Look the part
People make snap judgements based on your clothes, the car you drive, your accent and how you smell. Whether their judgement is correct is down to you. As a sales person, dressing the part is essential. You can have the best product, or the most innovative money saving process for your would-be client, yet if you look wrong to them, you could easily lose the deal. So shine your shoes, wear your best clothes (this could be business attire or smart casual depending on the situation), and make sure your breath and body smell lovely.
Talk to their level
If you are talking to the technical department of a business you have to be able to talk to their knowledge standard. However, a car salesperson will temper their petrol head knowledge if the client is simply seeking a car that is fuel efficient and looks nice.
Don’t fear the phone
Even seasoned sales people dislike calling prospects. However, if you have a qualified lead that has expressed an interest, ringing them is a matter of courtesy if nothing else. They will be expecting you to call, and to not call is a wasted opportunity and could damage your reputation in the eyes of the would-be client.
People love to be listened to. They disliked being talked at. As a rule of thumb listen as much as you can before talking. When you do talk, address the concerns, queries, and any misunderstandings about your product/service. The sales process can be far friendly and, once you know what your customer needs, you will impart more targeted knowledge to them.
Don’t bug them
When you feel you are close to a sale, don’t badger the client for a decision, but ask them questions that they need to answer. Allowing them to come back to you with the reply gives you more knowledge about what they need, but also helps cement their good opinion of you and your business.
Identify blocks to buying
With a first purchase of a car, accounting services, or a piece of software, people tend to look around before deciding on where to spend their money. Your business could be one of many they are looking at. So don’t jump in with the hard sell. Go back to the listening tip and identify what the customer’s blocks to buying are, then address them. If you know your product isn’t for them, let them know, but if you can change the product/service, make sure they know that too. If you know it’s going to be too expensive, tell them and find a solution that meets their budget.
Let them go
Make sure you qualify your leads. If your product isn’t right for them, or you know they can’t really afford it now or in the long run, be the good guy and let them go. A poor lead will cause both you and the client problems further down the line.
Close the deal
Knowing when to close a deal is essential. Some customers could prevaricate all year over a purchasing decision – wasting their time and yours. When you know they have all the information they need to make a decision, offer them a couple of options and ask them which one they feel most comfortable signing off on.
There are many ways of closing a deal, for more details on transforming your sales skills visit: /courses/transformational-sales-skills/index.php
ISM Training has plenty more sales tips for you just browse our sales category on this blog.
Whether you’re pitching to a small Dubai ad agency or an international conglomerate, these are the sales tricks to avoid if you want to land a new client.
Start with the Price
When you start with the price, people can make a very simple yes and no decision. You’ve not made the effort to engage their emotions around a product, so they can only decide on whether they feel they can afford it. From this point on the conversation is doomed. Outlining the benefits before the price is always more effective.
Start at the lowest price
Sales psychology is pretty clear on this one: start with the lowest price model and the sale will nosedive. It’s possible you’ll get the sale, but it’ll be at the low end, not the mid range or high end price. Start high and work down to a comprise that makes the customer happy.
Sticking rigidly to the script
Even seasoned pros make this mistake. They go into autopilot and drone through the sales pitch without thinking about how it should be changed to appeal to different customers. However, don’t…
Ditch the script
Some people feel the loose, informal approach is more authentic. Well, it would be if it was prepared carefully beforehand. Just rocking up to a meeting and making it up as you go along, isn’t authentic; it makes you look like you don’t really know what you’re talking about.
This trick may work on a market stall where you want to catch people’s attention quickly, but it doesn’t in a business environment. Customers want to have an engaging conversation, not sit and listen while you reel off the products benefits and why they should buy it.
Offer a discount during a pitch
Giving a discount, or extra benefits midway through your pitch sounds like it should clinch the deal. You have a great product and you’re offering them extras if they sign up straight away. The trouble is most people are suspicious of a deal that sounds too good. You look a little desperate and they’ll find someone who’s more interesting in their needs, rather than ticking off another sale on the monthly chart. Far better to tell them about an offer beforehand – it’s a far more credible approach than if it’s offered half way through the pitch.
Bad mouthing the competition
It’s an easy mistake to make. You’ve worked hard on finding all the reasons your product is better than the competition, so you work that into your pitch. However, the person in front of you might well be good friends with the CEO of the competition, and won’t take kindly to you rubbishing his friends. Focus on what your product can do for the customer and let them make the comparisons to the competition.
Dazzle with buzzwords
Excessive use of buzzwords during a sales pitch are a major turn off – to the extent you’ll not only lose the sale, you may discredit your company entirely. People like easy connections, a bit of banter and good hard facts they can make a clear decision on. Buzzwords should be used with extreme caution.
The world of sales techniques is littered with unethical practices. Whether you’re selling ice cream on the streets of New York, or a new point of sale software package to businesses in the Dubai Mall, you will have targets to meet and commissions to strive for. However, using unethical sales practices may work for you in the short term, but will seriously undermine your reputation in the long term.
Here are three practices that you should avoid, or use carefully.
Putting a time limit on a sale is a typical technique employed by salespeople. It is a way of pushing a customer into making a fast decision – but it may not give them sufficient time to truly consider whether it’s a good deal for them or not. Many people expect this in an end of season sale, but if you are trying to build a long-term relationship with a customer, it could leave them feeling less secure in their dealings with you.
Save the time limits for when they really do apply, for example, if you have a block of stock you want to get rid of and are genuinely offering all your customers the opportunity to purchase it at a reduced rate. By being honest with everyone, you’ll show that you are a company worth staying with.
Withholding the truth
You may feel that the deal is almost done; that you’re so close you can see the commission entering your bank account. But then the customer stalls, uncertain about a certain feature of the product. Do you assure the customer that the feature fits their needs perfectly, or admit that it may not at the moment?
These are the moments that sort out the ethical salesperson from the unethical. You can go for the fast sale and happily accept the commission, but you’ll also know that at some point down the line there will be come-back on that sale. The customer might demand a refund, and you may have to lie to your boss and wriggle out of the hole you’ve made for yourself.
Telling the truth in these circumstances is hard. You may lose the sale, but there is a way to show you are a conscientious sales person. You tell the customer you don’t know, but can find out. It takes longer this way, but you may be able to come back and tell them that although it’s not possible in it’s current state, you’ve spoken to the developers and changes can be made to accommodate the customer’s needs.
This doesn’t always work. Making a change to please one customer demanding changes no other customer needs, could be expensive and not give a good return. But it’s better for you and your company to make those decisions ethically, rather than sell something that the customer ultimately cannot use.
Ease up on the upselling
Upselling is common practice, but in some circumstances it can be downright unethical. The obvious one is selling insurance when none is required, or suggesting that additional equipment is needed to make a product more productive, when it clearly doesn’t.
To build a more harmonious relationship with your client, leave out the upsell and only suggest additional products when you have discussed them in detail with the customer and you can both see the benefits.
In sales, and most particularly for small businesses, how you treat your customers at the outset will determine the long-term success of your business relationship. Which is why it’s important to insist on ethical sales techniques from your sales team.