the grocery check-out line, driving down the street and seeing a Mickey D from a distance only to convince our parent how good we would be if we could get a happy meal.
And yet as adults selling became taboo.
So, what changed? What got in the way of selling what we love to do? I think, need for comfort was the culprit. Upgrading techniques used by a 3-year-old (when it was all about me) to service based selling (where it is all about you) is the gap.
When you look at the Top 10 Tips for Effective Selling, would it help to think of what you do as “serving someone” instead of selling them something? Try to think of the information around your product or service as essential education or that you are providing help that will add value to their lives. Place your client’s needs ahead of your own. What you do matters … it really does!
By Jeremy Thorn (4 minute read)
1. Find out all you can about your prospective customers, all their past contacts and transactions with your company and their probable needs, before you ever meet them. You can’t possibly know all that you will need to know about them in advance. But the prospects you meet will not be much impressed if you know nothing about them at all!
2. Practice a powerful introduction. If you don’t believe passionately in your company, its products, and what you can offer, why should anyone else? But don’t present yourself ‘off the cuff’ each time. Know your products really well and develop some really powerful, short introductory phrases that work well for you. Of course, your introduction needs to feel spontaneous and authentic. But all great, powerful presentations take a lot of practice to perfect!
3. Ask questions, as these are any sales person’s very best friend. In doing so, allow extrovert buyers to talk about themselves by all means. But if they seem rather quiet or retiring, don’t fill the silences for them. Introvert buyers in particular will need time to reflect and consider their answers carefully. While they are doing so, anything else you might say may at best not be ‘heard’ and at worst, will almost certainly make them feel uncomfortable and unnecessarily pressured.
4. Develop empathy with your prospects and build rapport. So, shine the light on your products and services and what they will do for your customers. Not on yourself and what your customers might do for you! Most prospects actively dislike egocentric/egotistical sales people, especially those who don’t listen or don’t answer their questions.
5. Hold back on your proposals until you have heard their full story. And then pause. Too prompt a response to any problem/opportunity may sound glib, ill-considered or pre-packaged.
6. Use customer references, but carefully. Great references from other satisfied customers can be wonderful. But your favorite clients may not actually be admired by your prospect for reasons you may never know of. Worse, your prospect may suspect that if you will talk so freely about your other customers’ details, you may be indiscreet in telling others about theirs! So, keep your other customers’ details anonymous unless you have their permission to mention them by name.
7. Sell your price! Never be ‘modest’ about your price, but support it and ‘sell’ it with the benefits you offer. Any early suggestion that your price is negotiable, tentative or even in the wrong ball-park will only suggest it may be aspirational. That you don’t believe in it. And then, why should your customer?
8. Never duck an objection. Rather, see customer-objections as potential buying signals, which they often will be, and welcome them! And remember? – an un-resolved objection will always remain an objection. So, consider making a habit of the using the following 5-step process?
– clarify the real objection;
– repeat the objection back in your own words, to show you have properly understood it;
– pause — don’t pounce! However often you may have heard the specific objection before, don’t let your prospect feel that your response is not going to value their point of view.
– ‘pivot’ the objection into a genuine advantage
– explore the consequences of your reply and ask for any other objections.
9. Ask for the order! ‘Closing’ a successful deal is a finely tuned sales skill. Most experienced buyers will probably know as many professional sales closes as you do! Each approach to closing may warrant their own place in your personal armory. But if you have built a sound rapport you really can’t beat just asking for the order on many occasions, once you have been through the steps above with a genuinely compelling offer,
10. Know when to go! When you have won the order and confirmed the details, congratulate them on their decision by all means. Assure them they have chosen wisely of course, but then LEAVE! The longer you stay thereafter, the more time you may give for buyers to change their mind. I see more sales lost this way than any other!