Photo Credit: blog.saleslogs.com
Supply and demand. Buying and selling. These are the cornerstones of business since the earliest of civilizations.
Think of any product manufactured or service provided. Virtually every one of them goes through a sales professional. Even though we’re seeing a spike in the number of people shifting into entrepreneurship, it seems that many of them lack the ability to effectively close a sales transaction — and more importantly develop a long-term relationship with the customer.
This is especially true when a company is still building itself and has extremely limited resources and manpower. Unless you’re lucky to be able to hire people who have that seemingly natural sales ability, as the entrepreneur and owner of your own business, you will have to be the best salesperson. After all, when you first start you’re business you’re responsible for making those sales happen.
The first thing you need to do is organize a structured approach to your sales method.
Here are a few tips for you to apply to any sale you’re trying to make.
1- DO YOUR HOMEWORK
You have to know your customer, your audience, or whoever it is you’re selling to. You need to know what their role is, what their responsibilities are, and what their objectives are to buy your product or service. You need to understand what’s in it for them. Really understand that as much as you can. Another thing you need to do your homework on is your competition, and know the possible objections you might face.
Equally important, know very well what it is you’re trying to sell. If it’s an idea, a product, a plan, whatever it is, you need to know it inside out. Undoubtedly, you need to know it better than anyone else, especially the people you’re selling it to. Believe me, it is not a pleasurable experience to get beat up by a customer or your boss because you haven’t done your homework. The bottom line is, find out what the customer wants, and satisfy that need or want.
2- ASK AND LISTEN
So, now you’ve done your homework and feel like you’re ready to sell, right? You feel prepared, pumped, and full of passion, and probably dying to get out there. Well, don’t! Here’s why. First of all, take a step back. You might come off poorly, or even worse, pushy, because your presentation will all be about you. Remember though, it’s all about THEM. Their needs, and their wants.
So what should you do? Ask how you can help them. Ask what their goals are. Ask what their concerns are. Then, listen. Start asking them more leading questions. Then listen some more. You need to keep listening until you have a clear picture and understanding of what they’re saying. Then, recap what you think you heard.
Sometimes you’re going to have to have a few meetings to get that sale — which is fine. You’re going to want to listen to what their concerns are, and what will satisfy their needs and wants. Do your best to not be pushy. Have a natural conversation with them and listen to what really matters to them.
Remember, information is power.
3- MAKE A GENUINE CONNECTION
Every business transaction involves a genuine connection between individuals. It might not always be a deep relationship, but it is a relationship, nonetheless.
You need to come with one important thing in mind. Sales are either made or not in the first thirty seconds. That’s the time frame you have to connect with the person, explain things in a way that resonates with them.
If you’ve done your homework well, asked the right questions, and listened carefully, then you should know what it is they’re looking for and how you can overcome their concerns and ultimately meet their needs.
Remember, purchasing anything is an emotional transaction, supported with internal logic and information. Genuinely connect with the person and communicate using anecdotes and analogies that will go deep and resonate with them.
Another thing to remember is that people like to hear about ideas, features, and performance. They need to hear about benefits and what’s in it for them even more.
However, when all is said and done and they’re on their own deciding, it’s really an emotional connection to stories and people that they’ll remember. Ultimately, that’s what will motivate them to go for it.
4- KNOW WHOSE SIDE YOU’RE ON
Now this might be a tough concept for some people to grasp, so focus here with me.
You may very well be sitting across from someone, physically opposite of them, but in reality you are on the same side as that person. The sooner you get into this mindset, the sooner you’ll be able to get deals done.
Unfortunately, lots of people don’t see it this way. They view sales the wrong way. If you really think about it, in a certain sense, you’re actually working for the customer or whoever you’re selling to. The reason that’s true in some ways is because your job is to understand and serve their needs; to help them achieve their goals.
That’s your job. That means you work for them.
You know what else? Your customer needs to know this. They need to know that you’re there to help them achieve their goals. You need to make them feel like you’re partners. That you’re willing to move mountains for them. Sometimes, that’s what you have to do to get a deal done.
It doesn’t matter if you’re on the sales force, smiling and dialing, in accounting speaking to a vendor about an invoice, or even the Disney custodian who gets asked a million questions, you’re all in sales. You’re selling yourself. Not for money, but for your image, the company that you represent, the type of person you are. If the person you’re communicating with connects with you, know that a sale can be made.
I’ll leave you with this last thought. When people pick up on your genuine desire and ability to jump through hoops to make them successful, fulfill their needs and wants, chances are you will be able to get the deal done. That’s how you become successful. By convincing others that you can and will make them successful — and then doing it.