6 min read
September 15, 2014
Last updated: July 5, 2019
Refresh your sales strategies with these time-tested and proved approaches, and make sure your team knows what they are and how to use them.
Make your customers comfortable.
Discomfort is the enemy of sales. Initial discomfort - either with you, your approach, or a latent unfamiliarity with what you're offering - can cause your potential customers to cut you off before they can learn about the value you offer. Don't let discomfort be the thing that ends the encounter before your customers have a reason to spend. Be ready to adjust to what makes the customer comfortable. Pay close attention to their responses and do more of what makes them light up and lean forward in interest. Leave the rest behind. When it comes to your product or service - the focus of the pitch - use what is familiar to explain the unfamiliar. Engage analogies and similes to build connections from your (new, unfamiliar) product to a product or option that is known, familiar, and accepted. Show them how what you offer is the same but better. Building a connection between two similar offers will increase the comfort they have with your product. Then showing how your product is better will build the trust and reason they have to invest in it.
Know and repeat the core message.
What do you want your customers to hear about your offer? There is more than one option. The brain will not automatically focus on the best or most relevant option. Your job as the sales person is to figure out which message is the most important, and then help your customers to focus on that one important concept. To make your message effective, you need clarity and ease in your delivery. Practice your message until saying it, slipping it in, is second nature. Any hesitation on your part will be interpreted as insincerity. You must believe what you're saying and practice saying it so that your delivery is natural and sincere. Of course, repeating and enforcing the wrong message is not going to be helpful. You need to know what message your customers most need to hear, and in order to know that, you must...
Get to know your customers.
What you don't know can hurt you and can definitely hurt your sales. Spend a little time in preliminary research to get accurate information about your customer's personality, problems, style or approach to business and sales relationships. You can't know everything, of course. But you can get a good idea of your customer's motivation. You can learn about his past experience. You can find out about her company vision and goals. A knowledge vacuum in any one of those areas can lead you to share irrelevant information and alienate your customer.
Present the solution, not the problem.
Your customers already have their own problems. They don't need you to bring them more, or to bring them irrelevant information or options that don't apply to or assist in any of the problems they're already dealing with. So bring them solutions. A solution. The solution.
Do so by following these steps:
● Name their biggest problem in your own words.
● Ask questions to find out if they agree that this is indeed a big problem.
● Rename the problem in their own words.
● Get agreement. "Would you say XYZ problem is an issue for you?"
● Identify what they need in a solution.
● Present the features of your product/service and show how they match the needs they have for a solution.
● Name the problem again and this time, name the solution.
You're not inventing a problem; you're identifying the problem that already exists and presenting the solution to the problem. In order to do that, you've got to get everybody agreed on what the problem is. That's why you spend the first bit of time bringing a problem out, asking them questions about it, and then getting agreement.
In the long-term (and, really, in the short-term) honesty is always the best approach. Sometimes honesty means saying, "I don't think my product/service is really right for you." Sometimes honesty means making a recommendation to another product or service. But always honesty means more, much more, than any sort of gimmick. Even if honesty costs you a sale, it will build for you a reputation of integrity and trust. Your business will benefit from that reputation, because people will hear, and learn firsthand, that you care more about what is best for your customers than about making a sale at any cost. After all, trust is the foundation of any long-term relationship, whether that's between family members or between a business and a customer. And trust is only possible with honesty.