Everyone has there own way of approaching sales some like to research and take a slow approach making sure that they are meeting the customer needs at every step, others dive head in and look for the opportunities to close from the moment they say hi and of course there are some people who believe they cannot sell at all. I’ve learned over time that everyone has an incredible ability to sell however what they are missing is the ability to identify their own strengths and the one’s of those around them so that they can not only utilise their skills but also grow their own.
I have a friend who says that she isn’t a great salesperson because she isn’t outgoing, this same friend however has very high attention to detail and always does a thorough job no matter what she is doing. What she doesn’t realise though is that that her skills are also important within sales, without her ability to be thorough and keep an eye on the details a customers first impression of her company may not be a good one.
My partner has an incredible ability to talk to people and by doing so she develops incredible relationships with everyone she meets and by doing so opportunities come her way all the time. I asked her how she is able to build these relationships and she told me ‘Ijan every time I meet people I always take it as an opportunity to get to know someone new’. Now I do this as well but when I’m in sales mode I found that my focus was no longer on getting to know the person but more so on the deal and the details. What did I learn from this? If you enter every meeting or take every call thinking about how great and interesting that person could be then you’re going to develop a relationship not based on the deal but on the human connection. Let’s look at what I believe are the 5 critical steps to any sales process.
What is rapport? To me rapport is talking about anything other than the purpose of the meeting or phone call such as their family, their hobbies and their weekend. But there is a condition as well, you must be genuinely interested in what the person is saying to you otherwise you will come across as an ass-hole.
Telling is not selling, ask as many questions to learn as much as you can about the potential customer, what their business is doing, what’s important to them and what their concerns are and so on. At the questioning stage avoid using words that lead to closed answers an example of this is ‘why’. Instead use words such as ‘how and what’ for example; What do you consider your biggest challenges over the year ahead?’.
Identify Needs and Values
Now that you have all the details and you have effectively built rapport you should be able to identify what their needs are and what they consider valuable to them. If the previous steps have been done correctly and posed the right questions you should be able to repeat back to the customer everything that’s important to them and smoothly transition to the next step. If you find that you’re asking too many questions reflect back on how you approached the questioning stage and make adjustments as needed.
Link Needs and Values to Product or Service
Linking their needs to your product or service is so important to ensuring a smooth sale, make sure at this stage you are constantly referencing back to their needs and values and remember never sell on features, talk about the benefits and advantages of your product or service and get agreement from the customer on the benefits before moving forward.
Closing is something a lot of people have trouble with and while people may say there are lots of reasons why I think it’s pretty simple, they didn’t follow the 4 prior steps in this article. Once you at this stage here are two tips to make the close a lot smoother and let pushy.
- Never use the word contract call it an agreement.
- If you don’t like asking straight out for the sale go down the alternate of choice approach, an example of this is; would you like to use a cheque for the deposit or is credit card easier for you?
Everyone is a sales person in one way or another, we all have to negotiate in our life and by understanding the steps to effective sales you will greatly increase your chances of getting what you want and isn’t it true that no one wants to come off second best in a deal?