The secret to success in sales lies in creating value for your customer. Like any career or game one must learn the rules if they want to improve their performance.
Skill, training, practice, and a mindset that's focused on the end result all are important to achieving success in a sales career.
- When a customer sees the value in what you're selling they'll buy. Some sales cycles are complicated and long. Some sales cycles are short. The one call close can apply to setting an appointment, or a purchase transaction. In recruiting obtaining a search assignment typically is a one call close. The exception is when dealing with a bureaucracy. Don't waste time trying to sell to someone who does not have the authority to buy.
- Qualify potential customers with simple questions. In recruiting if I'm not talking with the owner, or a CEO I always ask, "Who besides yourself needs to approve my fee before I begin?" This prevents me from spending time on a search for someone who wishes to appear more significant to the hiring process than is true.
- Sales conversations that convert to sales follow a step-by-step process although seldom does the process follow a standard straight line. The creativity and strategy needed by alert sales people is what makes the difference in their closing ratio. Make sure you understand all the steps in your sales process.
- Develop dozens of questions that will help you better understand your customer and what your customer cares about. Create and practice benefit statements that address what matters to your customer. All potential buyers want to know: WIIFM? (What's in it for me?) The more a salesperson tunes into the most important qualities from the buyer's perspective the more likely they are to make a sale.
- When a customer asks any question, that's a buying signal. The best way to handle questions and continue to manage the sales process is to answer the question concisely and immediately follow up with a new question. This action keeps you, the sales professional, in control. Look for thought process completion. Adapt your questions to uncover the train of thought of the prospect. When prospects are engaged in conversation and expressing their opinions and desires listen closely.
- A prospect who shares their thoughts wants to be heard. If you listen closely, prospects will tell you exactly how your sales call should proceed. They'll tell you their needs and what has to be in place in order for them to make a decision. If someone wants a red car that costs $12k and you have a blue car for $10k and a red car for $15k don't show him or her any car until you ask more questions. Do they care more about price or color? Each answer provides crucial information that moves the sale closer to a transaction.
- We want what they want. Give prospects what they want to buy and focus on benefits that reinforce their decision to make a purchase. When it's time to close, ask for the sale.
Studies show successful sales people often ask for the sale over six times before the transaction is complete. Closing is part of your job so look at every differentiating question as a mini-close.
- Prepare to sell your service or product by understanding your ideal customer. While prospects have many common characteristics, don't make the mistake of assuming they're all the same.