Selling techniques that work is about having the discipline of keeping to the basic principles of common sense.
Achieving constant top sales results is therefore more about practice and consistent process rather than personal magnetism or luck.
Below is an introduction to a few of the basic principles of effective selling.
Read this and think about your own business and customers.
Jot down how this might make your sales efforts more effective.
What makes a good sales person
Good sales matches solutions to needs.
This requires sales professionals that possess empathy and the intelligence to comprehend what is often complex circumstances.
“A good sale adds to the well-being of the universe and to you that means repeat business.”
Working the desires and then the fears of any purchase
Every prospect has a desire or need to purchase. This may vary depending on the item: from banana to house – but the core elements are the same.
Every desire or need is countered by fears that can manifest as reservations during the buying process.
People have desire to obtain and own – then fears to purchase.
People have anguish to must have – then fears to purchase.
Summary of typical generic fears
- Am I going to make a mistake?
- Is there a better offer elsewhere?
- Do I really need it?
- Can I afford it?
- Will the product malfunction?
- How long will the product last?
- Do I trust this company?
- Do I trust this individual?
Fears specific to the product
- I have a fear that feature is not required.
- I have a fear that feature will not work.
- Do I need to pay for that benefit?
- Can I afford it?
- Should I afford it?
- Do I really need to buy now?
This means that from the prospect perspective there are two broad parts to the process.
- Two points in the buying process where a prospect has chosen to buy.
- And therefore two points in the buying process where the prospect might change his or her mind.
- Decision to purchase this car model due to a desire.
- Enduring the act of buying this car from this place depends on overcoming the fears of buying a lemon, buying from this dealership, at this price and from this person.
- Decision to purchase these shoes due to a desire.
- Enduring the act of buying these shoes depends on overcoming the fears of buying from this internet shop, at this price, waiting for delivery, arranging arrival of delivery and hoping the shoes will look good and fit well when placed on feet.
“The most potent of fears is that of conviction.”
Sometimes the want or desire to purchase is replaced with a need or anguish to purchase.
This is often known as the distress purchase.
Examples of distress purchases
- Tyres: This brand from this shop at this price.
- Plumber: This unknown plumber at this price.
- Locksmith: This locksmith at this price.
Understanding your product and the fears encountered by prospects during the buying process requires insight and empathy. Listing these fears and then developing reassuring counters based on truth and value is key to creating believable, real and effective messaging.
There are two aspects to managing fears to purchase.
- Propositions to buy – substantive benefits to affirm the motivation to purchase.
- Propositions to counter fears – propositions that mitigate or minimise fears to purchase.
You the business owner or sales manager must develop and manage the messaging in the form of tasks. It is for the sales team to then communicate these messaging tasks in a convincing and truthful way.
The added barrier of the Hassle Factor
Take a look again at the process. This time we have the additional issue of the Hassle Factor.
Pushing against you and the sale is the Hassle Factor.
The Hassle Factor is the inconvenience or pain of the buying process.
The good news is that you have or should have control over many of these Hassle Factors.
Hassle Factor examples
- No where to park
- Confusing offers and deals
- Staff not interested
- Delayed or no personal service
- Delayed answering of phone
- Confusing websites
- Lack of knowledge from sales staff
The arm wrestle towards a sale
Pushing towards the sale is the desire/want or the anguish/need of the prospect to purchase. But pushing against you and towards a “no sale” is the fear of buying and the hassle of going through the process of buying.
Your prospect can pull out of any time – particularly if your business has made it unintentionally difficult to buy.
“Think how you can make the hassle of buying from you less than that of your competition.”
Comprehending the headset of your prospect when in buying mode
There are three types of buying headsets
People choose to buy (that favourite well-earned car)
People must buy (tyres for the car)
People are paid to buy (employed to purchase a fleet of cars for the company)
Each of these buying headsets have different motivations and therefore different propositions to communicate and fears to overcome.
The typical sales process
- Building the relationship (propositions)
- The Close
- Repeat purchase
Qualifying is the process of defining the prospect as being or not being suitable either for a sale now or at some determined date in the future.
Good qualifying provides two things
- Qualifying determines if you are wasting your time.
- The qualifying process should also be contributing to the selling process.
There are two parts to the Close.
The approach or prep
Sometimes the approach to the Close can be a succinct summary and reminder of the previously communicated propositions and sometimes it is a final proposition kept back for the close.
This is a crucial part of the selling process and requires effort to develop and test an approach that actually asks for the business. Call it the nudge.
One technique is to avoid the straight ask and jump over the close barrier into the future.
- Shall I pack that for you?
- Are you paying cash or card?
- Let me get it delivered to you by Tuesday.
Sometimes, the nudge is not needed. The prospect decides to buy somewhere in the selling journey. Knowing when that moment appears is part of being a sales professional. Do not over sell and do not over close. The sweet spot can evaporate as quickly as it appears.
At other times, the nudge may not work or more accurately, the nudge did its job but the prospect was simply not ready to buy or was disingenuous during the qualification part of the process.
When this happens, attempt to re-qualify. If things seem dim after this then revert to the fallback of simply gaining information that will contribute to the progress of your strategy.
“Develop and test the nudge to close the sale.”
Binding the contact means building the relationship beyond the current Sale and Close. This can be substantive using tangible benefits such as a special offer on the next purchase or intangible in the form of a trusted relationship based on the promise to the customer of future value.
Even before the Close, you should be building into your sales plan the repeat sale. This indicates to the prospect your commitment to them and a long-term relationship based on the promise of consistent value.