Sales techniques are many as they are varied. They can be as much psychological as functional when it comes to engaging customers. In a heavily influenced digital sales world where inbound leads seem to rule the roost, lots of valid sales techniques have been overlooked. This has had the effect of salespeople not really understanding the nuances involved in making successful sales calls, presentations or pitches. Regardless of whether the sales call is an inbound lead, a web lead or a cold call, always approach the prospect or customer with the same degree of effort and preparation.
Sales techniques are usually part of a company’s sales playbook to guide salespeople on how to sell their products or solutions more effectively. These techniques will then be constantly refined based on past experiences and results.
Sales Techniques – Plan the sales work and work your sales plan
Prepare for success. Yes, planning and preparation are sales techniques. Before going into the sales meeting or picking up the phone, invest in planning and preparation to get insights into your contact and their company. Being able to speak about the customers industry, market trends, news and industry is a one of the most underused sales techniques. Apart from gaining credibility with the customer, it also shows your genuine interest in how you might be able to help them. Use social media to gather intelligence plus to see any mutual connections in common. Next, plan out the call, meeting or presentation step by step. What is the value proposition for this customer and what is it in for them, what is the unique selling point aligned to this prospect and what are the goals to be achieved from the interaction? To be able to put the customer as ease, plan out the opening statement and personalize the value proposition into 3 or 4 sentences (so you can get their awareness and attention).
Sales Techniques – Focus on moving them out of the status quo.
The biggest competitor in any sales situation is not the competition but the buyers status quo. Status quo bias or the natural preference for customers to avoid change is the biggest threat to sales success. Of all the sales techniques we could discuss, this one is the most challenging. They key here is to understand the status quo then work through everything that makes up the status quo to determine how, if, why, when any change would be required or more importantly accepted (as in decision to purchase). To facilitate this change, salespeople need to become “Servant Sellers” and be willing to become a change agent. This involves facilitating the buyers journey with the customer and other members of the buying committee who may not have shifted their status quo yet
The sales skill here is to magnify the pain points, make them real plus make the cost of doing nothing as unbearable. Its about moving your proposed solution up on the customer’s priority to-do list.
Returning to planning and preparation, write out questions such as:
“How would you describe your current situation? (as it relates to the salespersons product)”
“Where would you seek improvements all things being equal?”
“Could you help me understand this better?”
“What would be impact of leaving things as they are?”
“What are the obstacles as you see them in finding a solution?”
“What is the knock-on effect and cost to the business?”
“What triggered you to explore dealing with this now?”
Master the Performance.
Every interaction with a customer is a performance, to influence, to gain credibility and gain their trust. Everything from the tone of voice, from the way we dress, to what is said and how it is said is all part of the performance. The quality and relevancy of the information being delivered is what determines how the sales progresses. People buy from experts, so confidence is vital. Similar to an actor, talking at a measured pace while the words flow naturally and then using facts or data with a raised pitch is a great way to display confidence. Along with a personalized value proposition also have the company sales pitch fully rehearsed. Be ready to answer “How are you different from my current supplier?
Collaborate to uncover sales opportunities.
Successful selling is about 54% listening to 46% talking. On a sales call or in a sales meeting, measure the switch rate, this is the rate at which each party takes turns listening and then talking. This sales technique allows for the flow of information to be two-way. Become skilled at active listening so each side can work together to help find the solution that best meets their needs. To ensure the switch rate runs smoothly, a list of discovery type questions should be deployed with the added benefit of finding out if any sales opportunity does exist.
To ensure collaboration, they discovery questions should be prepared in advance.
Where are you experiencing challenges (role or product)?
What has been your past experience in choosing solutions?
How often would you review your current vendor/products?
In which area are you seeing most challenges (personalized to the solution/product)?
How have you gone about solving these issues?
What type of solutions or options would you consider?
When do you need to have found some options for consideration?
What is the normal decision-making process for my type of solutions?
The discovery phase (which shouldn’t be rushed) is about receiving answers that will give a good indication of whether there is a sales opportunity or not. If the switch rate is right, the questions and answers should reveal the prospects main pain points. This allows for a progression in the sales process, however if no opportunity exists or can’t be crystalized then move on.
Help the buyer to buy.
Whether selling a commodity item or an enterprise solution, it has become a buyer’s world of more – more information, more options, and more people involved in a buying decision.
Salespeople need to focus on clarity in the sales process. To collaborate and help customers simplify the buying process, to make it easier to buy. Research shows customers who experience a high level of “buying ease,” the vendor helping to supply this ease are nearly 62% more likely to win the deal. This is why salespeople need to focus on moving the buyer out of their status quo, to open up new possibilities, that the cost of change is manageable, to master their sales performance, to collaborate on how to sell the solution internally and make buying easier.
To wrap up, every business should map out their sales process and sales strategy. To create a sales playbook that contains the most relevant sales techniques (social selling, sales prospecting, business development and sales model) for their product to help the sales team to stay in control of the sales process and acquire more profitable customers.