Developing an effective sales technique at a time when potential customers are bombarded with constant attempts to make them buy, from so many angles, is a constant priority for those who look to close deals as part of their job.
The good news? With the right strategy, knowledge, skills, and experience, you can not only close more deals but do so effortlessly.
Advantages of Having a Sales Technique
In any field or industry there are always those who stand out, who make it look easier than it actually is. The difference between them and the average person is that they have a method. They also dedicate a larger proportion of their lives to the job. Sales is no different; sales savants are bred not born, and you can do it too.
The truth is, no matter what you’re trying to achieve, it’s been proven that having a plan is much more efficient than going in blind and winging it. Having an agenda, or a game plan, especially in sales has many advantages, for example:
1. It’s Easier
Mapping your responses and talking points makes the process more systematic. This means it takes much less mental effort than having to think on the spot every time.
2. More Efficient
This doesn’t eliminate creativity; it only eliminates impracticality. You can mix up your responses as long as it’s part of a larger plan. That way you guarantee that you don’t have to think all over each time you make the same sales pitch.
3. More Control
When you go into a sales call for example, without any script or guidelines, you’re walking into the unknown. In other words, you’ll always be on the defense; merely reacting to the customer. However, by applying previously thought of sales techniques, you control the conversation
In the end, all of these benefits, amount to a higher chance of closing the deal.
The Top Six Sales Techniques
Whether you’re selling over the phone, email, or in person, it’s important to have working sales techniques up your sleeve. The following techniques have not only been tried, but also rely on psychological studies and consumer behaviour patterns. A Harvard study suggests that nearly 95% of your purchases are done subconsciously. That means most of your decision to buy things is vulnerable to psychological persuasion.
1. Appealing to Emotions
Have you ever wondered how it can’t be a coincidence that your name or your son’s or mother’s name is the same as the salesperson all that often? If the answer is yes, it’s probably because it’s not a coincidence. You might not notice it, but a simple remark like that or a compliment disarms your buyer skepticism. At the end of the day we all have the same emotions and we are all people before we are consumers.
How it’s Done?
The concept is to establish a personal relationship with the customer early in the conversation. This can be achieved by relating to their profession, or personal life if you have that kind of detail. Another way that works is to give them a simple compliment. Studies show that even when the recipient knows your compliment is fake it is still equally effective.
This sales technique works best in face to face interactions, but can still be used over the phone or email. In the end, there’s no harm in being a little extra nice, right?
2. Pattern Interruption
The truth is the customer is tired of hearing the same sales templates over and over again. This familiarity to conventional approaches gives them an unconscious defense mechanism. That reflex is triggered whenever the customer realizes the signs of a sales pitch, like:
“Hi, I’m Jim from Dunder Mifflin paper, and I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time?”
The customer here will probably too busy trying to end the conversation to even listen to what you have to say. However, the pattern interruption technique means to interrupt the customer’s thought pattern completely by saying something unexpected, making his defenses fail to launch. For instance:
“Hi, Jim here, did we talk earlier this week?”
Asking a question right away will confuse the customer, and direct his thoughts towards answering the question.
Interruption can be done at any moment throughout the conversation. If, for example, the customer asks a question you don’t want to answer. The rule is to interrupt with something to provoke the customer’s thoughts not the customers themselves. You don’t want to seem rude or dismissive.
3. Give Them Options
Among the many sales techniques, this one has been proven to work the most. No one likes to be forced to do anything. The mere idea that someone is giving you an ultimatum, even if you want to do it is repulsive. This is why we are more keen to entertain people that give us options. You can use this to your advantage by giving your contact a few options instead of asking closed end questions. For example:
“Would you be interested in placing any paper orders?”
As opposed to:
“Would you be interested more in our A4 paper packages or the A5 premium plan?”
Although the first actually gives the customer more options virtually, it also allows room for an easy no. However, the second approach makes the customer think which is actually better for him/her. Making them assume they are a buying customer even for a second, makes your job easier. A study on creative success suggests that having limited options actually allows you to make better choices.
4. Don’t Take Our Word for it
This is one of the most used sales techniques when you’re using a fixed message on a website or an ad. In order to use this method, you’ll need a credible reference. You can use a name that’s either known to your customer, or has a job title similar to your customer.
In the end, the thing that makes clients turned off the most is that all of this is hypothetical. Using testimonials shifts the sales call from just words in space to reality. It’s like shopping online; you can only trust the vendor so much. On the other hand, if you read a positive review you may be encouraged, especially if you trust the reviewer.
5. Three is The Magic Number!
This sales technique depends on creating a pattern in the conversation, a pattern of threes to be specific. As humans we actually like to look for patterns, even when there aren’t any. Our minds look for anything resembling consistency to counteract all the chaos surrounding us. As a salesperson, you can use this to your advantage.
Studies have shown that patterns are easier to accept, and have a sort of visual comfort. A recent study in UCLA also showed that thre is the most effective pattern in sales.
You can merge this with any of the sales techniques by dissecting your pitch into sets of threes. For example, stating three uses for your product or service, or three problems the client might have and 3 solutions.
6. Humor Them to Humor You
The main problem facing any salesperson is that the consumer immediately assumes you’re a spam bot. Can you blame them? Your spam box on your email probably has the most number of emails. The question is, how do you let the customer not flag you as spam like all the rest? The answer is in humour. Humour to humans is like the “not a robot” check box.
You can do this in many ways, like dropping a funny comment at the end, or using a pun on something you said. Just watch out not to be too cheesy or it will seem forced. Appealing to their humor not only registers you as not spam, but also give a sense of intimacy. If you can make them laugh then you must be trustworthy.
You Must Have a Strategy
There are different sales techniques that work and increase your chances of closing a deal significantly. But before applying any method you’ll need a proper sales strategy, a sort of guideline to apply these techniques. In sales there are two main strategies and choosing between them depends on what you’re selling.
A) Product Driven Strategy
As the name suggests, this strategy is focused on your product or service’s strong points. This strategy works best with novel products. It depends mainly on the fact that what you’re selling is something that solves a problem that the customer didn’t even know could be solved.
In this strategy you’ll need to do two things at the same time. Firstly, you need to create awareness on your product. At the same time, you have to apply the proper sales techniques to close the deal. This means having awareness on the product itself and how everything works.
The goal here is to introduce a wow factor, but using simple familiar words, to avoid customer skepticism.
B) Consumer Driven Strategy
This strategy is usually applied to products and services that are already familiar to the customer. Contrary to the previous strategy, you need to study the customer more closely, not the product. Who is the customer? What are their interests and problems? How do they align with what I have to offer? And most importantly who are my competitors?
When applying any of the sales techniques above, you’ll need to focus on your competitive edge. You can use numbers to show how your product or service can solve your customer’s problems better than the competition.
The goal here is to talk to the customer in terms he/she can relate to, and add value by solving a problem he/she has.
Practice Makes Perfect
Knowing all the games and sales techniques sadly isn’t enough. You need to customize them, mix and match them, and try different ones, to find what works for you best. That means no matter how well it may sound on paper, or like now on a screen, in real life it might not work. In the end, not any one method is a skeleton key. Sometimes your field may require a quick call, because the client is always busy, like in B2B sales. Other times you might need to talk in great length and detail. The only way to become the salesperson of the year, and go further in your career is to have your own method.