Peady’s Selling Engagement
What sales tricks do you employ? How about ‘special’ techniques or ways to persuade? Any great comebacks to objections or high pressure ‘closes’ that never fail?
I’m joking of course – they are stupid questions. Successful sales people don’t use tricks, comebacks, techniques, pressure closes or manipulative behaviour. They do something altogether different.
Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.
Former Harvard Business Review editor and Harvard Business School lecturer Edward C. Bursk said: “it’s not about driving the prospect into a buying decision but guiding and letting them reach their own decision”.
In reality this can be difficult for many salespeople, with targets and commission to consider however today’s customer is well informed, smart, has done research and won’t be pressured or intimidated into a hasty commitment.
5 Strategies….no tricks, no smart comebacks or pressure closing
- Asking questions – The majority of sales people fail to ask effective ‘discovery’ questions. Most ask low value questions such as “tell me about your business” or “what’s your budget?” or “can you explain your needs?”. Irrelevant, ineffective, time wasting. Great salespeople ask questions designed to uncover real issues, opportunities or challenges. They use the answers to effectively position a solution for their product or service.
- Active listening – You can ask all the great questions in the world but if you don’t listen carefully to what the other person says they are wasted. Active listening means really hearing and understandingwhat people tell you (and what they don’t tell you!) One effective way to show that you have listened and understood is to quickly recap the key points to gain agreement.
- Identifying needs – If you can’t process a customer’s responses and clearly uncover a business opportunity within their needs, then you will have a difficult time positioning your products/services as the ideal solution. Once the need or opportunity is ‘on the table’ you need to confirm with the customer that its real, not perceived.Additionally, the need or opportunity must be of a high enough priority so that the customer will act on your recommendation.
- Demonstrating value (not talking price) – Sooner or later the time comes to talk about the investment required and getting the customer to agree to your pricing. So how do you sell at the right price? In any list of buying motivations low price is never the primary motivation; it’s important and can be the deciding factor but never the primary one.The biggest issue in the mind of most prospective customers isn’t price and isn’t value. It’s risk. The risk of making the wrong decision. You need to demonstrate value and lessen the risk by using recommendations, case studies and testimonials
- Building ‘business friendships’ – In sales, the most important thing is relationships. Get to know your prospective customers genuinely. Find the ‘common ground’, their likes, dislikes, interests, and challenges. Take the time to listen to them and learn what they need. Don’t be afraid to invest your time into building genuine ‘business friendships’ that many times morph in social friendships too.
The long-term trust you build will lead to more business, sales and referrals.
It’s your choice. Trickery and sneaky tactics or modern, relatable trust-based relationships.
Until next time, good selling!
About the author
Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.
He can be contacted at [email protected]