Why you can’t sell to anyone?
Salespeople are often coined in a negative way. Most of the general people will term is at Sales or Pushy. Because, yes. As a salesperson, our job is ultimately to sell the product or solution.
If you’d like to get past that and sell anything to anybody – stick to me till the last of this blog. You will learn actionable strategy to improve your sales – that a guarantee.
Let me tell you about my background of coming into the sales profession. I belonged to those kids who rose up by reading thriller books where all businessmen are practically villain & try to snatch any new scientific discovery from the innovator to ramp up their sales.
From childhood, the narration builds up a passive hatred for salespeople or businessman who is trying to provide any solution or product to their customers. That’s why we rely mostly on word of mouth to online reviews to get a sense of assurance that this product is a good fit without trusting direct ad from the companies who are spending billions of dollars behind their marketing.
We traditionally reject direct sales proposal pretty often as a customer and take our time to evaluate the ins and outs of the proposal.
I still work as an intersection of technology and business and let’s be honest I sell creative or tech solutions to my customers. Though I have had my fair stint of learning from experiences in the big shot companies & mentors. From knowing very little about sales from my grad days to become sales head for internet ventures.
I have created sales strategies, outlines, scripts, presentation – you name it all – to improve my personal and team performance to hit the quota. I also took the option of learning it better than hating them, since it’s not leaving me and an alternative career option was far-fetched at that time.
Well, you know what?
I loved learning sales. There’s so much into it, those true sales rock stars generally do not change their track because they continuously try to excel them in the workplace.
I tried to come up with a set of formula and structure through which you can sell almost anything to anybody if you follow and grasp them properly.
Why do sales professionals need to learn more?
Though, customers are getting their information from reviewers, word of mouth or company profiles. They also know that they can easily get a similar offer from other companies just by knocking. The real difference here is how a sales professional makes them feel about the overall experience in the sales process.
I need you to sit tight and go through all the points where I explained how it works with real-life examples. Because, no matter what your industry or organization is, these rules can help you to sell better and be more buyer-friendly.
Focus on them first
Think of a person within your friend circle, who likes to take charge of every conversation and dominates the group – at the same time, use a little bragging on his/her side.
It gets tough to tolerate them for a long time.
Similarly, when you try to share your company’s information to them just after meeting them, internally they may resist these talks. What you think is interesting and informative, they may think it’s irrelevant.
The rule is here to make it about your potential buyer. If you make a presentation, put your buyer’s logo along with yours. Use their web screenshot or company info in a relevant way, so they can understand you have done your research. During the conversation, tell what your potential buyer is doing in the industry. Not, how many units you have sold in last year.
Ask yourself, what is relevant to this prospect and change your conversation accordingly.
How do you know, what’s relevant? Check the second rule.
Research before the approach
If must spend time learning about your prospect first. I this digital age, there should be no excuses to email or call the prospect without knowing what they do and & what they care about.
If you call your buyer and ask about general information if you have already started the process of losing their attention.
Pre-research is not overwhelming. It may take 5 – 10 minute to know about your prospect’s company and their job role depending on the product or company.
Here are 8 places to research them before you start your first conversation.
Google (buyer and their company website)
LinkedIn (buyer’s job role – what’s his target/ goal and company info)
Twitter (prospect’s individual account and company’s account)
Company’s press releases page (recent news)
Competitors’ press releases pages (recent news)
Blogs & Publications
Company financial statements
Facebook – recent ad & content
Build connection first
It’s important to build a human connection first before diving into your sales offering. I took my mother to buy some furniture shop. Most of the sales rep’s asked us, what’d you want to buy today.
There’s one person, who asked my mom – how are you today and what brings you here. After having a couple of conversation, she even invited us to have iftar (breaking fast in Islamic ritual) – knowing that it’ll take some time to reach our home. She definitely did a quick research about the distance from shop to my home location or already knew about it.
If you are speaking to a person, you haven’t talked before. Ask him about the familiar stuff like his location, where he is from or if he likes sugar in the tea or not.
The final learning is, get to know your buyer before you start with your sales offering. You need to know why they should care (their family upbringing, education & food choice can give you a hint) and why you’re better than your competitor (because your solution fits with your lifestyle and need).
Talk to your buyer like a human before you speak like a salesperson.
Know your buyer profile
This is your ultimate secret weapon to know the characteristics of your target buyer.
First, define your ideal buyer profile. In that way, you will be selling to the people who are better matched with your product & solution.
It’s contradictory with the headline of the blog. To sell anything to anybody comes with, not trying to sell just anything to any person.
If you try to sell to your defined buyer you will lose less time behind poor leads and can spend more time to the prospect with a good chance of becoming your customer.
A buyer persona kit can help you to define your ideal buyer first.
Help first, sell second
Once you have created your ideal buyer profile, you know that they have similar problems that you can solve through your product. You may know about their problems. But, surprisingly, they may not know it yet.
Don’t get too excited and starts to pitch your solution right away. You will bring the risk of scaring them away. Instead, offer you help that could be valuable to them and too good to ignore.
- Create or curate content that relates to their need.
- Share industry trends along with your expertise with them.
- Send the latest news related to their product & ask their opinion about them.
- Make an introduction to a person in your network that could be important to them.
Place yourself as a trusted advisor who wants to help, not a salesperson who wants to push the product in buyers throat.
Change your motto – “Always be Closing” to “Always be Helping”.
Ask and Listen
No matter, how in-depth research you have done, you may have a gap in your knowledge about your prospect. There is always internal information within the company that you will not know – Like their internal business model, financial process or the target they actually want to achieve etc.
That’s why It’s important to ask different questions during your talk. Here are some of the question you may ask according to the Shark Tank Investor Robert Herjavec and CEO at MTD Training Sean McPheat.
How did this happen?
Can you give me an example?
Has it always been this way?
What is the most important goal for you?
Did you try similar solutions before? what went wrong?
How should this solution make you feel?
How is the issue impacting your company currently?
What are you currently doing to address the problem?
What would you like to see happen with this if everything was in your favor?
Well, you do not have to stick to a set of questionnaire. First, listen, show your genuine interest and curiosity at what they are saying.
How to listen?
Remain silent when they are talking and don’t overlap, even if you have a great opinion. After they complete their talk & internal thoughts, communicate their message back to them and ask them to verify that you really understood what they have said. That way, you will save your back by not saying something wrong. After that, you can ask more question to clarify them if it’s still not clear to you.
By careful listening, you will not just understand what they are saying. But, you will also make your prospect feel good. Most likely, they will be paying a similar level of attention when you start to talk.
Use Psychological Tricks
Our minds are set to act in similar ways when you exposed to certain information. Knowing these psychological factors can help you to get the benefit out of the situation.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Anchoring: The first received information works as an anchor that leads to the evaluation for the other data and information. If you’d like to know how marketers use anchoring as a tool. Read my other blog to use them effectively in your pricing model.
Knowledge Bias: When someone is a subject matter expert, they can’t relate it to someone who knows little about that subject.
Top-Bottom Rule: Prospects generally remember the peak point (The most interesting one) and the end of the presentation more accurately.
Decoy: Placing a third option can help your prospect to choose between two other possibilities. Place a different third solution to your buyer as a decoy rather than just two alternatives.
Rhythm: Why do advertiser use poetic word or rhythm to position their product? Because everyone can relate to it and it seems authentic than plain statements.
See more, Do more.
You can do a lot more when you are able to see more.
Avoiding Loss: We act fast when we see the possibility of losing something we have than the possibility of acquiring something we don’t have.
Acceptance Bias: No matter if the information is right or wrong, we are likely to accept the information that aligns with our beliefs.
Act on their personality
It’s great to have our own personality and showcase them in front of your prospect. But, as a salesperson, we should modify our approach according to our prospect’s personality.
Here are four personality traits that you should know to tailor your personality based on your prospect.
Amiable: Interested in innovative ideas and big-picture visions.
Expressive: Interested in people and how certain ideas influence other people.
Assertive: Interested in end-results and the bottom point.
Analytical: Interested in facts, figures, and data more than others.
Once you fall your prospect to these categories, act based on their preferences and customize your communication to what’s important to them.
Use emotion along with logic
No buyer takes decision entirely based on rationality. There is always an emotional touch to it. Just focusing on logic and rational decision-making, we may lose the final deal.
So every communication you do with your prospect, you should use the emotional attribute as well as rational decision-making. According to the Contributing Editor of INC.COM Geoffrey James, these six emotional responses impact our decision-making. They are Greed, Fear, Altruism, Envy, Pride, and Shame.
Use a reverse-test to evaluate your approach. Always remember, your prospects are also human, not just sales leads. So, stop considering them just prospects. They have their own passion and interest than their daily job. Respect their personal time. Build a real human connection with them besides the sales conversation. Always think, would you like to be approached in a way, that you are doing to other people. If not, then it’s not the perfect way of approaching someone.
Instead of just using a sales script & automated reply. Make a little modification to personalize and make it human as much as possible. Selling to anyone should be easy for you now.
I have listed a couple more tips about how to sell anything on online channels. Check them out from here.
Share your thoughts about the methods I mentioned above.