Today there are more types of sales styles and techniques than you can shake a stick at. So how do you know what works and what doesn't? It really boils down to what works for you and what works for your product. Think about your target market and their perceptions about your product type. Do they know they need it and simply have to choose from the various brands on the market? Or, do they have no idea how much the product would help them be more productive? Do they even know about your product? Will the sales call be an education for them - or you?
Think through these things before determining what methods might work for your product or service. It goes without saying that a sales method that works for office supplies won't work for management consulting services. Although they are both targeting a similar market, the knowledge and understanding of your prospects will be much different. They have to be educated about how much they can benefit from consulting services, whereas, they already know they have to have binders to put their reports in, or paper for their copiers.
So, even though there are many sales methods, the choices are narrowed as you think about your market and what their needs are, as well as what their expectations may be.
With that said, let's just go over some things that are beneficial in almost any market. These tips are basic guidelines that most any sales person can benefit from.
- Listen to the emotional side of your prospect or client: Emotions are tied into almost everything we do even if we don't realize it. Your client may mention off-hand that they are really stressed-out about a particular project they are working on (even if it doesn't relate to what you're selling them). Make a note of this and see if there is anything you can do to assist them. You may have another client who had a similar dilemma and found a good solution. Make those connections and help where ever you can. You'll be rewarded with loyalty from all of your clients.
- Focus on your prospect or client's needs: We've talked about it before, but it's worth mentioning again. You may be tempted to sell your client your top-of-the-line model gadget when they really only need the mid-line model. By selling them more than they need, you may be cutting off future relations with them. Once they realize (and they will eventually) that they don't need most of what you sold them, they'll feel bitter and resentful toward you for wasting their money and not looking out for their best interest. They'll see you as a "salesperson" and not as a resource.
- Use language that focuses on your prospect or client: Simply changing the way you speak may also make a difference in how you are received by your prospect. Using "you" and "yours," or "you'll find..." rather than "I think" or "Let me tell you about," brings your message a little closer to home and may grab their attention more quickly.
- Help your prospect see the bottom line: If you know your product can help clients save money, or increase profitability, then make sure they understand that. Your product may have an edge in that it includes features that save time. Time is money as the saying goes, and if you can save time your can often sell your product.
- Find out your prospect's priorities: You can save yourself a lot of wasted time and effort by simply knowing how important your product and its benefits are to your prospect. If you've listened to them and determined the need, but still aren't getting anywhere, find out if there are other elements of their business that are taking priority and pushing your sale aside. If you know they have to implement a program before they can spend time considering (or funds purchasing) your product then you can schedule a call back at a later date that may stand a better chance of getting some attention. To do this you have to ask the questions because the information is not always volunteered. (Again, the key is focusing on the needs of your prospect, and having an open relationship already in place.)
Read on for even more sales tips and techniques.