Business is all about selling, but it’s a long road to making those high numbers. Tons of great business people have
It’s about them, not you. Ask questions!
Since we’ve established that people dislike being “sold” on a product or service, the trick here to get them to sell to themselves. An individual is their own best salesperson. A perfect match, if you will. How do you accomplish this? Through the art of asking the right questions.
Sales people find remarkable success is making your spiel about the person you are pitching to. Stop perfecting your elevator pitch, slow down your spiel, and patiently ask about your prospect’s preferences, needs, reservations, expectations, as well as their budget.
Most importantly – ask about their pain.
- What struggles have they faced?
- What kinds of solutions have they tried implementing?
- What could they use help with?
- What would they hope your product or service can do for them?
Don’t think about how you can make money off of this person. Don’t talk about how awesome your company is or what great educational background you possess. Just let them talk about themselves – people love talking about themselves!
In short, make it less about you and more about them. Make a real effort to understand the prospect’s needs. Put yourself in their shoes. They’ll appreciate your helpful and sincere attitude. Plus, if you ask meaningful and insightful questions, you won’t need to explain your expertise. Your insightful questions will prove your depth of knowledge.
Speaking of knowledge: Be pragmatic with your sharing
There are two types of people potential clients hate meeting with:
- Sales people who don’t know what they’re talking about and simply throw out memorized facts, figures and buzzwords. They don’t want your elevator pitch. They want real knowledge.
- Sales people who spend all their time boasting their product, with no understanding for the client’s specific needs.
No one cares how successful your sales track record is. When a client walks into that shop and ask you a question about a product, they want honest, insightful, and knowledgeable answers–information that helps me make a decision. Fibbing and fumbling is the fastest way to lose prospects.
Don’t just narrate features. Convey how those features turn into benefits for each specific prospect. This is where knowing your product inside out will help.
“This moisturizer is retinol-based and does not contain parabens.”
Memorized pitch. What does this even mean?
“This moisturizer can give you youthful skin in a short time of using it while protecting you from harmful chemicals so that you age gracefully.”
This is far more compelling and shows a deeper understanding of and passion for the product. It also proves you understand the needs of the client. Remember our first point: It’s not about you. Empathize!
Steve Jobs did this beautifully when Apple launched the iPod. Sure, he needed to convey specific information. But instead of leaving it with, “This boasts a 5GB hard drive,” he said, “1,000 songs in your pocket.”
Do you love your music collection? I sure do. And that must have got the attention of every music lover (the target market) in the audience.
Spell out for your prospects all the ways in which your services can enrich their lives and businesses on a day to day, or moment to moment, basis. Help them see it. That is knowledge in action.
Be responsive at every stage
Are you someone who gets irritated when asked the same question again and again? If so, you’re only human. But, don’t let that affect your conversation with a prospect.
There are all kinds of people in this world. Some are impulsive buyers, others like to think a long time before making a decision, while others never make up their minds.
You will meet all kinds of prospects, too. Those who vacillate a lot are likely to follow up with a number of questions spread over a number of days, or even months. Be present, and be equally sincere and professional when answering those questions. Responsiveness is the key to winning people’s trust.
Don’t think that you’ve already told the prospect everything there is to know about the service they are interested in. The fact that he or she is still undecided indicates that there still are gaps in their understanding or that they need greater assurance.
Give them that. Attend all phone calls; answer all emails.
Be likeable; find your sales style and be authentic
Ok, this is difficult. What does that even mean? A lot of things. But, mostly it means being a good human.
Let me break it down for you.
Being affable, gregarious, honest and basically someone who means well and exudes a positive and enthusiastic vibe.
There are different ways of accomplishing this. Some business owners are great at small talk and breaking the ice. Others are quick-witted and enliven any conversation with a dash of humor. Others yet lean towards a slightly serious demeanor. Some are straight shooters. Every person will have their own sales-style – so find yours, and be genuine!
How likeable you are would also depend on the personality of the prospect. Not everyone likes people who talk incessantly, use too much (or the wrong kind) humor, or act over-friendly in the first meeting itself.
The best way to be likeable then, is to be yourself – but within reason. Pay attention to the prospect and see how they are responding to you. If they don’t seem to be the kind who would love to crack a joke with you over a pint of beer, forget about it. Tailor your approach depending on what you make of the prospect. This will require you to employ an array of skills – empathy, being a good listener, studying the prospect’s body language and zeroing into the essence of their argument.
It’s okay to admit it’s not a good match
You won’t be able to hit it off with each and every prospect, and you don’t have to. Sometimes people’s working styles differ and they just aren’t the right match. Other times there’s an instant connect and a solid business relationship ensues.
Both of these outcomes are okay! The art of selling is not about getting the “Yes.” It’s about seeing if your company can offer something of value to a prospect.
Focus more on exuding a sincere and positive vibe. Prospects need reassurance at every stage. Your professionalism, punctuality, responsiveness, knowledge, and an overall reassuring presence can do wonders for them.
Do you have any special sales techniques you’ve found work like magic? Are there any times you’ve spectacularly flopped, but learned a valuable lesson to share with the rest of us? Comment and let us know!