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Common Questions and Answers
As sales professionals we always get stuck in a sale — client tells us he will get back to us or call us back. Repetitive follow ups will be on the tasks list to keep client on the loop and not lose the client. Accordingly many sales gurus, sales experts, and certified sales professionals have come up with strategies or techniques that will help in closing the deal and let the push back a comeback.
So what are sales techniques or sales methods by definition? Sales technique or selling method is used by a salesperson or sales team to create revenue and help sell more effectively. The technique typically isn’t a one-size-fits all and is often refined through trial and error based on past experiences.
In this case often Sales Process and Sales Techniques causes a confusion to almost all sales professionals, however keeping it simple and straight to the point a sales process gets you from building your prospects creating opportunities, and close rates; a sales technique is the philosophy you apply to improve and increase your sales process.
With time many sales techniques have been built to make it easier on sales professionals to break their fear and close their deals. Many Techniques focus on the client, others focus on the scientific sales aspects and ratios. Any sales professional can apply one or two at a time and eventually, the best strategy is the strategy that works.
Here are some of the Sales Methods/techniques that will help you as a sales professional enhance your sales process, and take your deal to the next level every time:
1- SPIN Selling
SPIN is an acronym for 4 different sales questions designed to hook your client and create an interest and a want of the service/product you are selling. Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff.
SPIN is all based on the questions you ask your client, with the right questions, the sales process can be catalyzed and with wrong ones the process or closing the deal will be stalled. Accordingly SPIN Selling has been tested by sales experts with 35,000 sales calls and many sales professional use it as a technique to enhance their sales process and be able to close more deals.
When you want to understand your prospect and qualify their needs, situations questions are your number one resort, yes many of us do that out of the box and unconsciously.
Examples on Situational Questions:
* How do you currently manage your Sales Motivation?
* How do you keep track of what’s happening in your sales pipeline?
* How do you sustain your teams’ motivation, and focus with respect to their performance?
Information obtained from situational questions are very important for you use it later in your sales process to catalyze it and make it easier to close the deal.
Keep in mind the more information you gather about your clients the more creative your situational questions might be.
After laying the foundation with Situational Questions, now it is important to create the knowledge of your service/product to your client, or make your client aware that he has a problem, and you want to solve it for them — often known as creating the need. So many times we know that our client needs this service and many times our client overlook it. This is why problem questions are important.
Examples on Problem Questions:
* Was the amount of training you needed to motivate your team’s morale ever a problem?
* Do you find its expensive certifying your sales team, and help in their career development?
* What’s the biggest problem you’re facing so far when managing your sales team?
The focus here is on the negative impact of issues and shed light on its urgency. In other words highlight the problems clients overlooked before and let them realize that it has to be solved now rather than later.
Examples on Implication Questions:
* If your sales team didn’t get trained enough on sales techniques, how to you think this will affect their overall productivity?
* If Sales training is costly and can be done internally, what does that mean demotivated sales reps?
* If you can’t precisely see your performance, how much comeback time do you have to implement a corrective action if you expect your sales are falling short of a target?
After setting the foundation, identifying a problem, and shedding lights on the urgency to solve it, it is time to let your client visualize your product, and check for a real solution that will solve his/her problem.
The importance of Need Payoff Questions is that if done correctly, your client will be explaining your product/service and closing the deal would be effortless. Building positive emotions here is key, because sales professionals will be motivating the client to solve his/her problem and thus chose your solution.
Examples on Need-payoff Questions:
* Why is being able to have a certified sales team important to you?
* If you could outsource sales training based on an international sales approach, how would it impact team’s productivity?
* If you could increase the opportunities in your sales teams’ pipeline, how would that help you achieve your sales targets?
2- SNAP Selling
The core factors in SNAP Selling are simple, invaluable, align, and priorities. SNAP Selling is another sales technique used to catalyze and increase close rate ratios for sales professionals.
SNAP Selling aligns so much with modern sales and how to approach clients in this fiercely competitive market.
SNAP is developed by Jill Konrath, author, sales strategist and speaker (whose clients include IBM, GE, and Hilton).
SNAP selling focuses on the tactic customers make decisions: influence them positively, so in the end they feel they made the decision on their own. Keep in mind “People buy for emotional reasons and then justify with logic” Rod Hairston.
Customers make 3 decisions before they decide to work with you:
In Allow Access, Know that customers are blasted with disruptions and interruptions, and might think of sales professionals as waste of time. To receive access to their time, transfer applicable information in every touch point whether on the call or by e-mail.
Therefore, Instead of using exhortations in your communication, use more honest low-key phrases that create certainty and build client’s trust
Bad: “As a Sales Certification provider, we would like to set a meeting with you.”
Good: “We’re dedicated to help your sales team unlock their potential and your company thrive.”
Initiate change decision is when customers want to speak with you, salespeople need to demonstrate the value of the offering from all area. What’s your product/service ROI or impact on clients’ Business? How much time does it cost to train a group of 15 sales reps?
Busy professionals, and entrepreneurs are often interested in new insights, and creating certainty and breaking their old habit will need information and resourceful meanings to all related points the product/service covers.
When questioning clients, make sure you listen attentively to each and every word because you can never know when the selling point will be mentioned by him/her.
Select resources is a third decision when prospects decide which products to choose; According to this principle, one of the biggest mistakes sales professionals make is being too nice, because sales professionals eventually needs the deal closed. Therefore, focus on helping the client make the decision: be flexible and collaborative, but draw the line about what to expect and not expect from the product/service.
“Create a decision map for yourself from a buyer’s perspective that maps out the different roads that lead to a closed deal. In addition, provide them with a roadmap with an overview of characteristics and benefits that helps buyers summarize what you have to offer.” (Bosschem, 2017)
The Four Basics:
Keep it Simple: When dealing with an incredibly busy person who can only spare a small percentage of attention, complexities will just fall flat. Sales need to make it incredibly easy for prospects to change their current habits and adopt what you’re selling.
Be iNvaluable: Today a sales professional must rapidly become a trusted expert for the prospect, the better identity you build the better certainty you give your client.
Always Align: Selling today includes aligning business objections with core beliefs. It’s about making people want to work with you.
Raise Priorities: A buyer–and their company–is always going to have priorities. Any seller that’s going to succeed needs to understand and tap right into those priorities.
SNAP Selling is mostly used with busy clients, those clients who don’t have time for a long meeting, and are always on the go. Keep in mind that character in aligning your client is key to building rapport and setting your product/service as client’s priority.
Letting your client go through the disciplined imagination and visualizing that the problem is solved with easy operations will walk you through closing the deal effortlessly.
3- Challenger Sale
Challenger Sale, is when you build a relationship with your client/prospect. By definition “the Challenger Sales Model is a sales approach in which the seller actively teaches their prospect, tailors their sales process, and takes control of the customer conversation. The Challenger Sales Model believes anyone can become a Challenger if they build the right combination of skills.” (Mares, 2019)
The Challenger sale splits B2B sales professionals into 5 personas: relationship builders, hard workers, lone wolves, reactive problem solvers, and challengers.
1- Relationship Builder: the Sales Professional who gets along with everyone, generous in giving time to others to help and give advice / consultancy, has a very strong customer advocate.
2- Hard Worker: the Sales Professionals who always have an extra mile to go, thrives for feedback and is self-motivated.
3- Lone Wolves: The Independent, Self-Assured and an instinct driver Sales Professional
4- Reactive Problem Solvers: The Sales Professional who looks for details, responds reliably, and makes sure that all problems are solved
5- Challengers: The Sales Professional who has a different perception on the world, understands the customer’s business, loved to communicate, and challenges the client to move from his/her comfort zone.
After an in-depth expert assessment, challengers are by far the most successful.
Sales Professionals, as a sales professional aiming to become a Challenger adopt three-part sales model: teach-tailor-take control to help you become one:
Teach: Modern Clients are well informed, and those potential clients will need special information or a creative way to address their problem and prompt a solution. The Challenger Sale technique informs prospects on how to overcome problems or concerns differently and uncover wants they don’t know they have. In other words teaching your client is letting him “A-Ha ” or get to know what you can serve. Challengers have competitive mindset and are very attentive to let client rethink of business needs.
Tailor: Often in B2B sales we meet with more than one individual to reach an organizational decision, and because of diversification in character, departments, beliefs and concerns a Challenger should know how to personalize the communication with individuals who interfere in the organizational decision. Each individual has a unique goal, motive, need, and concern and so should the sales professional’s communication be tailored to fit the above mentioned. If looking at company’s website will give a culture glimpse, it is always healthy to go the extra mile and be prepared! Don’t you think?
Take control: Always create a controlled win-win- set the goal but nonaggressive to both the sales professional and the client. Taking control meaning talking to the decision maker in an organization or an influencer within the organization. As a challenger, when client submits a rejection, the sales professional shall shift conversation to value rather than price and ask compelling questions to trigger clients’ thoughts.
Keep in mind: “People buy for emotional reasons and then justify with logic”- Rod Hairston.
4- Sandler Sale Method
In this method, Sales Professionals are to be a reliable and trustworthy source reaching the level where the client convinces the sales professional to sell. Reaching this point, Sandler who trained sales professionals facilitate a heart to heart discussion moving beyond technical issues, and focusing on the value preposition the business will gain.
In this method, the Sales professional aims to let the client tell about the high-priority needs on the personal and organizational level. Reaching that will need a sales professional to keep in mind 3 levels of pain:
Technical: In this level, don’t think of a demo the first meeting – the sales professional has to be detailed oriented towards the technical sides, and highlight client problems on the personal and organizational level.
The Business Financial Impact: Sales professional should address the value of the service or product. When financial arguments hit the table, show that the value you are giving is 3 times your price offering. Note to mention, time is money — let your client feel that the product/service will be time efficient. Always show the value or financial implications.
Personal Interest: Keeping in mind “People buy for emotional reasons and then justify with logic” — Rod Hairston; going through a real life example — a sales manager would know that his team is demotivated because of lack of career development/ trainings or other development tools organizations usually offer to employees, thus turnover of staff increased and his leadership started to be questioned from the management – in this Case Sandler would want the Sales Professional to address the above concern in an indirect way triggering the client’s personal motive to convince the sales professional to adopt the product or service.
In short, Sandler focuses not only on the technical side of a sale, but also on the financial and the personal level.
5- Consultative or Solution Selling:
In this Method, Sales Professionals acts as an expert consultants and ask questions to determine what the client needs. The focus is on the feelings of that of the client when communicating, the goal is long-term relationship with pure intent towards the customer.
The consultative selling process focuses on 6 principles:
Research: First gather all information needed about the client before initiating the conversation to qualify the lead. If the client already uses the product/service from a competitor, sales professionals have to do their assignment to learn about their competitors and how to put themselves apart.
Ask: Always ask the right questions about the needs and pain points of that of the client. Move from general to specific. In this case the sales professional will have a big picture on how the product/service addresses client’s needs differently.
Listen: Keep in mind that the client is a human, and human feels. Therefore, Sales professionals has to be genuinely interested in the client with pure intent. We often heard of body language, tone, and words; when body language speaks 70% of our communication 23% to tonality, and the other 7% for the actual words. This also applies to us. Additionally, any information the client brings on the table is important and will help you later in the value preposition. Therefore, keep your ears open.
Teach: Help the client overcome the business challenge and reach organizational goals and vision in setting up a plan. The “Why” in this case has to be clear throughout the conversation: make sure that the win-win strategy is clear to the client.
Qualify: don’t show desperation or too much push to close the deal, keep the client on top with pure intention and professional follow up reaching a win-win.
Close: Seal the deal should be effortless to qualified prospects with the right budget and power to decide. Fierce but non aggressive in case of client’s push back – in other words dive right in highlight consequences of leaving the solution (product/service)
According to this method sale should result in one of these three things, at all times:
* Client reaches his/her goal
* Sales Professional solved client problem
* Sales Professional satisfied client need
“The solution salesman lets buyers feel successful throughout the entire buying process. The only way to do that, is to listen to them.” (Bosschem, 2017)
As a Conclusion SPIN will help sales professionals ask the right questions to uncover client needs. SNAP supports sales professionals to react to customer’s thoughts. The Challenger Sale zooms in on the mindset of that of the client — this can be used when client pushes back on the deal. Sandler Sale shows that it is important to cover all aspects from technical, financial, and personal sides on that of the client. Consultative selling is the way to building long term relationships — best for account managers and modern B2B sales.
Remember, the best strategy is that strategy that fits, and if you as a sales professional is stuck in the deal process — use the above to get inspired to close the deal! Good luck!
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