Selling Techniques for The Digital Era
Selling techniques are a moveable feast, to keep pace with the dynamic change in the selling environment as digital channels overtake traditional B2B sales methods.
The role of a salesperson is to be effective, so your sales activity facilitates the decision making for the customer. To do this, you must be able to.
Open meaningful conversations with a customer.
Understand the business issues of the customer.
Help customers to understand these issues.
Build an effective solution.
Link your solution to the identified issues.
Change Your Mindset in your Selling Techniques
Before you work on your selling techniques, consider changing your perception of what it means to be in sales today. Sales techniques are not about picking up the phone or sending LinkedIn messages to people you know nothing or little about.
Selling is about the exchange of real value, if you have real value to offer somebody and they see enough value to pay for what you have, then sales happen. You could say, selling at its core is nothing more than commitments. Commitments from the salesperson not to waste peoples time if they can’t bring value, commitments that in fact we do have something of value and I need to tell people about it. From a customer’s point of view, it is about giving commitments to listen, care and take action.
The skill of getting people to give commitments to take action that benefits both you and them will pay dividends throughout all your sales career. Think of any commitments you have given to buy something, what words come to your mind? Trust, credibility, usefulness, value, belief, excitement, satisfaction etc.
Now look at your sales mindset, does it reflect your own buying values? All buyers whether B2C or B2B are emotional. Today buyers want more than a sales pitch, they want an experience.
Don’t sell your product, sell excitement
No one buy products, we buy solutions, potential, a future state, and excitement. Take, for example, a sales promotional video designed for an internet business. What is it that would make investing in a sales video such an exciting prospect for your website? Is it the creativity and the messaging that is embedded within the video? Or the extra care and effort that’s put into making it? It’s neither of these things, of course, because the real excitement doesn’t have anything to do with the features of the video but rather the visitors, potential leads, and customers that the promotional video can generate. So, don’t sell your product, sell the source of your customer’s excitement that they will receive from doing business with you.
Know where you are in the moment.
Selling techniques covers all the major customer interactions from prospecting to closing a deal. The key is understanding the business results a customer want to achieve, and then act as a partner to accelerate the results. Selling should focus on delivering a bundle of values from the business to the buyer. Value delivery and not value exchange is the key. Which means you must know where you are in the moment. Does this moment require a yes commitment, more information, clarification, explanation, assurance or exit the sales opportunity? Knowing where you are in the moment is critical, as moments will either move you closer to a sale, waste your time or signal to you that your time is better spent elsewhere.
Ask yourself, what moments have you planned in your sales conversations, what questions need to be asked and what actions need to happen to keep the moments going. Find the customers that are likely to benefit the most from what you have to offer and go from there.
Use the five W’s of discovery in Selling Techniques.
Use the “five W’s” of discovery in your sales techniques: Who, Why, When, What and Where.
Who? Who should you be talking to, which means you must research the contact and their role?
Why? Why will they listen to you, what information or insights will you bring that unlocks a sales conversation. If in doubt, practice your “why” on a colleague as you can’t practice on real customers (not if you have researched them properly).
- Why would this be important to them?
- Why would your solution become a priority?
- Why would they choose you?
- Why would you consider moving?
It’s important to gauge the buyer’s responsiveness and select the questions that need to be asked at each moment.
What? What commitments will you ask and when. What sales assets do you have to address any concerns or interest.
Where? Where do you want to go next with your conversations, you need to guide the customer forwards which means having a sales process. Do you have where questions prepared “I suggest we go here next” or “this is where I suggest we go forward” as part of your selling techniques game plan.
Plan out your sales conversations.
We all know that the ultimate goal of any sales opportunity is to make a sale. This goal and the tension you may bring to the table could sabotage an opportunity fast. Customers just don’t have the time for waffle and pointless calls. Which means your sales conversation must be planned out if you are to maximize your sales efforts and opportunities. Your sales conversation plan must be able to get critical issues on the table so they can be worked on. Questions and stories that will engage customers in a meaningful two-way discussion. The skill to challenge your customers to think differently.
To move forward, look at it from the prospect’s perspective: What do they want to learn from your call? How can you help them? On an inbound call salespeople need to get more comfortable with the role of advisor. In proactive sales outreach, you need to deploy a more consultative and partnership approach to selling.
Learn to be a great storyteller.
Everyone loves a good story. Stories help make an emotional connection with your customers. The ability to infuse relevant, inspirational, and memorable stories in a sales conversation is a highly effective sales technique. Train yourself to tell compelling, visually powerful stories that highlights where the buyers situation is now and where it could be if they act.
The reason to incorporate storytelling into your sales conversations means that the customers becomes are an active part in the sale process and not a passive part. Your story can start with a character who is faced with a challenge. As the story unfolds, we find that through sheer determination and some help from the product or service you are selling, the character overcomes the challenge and moves on with their lives. Storytelling in sales should be easy to understand, contain facts, and have a beginning, middle, and beneficial ending.
Understand the hardest part of selling
The hardest part of selling is getting a sales conversation started in the first place. Do you have an opening line and value proposition that wins the first 10 to 30 seconds? Can you get the customer to think “I’ll listen to this”? This requires you open the sales call in a manner that immediately generates interest, intrigue, and some level of emotional connection. There are a number of selling techniques to achieve this, but a great personalized value proposition, relevancy, and honesty are usually successful.
What will the customer be thinking as you open the conversation?
What sets me apart from other salespeople?
How can I quickly build credibility and usefulness to earn more time?
Don’t be afraid of FOMO
While it must be used tactically and in the right setting, Fear Of Missing Out can be one of the more powerful selling techniques. All buyers are emotional and depending on their personality make-up they could be much more loss-averse than they are driven by gain. Undertaking change is hard and when we sell, we are asking a buyer to undertake a change management project.
So, the question becomes, How can you move the opportunity forward by showing the customer what they will lose by not acting on your proposal now.
Ask the Customer
I understand that change poses questions for you. What would be your biggest concern in partnering with me on this solution?
What is your biggest frustration with the way things are done now?
How does that impact your role?
Final words on selling techniques
No one has cornered the market on the best way to sell, all anyone who writes these type of articles can do is to offer you insights and ideas. Take from them what you want and discard the rest. Sales training, sales scripts or upskilling is a constantly evolving learning pathway. Hopefully, you will have found even a small nugget of useful information in this article.