Selling does not have to be as hard as many make it out to be. In fact, sometimes it can be quite simple. Here are seven tips to help you avoid pitfalls and make the sales process easier.
1. Sell the problem not the product
With the amount of data available to buyers on the internet they have a fair amount of research done by the time they reach out to your company for help. They are already thinking about product features and capabilities they want. Instead of jumping right to the product, focus more on their situation and problem they have that is holding them back. This approach will keep you out of a feature function battle and turn your value in to how cheaply you can deliver the product to the value of overcoming the problem.
2. You can’t help everyone
Just because someone has the problem you solve does not mean you can help them. You can only help those who have the problems you solve—who identify them as problems and more importantly are willing to pay to solve those problems can be helped. Everyone else is the equivalent to an overweight person eating fast food talking about needing to lose weight. It’s an interesting subject but not compelling enough to change and better yet—pay money to change.
3. There are no magic phrases
Many sales training organizations teach key sentences and responses like they are some magic hocus pocus phrase that will increase your sales rate. The reality is buyers are afraid of salespeople because of these types of tactics that are implemented to get the sale. It’s more important to be authentic and have true intent in a conversation. People want to work with real people who are focused on helping them with their problem than sales tactics.
4. Have a conversation
Sales organizations spend endless hours building scripts to teach sales reps how to sell. While I do believe that having a clear definition of your personal value, company’s value, and knowing your client stories is good—scripts are not how we communicate in daily life.
By the time you are a professional salesperson, you are an expert in having conversations because you’ve had 1000s of them to this point in life. Be yourself. Have a conversation where you ask good questions that come from a point of curiosity and make statements with no intent to manipulate the conversation but to only add value. It’s more important to be conversational in how you talk and work with professionals than reading a script. No one wants to be read a script.
5. Win early
First impressions matter greatly. I believe you either win early or lose late, and it typically goes with how the first few conversations go. Sales professionals who work a deal long enough hoping to at some point win the business will typically find they just lost late.
I have found it’s much easier to win the business in the first couple of conversations and then don’t lose it at the end than to stay involved and hope to win it at the end. Winning early comes from listening to the client and then differentiating yourself and your company’s value through stories that connect buyer to you and your value even before looking at your product.
6. Be detached from the outcome
For decades, sales trainers taught sales reps to anticipate the sale and to be persuasive and even downright pushy. The reality is your need and desire to win the deal will cause you to show up merely reinforcing negative stereotypes about salespeople.
Try detaching from the outcome and truly working with the client to figure out if you and your company are a good fit to work with them on this initiative. The detachment from the outcome will cause you to show up in a way that breeds trust and breaks down the fear of the negative stereotype.
7. The moment you stop asking questions you put the whole opportunity at risk
There are two traits that I encourage every sales professional to embody: Skepticism and Inquisitiveness. Be skeptical what the person on the other side is saying is the truth. It’s not that buyer is lying, but sometimes they have not really thought through it. They tell you they are ready for the contract.
Instead of saying, “yes ma’am, I’ll get that right to you.” Ask a question, “So, you have full approval to move forward with us on this project? We are your selection, and everyone is on board with that decision?”
In the same way, coming from a point of inquisitiveness also enables you to keep asking questions. The client might say something like, “We have decided to move forward with your company.” A response could be, “I’m curious, what were the reasons you decided to move forward with us?”
These answers may be the only way you truly get to the truth and have clarity when the buyer gets cold feet or gets a low-ball offer from a competitor.
Authored by: Brandon Jeffress