How to sell.
You may be selling a product, your views, or just an idea; it really doesn’t matter what, knowing how to sell something to someone is an essential skill in life and business.
There is always a time when good sales technique comes in useful.
I enjoy selling things to people, be it nowadays mostly ideas other than products. At first, like most other people my initial efforts were poor.
I realised very soon that some people are better than others at sales.
I also know that sales technique can be learned and with practice mastered.
If sales come natural to you this blog will help to structure what you do so that you can refine your sales technique.
If you are new to sales this blog has broken ‘sales technique’ down into its basic elements so that you can learn the basic principles that you need to be successful.
I refuse to give someone the hard sell, some of these techniques will help people make up their minds, that is really what sales is all about.
Sales is no different than providing a service for the buyer, to educate them and understand more about your product or idea and hopefully at the end of the day help them to feel good about buying it.
Sales Technique in seven easy steps.
1. Build Rapport.
I try and build rapport with everyone I am selling something to, it is impossible otherwise to sell effectively.
The best salesmen build relationships with their clients who then come back to them time after time.
A little rapport helps people relax, it lets them be more open and talk about their needs.
If done right good rapport is also the first step to building trust.
Work on your rapport skills, make conversation with 2 strangers every day, practice small talk, try and make this a natural process, and above all be yourself.
There’s nothing worse than the pushy used car salesman who wants to be your best mate, so do your best at not being him.
2. Ask questions and assess needs.
This step is to find out what the person wants,
‘There really is no point in trying to sell ice to the Eskimos.’
For you to sell something you need to assess the potential buyer’s needs;
- Are they after a certain product?
- Do they need your help in making up their mind?
- Have they already made up their mind and need you to help them close?
- What are they willing to pay?
- How are they willing to pay?
- What are they using already?
- What problems have they got?
- What do they see your product being used for?
- What brought them to your brand?
The list is endless and with a bit of practice the questions come natural and build conversation and rapport, these questions show that you are attentive and interested in their needs.
To really help you on this step read up on ‘motivational interviewing’, and apply it in a sales manor, I will cover this in more detail in a future blog.
This step is essential to ascertain what the needs of the buyer are and therefore how and what to sell them.
3. The Handover.
After I have assessed the buyers needs I always repeat back to them what they need, just to reconfirm you have listened and that you are on the same wavelength.
If you are wrong at this point you can back pedal and then repeat until you can do it right.
It’s easier to do this now than see the sale breakdown later after a lot more wasted effort.
The handover is the start of getting to an agreement phase in your relationship between you and the buyer.
It also allows you to check in your own mind that you have made the correct decision in what product to sell.
4. Ask Permission.
At the end of the handover it gets you to a point of trust that allows you to ask your buyer for their permission to start telling them about your products.
The psychology behind the buyer giving permission is that they are now open to you selling them something, they feel they have given you permission for the ‘sales’ process to begin.
It has been proved that this permission step statistically makes you more likely to close a sale. It’s also polite!
5. Match Needs with Product.
Some people need help to realise why your product would fit their needs, it is your job as a salesman to educate and match the product you are selling to the buyer’s needs.
‘Remember the buyer needs a reason to buy.’
It is really important that you don’t patronise or offend here, this step practically demonstrates the suitability of the product, if done right the buyer will already be imagining themselves using the product.
It is also really important that you know your product well, some people love to find out details about what they are going to buy, some people probably don’t want as much detail.
6. The Virtual Close.
I think closing a deal is a really big jump for the buyer, the virtual close helps you move the buyer gently along before you actually close the deal.
The virtual close also helps you to get the buyer to think about how easy it would be to buy your product.
This step helps you get creative in how you can help them purchase the product.
I like to introduce phrases like the following
‘If you were to buy this product’
‘If you were going to buy this product when would you like delivery?’
‘If you were to pay for it today would there be any way we could help you to do this’
‘What kind of deal would you be looking for?’
‘There’s always the cooling off period, this means there’s no risk if you decided to take this product away today.’
7. The Close.
Ok getting here has been a bit more long winded than some more direct sales methods.
You need to bring the client with you every step of the way, they need to be ready for the close,
‘Up to 70% of clients initiate the close themselves!
Done wrong the close is intimidating, awkward and a deal breaker.
A poor salesman doesn’t know when to close, how to close, they could lack confidence to close or fear rejection.
Therefore having a method is the key to sales, each step can be learned and practised, you can also back pedal at any time.
The direct close can be as brash as thrusting your pen towards them and saying ‘sign here’ or asking them for their credit card.
Probably better than the is to do this slightly more indirect so initially soften the language,
- use words like ‘us’ and ‘we’, and avoid ‘you’ and ‘I’.
- never say ‘cost’ or ‘price’ try talking about making an ‘investment’
I like to ask the buyer;
‘Can you help me with the paperwork?’
‘Are you ready to get started?’
‘Shall we go ahead?’
‘Where shall I send you the invoice?’
‘When shall we get this delivered?’