5 essential sales techniques that we must all master
When I tell people that I work in sales, I see their smiles falter momentarily, thinking “Alright, what is this guy trying to sell me?”
Sadly, to many, the word “selling” implies manipulating, pressuring, haggling- not unlike the snarky and slick salesman stereotypes portrayed in television shows and in movies. I aim to deflate that stereotype and exonerate that slick-haired salesman that we all have grown to love to hate.
For a moment, join me in redefining what it means to sell.
When simply put, “selling” someone a product or an idea is essentially explaining to a potential client the rationale and benefits of said product or idea. Now, this could be anything – a business proposition with a potential partner, a pitch to your boss of why you deserve a promotion, or even a negotiation with your toddler about why plastic toy figurines simply do not belong in the radiator. The bottom line is we are all in sales, regardless of what our actual job description reads.
Knowing how to make a good sale is, at its core, knowing how to communicate efficiently, effectively and productively. And we can all agree, communication skills are critical to everyone. After all, we are all selling something.
Here are five basic sales skills that I believe are instrumental to increasing one’s success both professionally and personally.
1. Asking qualifying questions
Customer discovery is essential. Ask questions. Get to know the needs of your buyers. The more information you gather about your prospect, the more you will know if your product fit is right for them and the easier it will be for them to make a suitable, well-informed decision. If you do not ask the right qualifying questions, you’ll never know your customer needs and you won’t be able to help them adequately.
2. Listening carefully
You just asked a myriad of well thought out and on point questions. Great. Now be prepared to LISTEN to the answers. Never forget the ratio of two ears to one mouth. Listen more, talk less. It’s important that, as you listen, you internalize what is being said by keeping an open mind and possibly discovering new ways you can make a connection.
3. Developing a connection
People usually want to do business with people they like. To develop a connection, one must listen to the details. Pay attention to the small stuff (like birthdays, hobbies, interests etc). Be mindful of their interests and use this information to make a connection. Always try to build a lifelong relationship.
4. Telling a story
Everyone loves a good story. Using anecdotes, whether personal or otherwise, helps make your sales pitch not only an entertaining one, but a memorable one too. Stories that provoke an emotional response of any kind tend to stay with people. In order for a client to accept your sale, they have to remember you.
5. Presenting a solution
So we’ve learned some information on our prospect, listened intently, developed a bond; now we go in for the close. Be clear, concise and on point as to why your solution should be considered. Always present yourself as the key to helping the customer succeed.
As the Director of Business Development at Payoneer, this is my approach to all of our customers. Your success is my success – if I can help you figure out how to answer a problem, then I can create a long-lasting, mutually-beneficial relationship. My clients, themselves, are also sales people; you are business leaders, merchants, freelancers, entrepreneurs. You understand and value a personalized sales process that centers on how we can help each other grow.
When you focus on benefits and solutions, and when you can address an unmet need of your customer, you’re sure to see your business succeed.