In the business world, everyone should understand the five elements of a good sales technique. Why? Shoddy sales is about using fancy closing techniques and deception just to make a buck, whereas superior sales solves problems.
Quality sales is the foundation of a strong and lucrative relationship between a supplier and its customer. Inadequate sales technique is a sure ticket to a supplier closing its doors before it gets a chance to enjoy one full year in business. When everyone can identify a sales professional with a top-notch sales technique, then it is easier to weed out the scam artists and under-performers.
If you are a company owner and you cannot identify an effective sales strategy from a poor technique, then you will not be in business for very long. A second-rate sales professional can harm your company's reputation. They are the ones on the front lines representing your company and interacting in important deals with your customers.
It's important to help sales professionals understand what they are doing wrong so they can fix it. Once the errors have been repaired, then a sales professional can focus on what is working well and amplify it.
Customers want to work with professional sales representatives, those who have determination, understanding, empathy, can solve their problems, and connect with them emotionally. These are the elements of a good sales technique.
Sales professionals should not can confuse determination for being a pest.
What is Pestering?
Pestering simply means that you are contacting a client constantly with no new information and without the client asking to be called back.
So if you are constantly calling a client to try and get a sale with the same information that has been rejected several times before, then you are pestering your client. If your client is in a buying mood but has not requested that you call back every day until they cut a purchase order, then you are being a pest.
If you put together a pitch and the client says no, then you did something wrong. Fix what you did wrong with new information before you call the client back. When the client expresses an interest in buying a product, then ask when you can call the client back. If the client invites you to call them back, then you are doing your job and not being a pest.
What is Determination in Sales?
Determination is the undying desire to improve your technique. It is also the strong sense of dedication you have towards supplying your clients with the right information. You should be determined to analyze your own technique constantly and make changes that will make your presentation smoother. You should constantly rewrite your elevator pitch and work on how you handle rejections. Most of a sales professional’s true determination is focused on themselves and not the customer.
The determination a sales professional shows towards a client is a strong need to supply the customer with the information they need to make a buying decision. That could mean that you have to go back and present new information to a client who has already rejected you, but that is all part of being a determined sales professional.
A quality sales professional is also determined to stay up to date on all product information and committed to learning new sales methodologies. You are intent to know everything there is to know about your product and the competitors’ products as well. Information is always the best sales tool available.
Does your sales technique center around asking questions to find out what your customer wants, or are you the kind of sales professional who shoves information down a customer’s throat until the customer buys or runs away? There are plenty of sales professionals who believe that the customer will listen to whatever the pitch is and then buy the product based on the pitch. Those are the sales professionals who are struggling to make ends meet and keep sales jobs.
If you do not understand what your client wants and needs, then you cannot sell to that client. You have to ask questions, listen for the answers, and then use that information to create a winning pitch. While many elements of your pitch are rehearsed, you are still creating a customized pitch for every customer you talk to.
Successful sales is based on the personal feelings and needs of each individual customer. If you want to sell a product to a customer that will result in referrals from that customer and glowing reviews, then you have to understand what the customer wants. In order to do that, you have to include your customer in the sales process by asking questions and using that information to craft the ideal pitch.
Empathy can help you to make more sales. Remember your past, put yourself in your customer's position, and use that standpoint to sell to the client in front of you.
Recall trying to finance your first major purchase. You remember knowing that you could get the credit to buy that item, but you were unsure if you could afford it or not. Too many sales professionals get to the point of getting the customer to fill out the credit application and then hand the pen to the customer while staring at them. The next time you have a young couple or a person just starting out in their adult life trying to buy their first television from you, use your empathy to make the sale.
Ask the customer if it is their first television. It may even be the first time that the customer has ever filled out a credit application. Think back to how much easier it would have been for you if the sales professional who sold you your first television stopped to explain everything to you.
Now think about your emotional state at that time. Wouldn’t it have been great if the sales professional had put the pen down and just asked if it was your first television? A conversation would have developed that would have put you at ease and resulted in a sale you were confident with.
Not only will showing empathy help close more sales, it will also result in more referrals as well. Customer empathy is an important part of the sales process in any kind of sales. You may not have any experience as a purchasing agent, but you know what it is like trying to keep a boss happy. Always keep your customer’s situation in mind when you are selling and you will develop more lucrative relationships and sell more product.
Sales people are problem solvers. Your customer has a problem and you use your product to solve that problem. That is the core of the sales process. Upselling and all of the other parts of revenue generation are only effective when you have solved the customer’s problems.
Always remember that the customer is going to be hesitant to tell you the real problems you need to solve, and there will often be more than one problem. Your customer desperately needs a new business suit for upcoming job interviews, but also has a limited budget. Not only do you have to solve the problem of needing a good interview suit, but you also have to worry about price. If you ignore the budget problem, then you won’t make the sale.
Sometimes issues such as budget or time are problems, but only in the respect that the customer has to be given a reason to spend more money or wait a little longer to get a product. You have to spend time talking to the customer and determine what the real problems are before you can make the sale.
Do uncover customer problems, but avoid stating them back to your customer. A common technique used by sales professionals is to say something such as “I’m hearing that you need a business suit, but your budget is limited.” Don’t do that. The last thing you want the customer to think is that you have turned their problems into a game that you are trying to win. Once you know the problems, just set about solving them and getting the customer what they need.
The honest truth is that emotional leverage is extremely dangerous when used improperly. Emotional leverage is:
- Getting information from the customer that can be used to create an emotional desire for the product.
- Getting the customer to trust you.
- Using the information and your status as a trusted advisor to make the sale.
Sales professionals who have no empathy or understanding for a customer’s situation will often abuse emotional leverage and leave the customer feeling cheated. But even sales professionals with good intentions can sometimes misuse emotional leverage and cause problems.
Every sales transaction is an emotional event for the customer. Whenever a customer spends money, even if it is the company’s money, it has an emotional impact on the customer. Utilizing emotional leverage helps to make the buying decision easier for the customer.
The problem is that the word “leverage” has such a negative connotation to it that people misinterpret what emotional leverage really is. When you acquire and use emotional leverage, you are putting yourself in a position to close the sale and solve the customer’s problem without putting the customer under unnecessary financial stress. If you are not really solving the customer’s problem or if you are causing the customer unnecessary financial stress by using emotional leverage to make your sale, then you are using it for the wrong reasons.
You acquire emotional leverage by asking the right questions, listening to the answers you get, and then properly interpreting the customer’s body language. It is a process that takes a few years to perfect, but it is a necessary element in the sales technique.
Perfect Your Technique
There is no such thing as the perfect script or template you can use to create an ideal sales method. Your technique is the result of practice, refinement, and a comprehensive understanding of the five essential elements of a good sales approach. Take the five elements and use them to create a sales approach that makes you successful.