No matter whether it’s the classic Pac-Man or a mind-boggling Sudoku puzzle, there is a technique to win in every game. The same goes for sales. There are certain techniques that can help one achieve unreachable targets. With this list of top sales techniques, you’re all set to turn those impossible targets into reality.
1. Internal Evaluation
The top mistake that most sales teams make is jumping straight to selling services and products. Making profit. Little do these teams know, understanding your teammates and company from the inside out goes a long way. Without the fundamentals of a proper sales structure, and how your team works, you may encounter many difficulties in the sales process. In order to avoid such mistakes, here are three questions to assess your team’s dynamics and progress – What are the methods to monitor sales results? Has your team been hitting the sales target? How is your sales compensation system like?
a) What are the methods used to monitor sales results?
The very first step is to understand your own sales results. The crux of this understanding lies not in values and numbers but a consistent variable to measure results. This variable will be used throughout a long period of time in cohesion with the company’s goals. Besides the usual KPI, a constant variable can be calculated using distinct formulas such as the percentage of revenue, close ratio or productivity level.
These statistics are important as it will provide valuable insight for the following your team’s performance as well as identifying key areas where some extra help could come in handy for your company/product.
Having a consistent measurement also ensures to aid your sales team to compare and contrast sales results currently and results from months or years ago. It also helps the team to focus on a clear goal.
For example, your company is trying to drive up sales from new customers. One way to go about doing this is by using the number of sales closed. With the help of a supportive compensation plan, your sales team will be driven towards closing sales from new customers. With the fundamentals of identification covered, a sales dashboard can be very helpful in managing them. It aids your team in measuring and tracking sales results, as well as giving them a specific direction to aim for.
b) Has your team been hitting the sales target?
If the answer is no, the reason is because your team has not identified their ultimate goal. Here’s an example: Say you want an A for that test. In order to do that, you need to achieve a goal like 80 marks an above to get the grade. However, to reach that goal, you need to make a plan to study consistently every day before the exam – likewise with sales.
A goal is the primary result you and your team wants to achieve.
The plan or objectives are the measurable strategies used to achieve this ultimate goal.
Fitzhugh Dodson once said, “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”
Without a specific goal and plan, your team will be heading aimlessly into the abyss of the corporate world. Discuss and ensure the team’s goal is aligned and then once this is established, make a plan to achieve that goal.
Having a target set, be it for individuals or a team, helps to give a gauge of the progress made. Using details such as the difference between target and actual sales will provide a better differentiation between salesmen.
With your newly found information, you are now able to strategize your other sales techniques better.
Forming sub-teams is an alternative to this problem. Pairing the lowest performing members with the best performers can motivate them to do better while giving your top salesmen a chance to mentor and lead others.
c) How is your sales compensation system like? Does it promote the right attitude at work?
Different cultures in companies may affect what kind of benefit staff are motivated by. To do so, company must know their staff and how they work. For example, Company X motivates their employees through compliments and acknowledgement vs Company Y that motivates their staff by providing bonuses/promotions.
The truth is, people are motivated by benefits presented to them. However, knowing what type of benefit motivates them is another story. For some, a compensation plan can help. Be it team dinners or commissions, it has to be attractive enough to propel your team towards self-driven sales.
Besides keeping them hungry for sales, it is also a good way to keep aligned with the company’s goals as mentioned before. For other companies, they maybe be motivated differently.
2. Value Parity V.S. Value Wedge
Value parity is that overlapping space where you realize that your business holds similarities with others in the same industry. Putting yourself in that tier makes your product a dime in a dozen. Why should customers buy your product when it’s the same like every other product out in the market?
On the other hand, value wedge is something that differentiates you from your competitors. Something that makes your product/company stand out from the crowd.
Thus, it’s natural to focus on your value wedge. This difference between you and your competitors acts as an advantage. But how do you know what your value wedge is?
First of all, your value wedge has to be unique. It has to be something which only you will have or be able to provide. Aside from that, it has to be important to the customer. It doesn’t make sense to have a value wedge without a unique selling point or something your prospects could care less about.
Second of all, your value wedge has to be defensible. When customers start questioning the different options available, those who fail to justify their uniqueness will always be at the losing end. For instance, most companies in the interior design industry are able to provide similar services. If you are the owner of an interior design company which can provide services at a lower cost, try tapping into this selling point as your value wedge and prospects will be keener to choose you over your competitors.
Being able to differentiate yourself through a value wedge will help you in narrowing down the unique strengths that you can use in encouraging prospects to choose your product amongst the many in the market.
3. Be An Effective Listener
Being an effective listener is always harder than it seems to be. When we jump straight into getting the prospect to understand our value wedge, we tend to get ahead of ourselves and miss out important details about the prospect.
The moment someone thinks you’re not listening, you’ve lost them. Besides the importance of being heard by you, an effective listener has to sieve out information from your prospect. Through the different cues given, you will be able to craft your pitch better. These hidden clues such as how they’re feeling or thinking can only be spotted by listening.
Being an effective listener will generally help you in bringing about a positive impression to your prospects while gathering hints from them regarding their business. When they know you’re listening, they usually go one step further telling you more about them.
So what is active listening? Active Listening is fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. It involves listening with all senses.
Another way to demonstrate active listening is through questions. It is the easiest and fastest way to get quality answers from your prospect. The most important part of this interaction process is to learn more about their pain points and help them solve it. It provides better insights on the issues and how you are able to play a part in it.
Observing Body Language is also another form of active listening. By observing their body language, one can understand how they feel and think as well. One example is mirroring. If you catch your prospects mirroring your actions, it can be deduced that they are comfortable with you and keen to know more. However, if their feet are facing in an outward fashion, they might be indicating that they are feeling uncomfortable.
Provide a summary
After gathering information from your prospect through listening and questioning, you may want to do a summary in your own words of the things covered. During this process, you will be able to clarify any doubts or misconceptions while aligning both visions. Doing so will bring you across as someone who is attentive to details and willing to take time to understand the pains of their business.
4. Build sustainable long-term business relationships with clients
No one likes to be sold to – buyers prefer to be guided to make their own decision. As a salesperson, you’re meant to facilitate the sales process, not dominate it. With the constant need to meet targets within tight time frames, many sales professionals struggle to empathise with their clients.
To overcome this, sales professionals need to understand that the only way to build sustainable long-term business relationships with their clients is for them to first buy you as a person. Only then, will they be willing to buy what you sell. One of the best ways for your prospects to buy into you is empathy. This is the sales professional’s’ ability to understand a given pain, situation or challenge from the prospect‘s point of view and provide on point solutions and responses that build trust.
There are many ways to exercise empathy in the sales process with your prospects, which can range from body language to verbal expressions. One other way a sales professional can exercise empathy is to understand the D.I.S.C personality model which provides a very simple but effective understanding of the 4 main personality traits and how people with different traits like to deal with people, challenges, and tasks. Understanding this allows the sales professional to prepare their appointments and information in a way that their prospects’ will be receptive to.
5. Crafting scripts to counter commonly faced objections
Rejection should not be a foreign word to salespeople. You may be wondering how you should deal with it or maybe how can you turn those objections into yes-es.
This is when you will identify the common reasons for rejections. Gather your team, list them down and start brainstorming for solutions. Some things which should be covered during this process include:
a) The cause of rejection (eg. too pricey, do not need the service now)
b) What are some problems they face?
c) How can we turn that around?
Here is an example of using this sales technique:
The cause of rejection?
Limited budget set aside for the service.
How can we turn that around?
One way to counter this is to offer an installment plan or to provide reasons for the high price. You can justify the price by showing how it includes premium services or service customization, and mention that the customer is paying more for something that is of better quality and tailored towards their needs.
This may be a very tedious process which could take up to a few days to complete. However, through this, you have formulated the ultimate cheat sheet for your sales team. With the script in your hands, you and your team will be much more prepared for any common objection and be better equipped to tackle these difficulties.
For a more comprehensive guide on how to tackle rejections, you might want to cover the different approaches towards different personality types as well.
According to a research done, 80% of sales requires at least 5 follow-ups. This shows the importance of building a continuous relationship when it comes to sales. You may receive empty replies or rejections, but it is always good to continue working on building rapport with your prospects.
The beauty of follow-ups is the personalized customer service each prospect receives, which makes them feel important and valuable to the company. Even if you receive an initial ‘no’, doing follow-ups provides you with leverage over your competitors as the prospect is likely to think of you first when future opportunities arise.
Follow-up methodologies in the sales process vary from one industry to another. Suffice to say, it’s important for sales professionals as it allows them to keep in constant contact with the prospect in hopes that somewhere along the way, the prospect will convert into a client. Many times, longer sales cycles are due to industry-specific trends and not particularly affected by the quality of the salesperson. In these cases, following up religiously is a salesperson’s best bet for securing a sale.
One challenge many sales professionals face is asking for a follow-up. Studies show that the chances of closing significantly increases during the 5-8th appointment. The only way you can have that many appointments is if the prospect wants to meet you and for him to meet you, you need to have something new to offer or give every single time. Hence be sure not to “reveal” everything that you have or know in the first meeting, this will give you an opportunity to schedule another appointment with the prospect.
Having this in mind, here are some age-old principles that you can use to evaluate the quality of your follow-up so that you eventually get the opportunity to convert your prospects to clients.
a) Be consistent – Ask for permission to follow-up, determine the frequency and do that consistently unless the client requests an earlier response.
b) Value – Each follow-up should be different and progressive from the one before. It should respond to a NEED or WANT
c) Consolidate – After every follow-up meeting, consolidate what was discussed and indicate next steps
So here you have it, the top sales techniques right at your fingertips. Remember to keep on practicing and perfect those persuasive techniques of yours.
- Internal Evaluation
- Value Parity VS Value Wedge
- Be an Active Listener
- Crafting scripts to counter commonly faced objections
Leave a comment below if it worked for you!