While bookstores are packed full with sales tip books, getting the best sales people to reveal the real magic ingredients of their success is often an almost impossible task. Nobody likes to give away their advantage but since, most of these are common sense and in practice every day we see no harm in making them common knowledge:
1. Use Positive Q & As
The psychology of the sale is a whole PhD topic in its own right, but one skill few customers notice but that has major impact is the use of simple questions with positive answers from the start of the sales patter. Be it in person or even in written form, if you ‘train’ your customer into answering ‘yes’ to simple, non-impacting questions, by the time you are ready to close your deal, they will find it harder to give a negative response. For example, how many times have you heard “Are you looking for anything in particular?” over your shoulder while browsing in a store? It’s part courtesy, part ice-breaker but also part psychology. In over 90% of cases of course you will be, why else would you have gone into the store. BINGO, your first interaction with the sales person is agreeing with them.
2. Time your calls
If cold-calling is part of your plan, make your calls impacting by scheduling them for the edge of the working day. If reaching a secretary is unlikely to get you the result you need, try calling at the very start of the normal working day (8am) or the end (6pm). You are much more likely to be able to speak to a decision-maker at those times, when they are unlikely to be under as much pressure. Don’t make it too early or too late though as that is likely to simply rile whoever answers at the other end. It’s a small window so use it wisely.
3. Show you care
The hard-sell is rarely the winning choice. Only other hard-nosed salesmen are likely to respond positively to that sort of approach, so make sure you treat your customers in the way they want to be looked after. Find out about them, find out what they would like before you spout on about you and your products. Build a relationship, not just a transaction and your customer will be much more loyal and willing to listen. Offering a free whitepaper or article is often a way of helping bridge this, build this into your content marketing.
4. Don’t make promises you can’t keep
It’s tempting to offer the world to close a sale but broken promises hit your credibility hard. If you promise something extra, make sure you provide it. If you promise to deliver by a certain time, make sure you beat the deadline, if there is something that may affect hitting deadline then let them know as soon as you can before, not as the deadline passes. People appreciate honesty and they remember it too and are much more likely to re-engage at a later date. If you miss your promises, the chances are you will miss all future sales and leads from that customer too. The same applied to promises that are beyond your control. If you can’t directly influence it or provide it don’t promise it, other people letting you down so you can’t keep your promise reflects on you first and foremost.
5. Over deliver when you can
Unlike over promising, over delivering is the perfect way to move towards securing a follow-up sale. If you didn’t promise to throw in a free case, or free 1 month’s support when closing the deal, offering it up now at no extra cost when the customer considers you have nothing more to gain, is great psychology to win extra business. In the world of social media it is also the perfect catalyst to encourage the customer to be positive about you in public arenas. It needn’t be free gifts either. Early delivery – providing it won’t inconvenience the customer – is also a great way to impress, but check with them first and keep to the original delivery date if they would prefer that
6. You can always be better
Even the top sales people in the world have faults. Learn to identify yours and work to improve on them. Observe colleagues and note what they do well and what you think doesn’t work. Analyse sales literature that drops on your desk every day from competitors and suppliers. Is there anything you can learn from them? Educate yourself. There are hundreds of books on sales techniques, some good some bad, but all will offer some level of education for you and stimulate your thinking about the way you work.
Being a good sales person is an art and partial science. There are many elements that combine, some beyond your control, but you need to be aware of them and how they can impact on closing your sales. These six are only for starters but are often overlooked by many new to business and even those who should know better. Give them a try and see your conversions begin to rise.