Whether you’re selling cars or cups of coffee, the concept of selling can be challenging for some businesses. When defining consumer demand, it’s important to learn about what your customer is searching for in order to be as successful as possible in you endeavor to sell to them. Learning how to be successful in sales isn’t necessarily as easy as reading one article, but rather is a lifestyle learned by applying key principles to our daily business lives.
Discovering Your Key Principles
Every sales professional is different, as well as sales organization. In order to understand the key principles of selling, you must first, know your audience and understand who your customer is. This information is typically collected through inbound marketing practices or from a CRM or CMS program; however, it can also be collected by understanding the relationships that you have with you customers on a personal level.
Let’s take a look at some of the key principles that will encourage you towards being successful in sales.
Silence Is Golden
This principle is something that many sales people struggle with. As a salesperson, you want to talk and many sales professionals talk – a lot. When trying to identify the first step of sales, which is discovering the solution to your customer’s problems, instead of talking, it’s important to be silent first and to ask you customer to try to define their problem.
Many times this can be helped along by asking them a series of questions that do not merit a “yes” or “no” response. As an example, if you’re a car salesman, you may ask the question, “Can you tell me a little bit about the car you’re looking for?”, or “Can you tell me about the kind of cars you’ve had in the past?”
Giving your customers the time and opportunity to voice their opinions, thoughts, or ideas is essential to not only defining the solution you can provide to them, but also to retaining them as a relationship-based customer; potentially for life.
Here is a rule of thumb that will prevent you from not letting your customers speak: Don’t ever start a question with “Do”, “Do you”, “Have” or “Have you”. This will automatically prevent your customer from replying with a “yes” or “no” to your answer.
Listening Is Essential
It can be hard to concentrate in sales when you’re focused on landing a deal. You may be thinking about the presentation you put together for your customer, or even about your next meeting while you’re with the first customer of your day. Unfortunately, doing so will provide you with first class ticket to a failed deal.
Giving your customer time to speak is one thing, however, actually listening to what they’re saying is another.
Business advisor, Julian Treasure, provides some essential listening tips in this TED Talk video below:
Get to the Point
If you’re like the average salesperson, you’re passionate about what you do. You’ve come prepared with a pitch about your products and services and can’t wait to tell the next person about what you can offer them.
Time and again, sales professionals approach potential customers with this presupposed way of thinking and many times, more often than not, fail to make the sale. So, why is this?
Simply stated, as humans, we tend to overcomplicate things. We fail to realize that we have the profession that we do because it’s our passion and what we’ve decided to spend our lives endeavoring to perfect. What we also fail to realize is that not everyone is as excited about what we do as we are.
Many times in sales, we get ahead of ourselves and lost in the jargon or imagery of what we do for a living and fail to keep it simple for the customer. It’s been reported that the average American has the attention span of only eight seconds. That’s one second shy of a goldfish, clocking in at nine seconds.
So, within that, let’s say, 10 second time frame, are you able to articulate what you’d like to sell in a way that your customer will understand and take interest? It’s imperative to perfect your elevator pitch to just shy of this time frame.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sell to the customer from start to finish, but what you have to say should be appealing and attract their attention within the first ten seconds of your conversation.
Make sure to keep your points clear, your sentences simple, and your thoughts, specific to the task at hand.
Sell First, Educate Second
As a part of our passionate endeavor to sell our products and services, we find that we are the ultimate knowledge source for our specialty. Not only can we tell our friends and family about everything that our company does, we can also tell our customers everything they need to know about our craft or trade and why they need to be involved.
This mindset originates from a “meant well” perspective, but ultimately will hurt your bottom-line. In a world full of Do It Yourselfers (DIY) and knowledge experts, over educating your customer can do more harm than good.
Believe it or not, as a salesperson, your job is to sell, not educate. You should focus on value, quality, and ROI for your customer. The education part should take place after the sale has been made.
As an example, if you’re selling software, you’re going to explain to your customer why the software that you provide has the value, quality, and end result that will solve their problem. After your customer has purchased the software, they will receive a kit or booklet of instructions that will tell them how to install it and utilize it to resolve their issue.
As a typical rule of thumb, a salesperson should spend 90% of their time selling, and only 10% of their time educating their customer. If education is required, it should be as the result of a question being asked by the customer or within the general explanation of how the product or service itself actually operates on a surface level.
If you’re a salesperson and spend time educating your customer before selling to them, you will most likely lose the deal and provide them with ideas to compare your services with a competitor’s.
Personal Consulting on How to Sell Your Product or Service
No matter how long you’ve been a sales professional, there are always new tips and tricks to learn about how to become a better salesperson. Keeping these key principles in mind will help refine your skills and keep you fresh in your endeavors to dominate your industry.
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