5 essential elements of a successful sale
A good salesperson is one who can sell himself before selling his products and services
Why is it that so many salespeople get in the way of people buying?
Successfully selling your products and services is not about tricks and gimmicks. Like any profession, you do need certain skills to become a true sales professional and many of these skills you can learn. The one thing that cannot be taught – is your attitude, this must come from within. A winning attitude and a willingness to help people buy is a great start.
You can learn how to sell if first and foremost you believe in yourself and your products or services.
1. Believe in yourself and what you are selling
Imagine a close family member died of lung cancer due to smoking and this had a profound effect on you. Would you then take a job working as a salesperson for a tobacco company knowing smoking can cause cancer? I would guess you wouldn’t because your preferences and values wouldn’t be aligned to the product or service you are expecting to sell.
M.W. Ainsworth, (Managing Performance at Work) talks about the different effects of wanting to perform (willing) and having the means to perform (able). He attributes 80% of success to being willing and 20% of success to being able.
If you don’t believe what’s being asked of you is acceptable (values) and you don’t like doing the activities asked of you (preferences) then it is unlikely you will succeed.
You can learn all the right sales techniques however, if you don’t believe in your product or you don’t believe that selling is an honorable profession, then selling won’t work for you.
2. Develop exceptional communication skills
There are lots of stereotypes about salespeople. Unfortunately, perception is reality therefore employers think they have to hire salespeople who have that killer instinct with the gift of the gab. Not true!
Having the gift of the gab and being able to communicate effectively are two different things. According to Albert Mehrabian, communication is not just about the words you use, in fact words only make up 7% of your communication skills.
Consider how credible a person would be if they yelled the words “I am not angry” while going red in the face and jumping up and down. You would know in spite of what they were saying, they were in fact very angry simply because of the tone in their voice and their body language.
Albert Mehrabian, currently Professor Emeritus at UCLA, developed a communication model in which he demonstrated that only 7% of what we communicate consists of the literal content of the message, your words. Your tone and volume makes up 38% and body language 55% of your communication skills.
You only have a few seconds to create a first impression. How you come across to a new prospect is more important than the actual words you use.
In the mind of some prospects, they may be thinking, “I hate salespeople, all they do is swindle people with their fast talking techniques” or “I don’t trust this person and I don’t care how much I want their product I am not buying from them!” Therefore, it is very important to build trust and rapport with a sales prospect as quickly as possible.
3. Build an ongoing trusting relationship
All selling today is based on the ability to build ongoing relationships with your prospects. You also need to keep that relationship going long after the prospect becomes a customer. All of that comes down to them having trust and confidence in you.
If a prospect doesn’t trust you, it’s hardly likely they will buy from you. Even after they have bought from you, there is still an element of trust involved. If you don’t deliver on your promises after the sale, the customer will immediately lose trust and confidence and not buy from you again. The fastest way to build trust is to build rapport quickly with a prospect. They need to know that you are interested in helping them buy – not trying to sell them something they may not want or need.
If all you are doing is pushing your products and launch into a sales pitch too quickly, the prospect will just as quickly lose interest in what you have to say. They will immediately feel that you are not interested in them, you are more interested in making a sale.
People don’t like being sold to – they do like to buy which is where your skills as a salesperson become hugely important.
4. Uncover their dominant buying motive
You don’t always meet the buyer at the beginning of their buying cycle, sometimes you meet them at the end. Your skill as a salesperson is to uncover exactly where the prospect is in the buying cycle and meet them where they are. Then you are in a position to guide them through the buying and selling process.
Buying behavior is always triggered by a need. A need can also be described as a deficiency felt by the buyer. Needs can be physical, for instance the need for shelter, food and water. In business, a need could be in the form of a problem or opportunity.
A need can also be psychological like the need to feel good about yourself. People don’t buy insurance for instance, they are really buying peace of mind. Women don’t buy cosmetics; they are buying that feel good factor.
Whatever the need is, that becomes their dominant buying motive. The way to uncover a buyers need is to ask questions and listen attentively to the answers.
5. Create the tension factor
If a buyer is not aware they have a need, they have no tension to make a buying decision. Let’s face it, if you have the latest phone and you are happy with it, all the sales techniques in the world won’t get you to buy another phone. You don’t have a need.
A need is triggered by symptoms. When you are cold you start shivering (symptom) so you have a ‘need’ to warm up. When you are hot you start sweating (symptom) so you have a ‘need’ to cool down. A flashing red light behind you triggers a need to slow down. A broken washing machine triggers a need to buy a new one. A budget deficit triggers a need to grow profitable sales. Needs may be in the form of problems (pain) or potential opportunities (pleasure).
However, its only when needs intensify to the point where the pain of a problem becomes so great the buyer is motivated to make the problem go away. Alternatively, when a buyers need to receive a reward becomes so intense they will look to pursue an opportunity.
As the pain of a problem or the potential rewards of an opportunity intensifies, this creates an internal state of imbalance. The greater the imbalance, the greater the disturbance, the greater the motivation is to take away the pain of a problem or realize the rewards presented by an opportunity.
- What drives human behavior? Tension
- What creates tension? Needs
- What causes the buyer to take action? Deprivation
Without tension, the buyer will simply remain in their comfort zone and not make a buying decision.
It is only after you have covered these five steps you are in a position to sell your products or services. If you don’t cover these steps, your chances of making a sale will be considerably less.
On a final note
When you believe in yourself, learn how to communicate well, you will uncover a buyer’s real needs and create the tension factor leading to a sale.
In a Nutshell
- Believe in yourself
- Believe in your products and services
- Develop exceptional communication skills
- Build ongoing trusting relationships
- Uncover the buyers dominant buying motive
- Create the tension factor