One of the inevitable truths in this world is that everyone, at some point in their life, will need to become a salesperson if they wish to be successful. There is simply no way around it.
You may be asking yourself, “Austin! What does that mean? I’m not a salesperson, I’m a marketer (financier, operations specialist, etc.)” Well, I say, you first had to be a salesperson.
Consider this, without the skill of selling in some way or another, you would never have gotten your job in the first place. You HAD to sell yourself and your abilities to convince the hiring managers of the benefit they would receive by hiring you.
The point is, you were a salesperson far before you worked for any company. Now, even if you are an entrepreneur, and don’t work for anybody else, I probably don’t even have to tell you how important sales are! You already know.
The most successful entrepreneurs are those that can sell, not only their services or products, but also themselves. This is because networking and team-building are greatly important to the effectiveness and longevity of your business, and without building trust by selling others on your ability to succeed, you’ll find it difficult to manage these things.
Therefore, today we are going to dive into some of the best selling tips on the market! (See what I did there!)
Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll have a better understanding of the way sales have transformed over time and how you can become a better salesperson with some simple points to keep in mind!
Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Tip #1: Ask More, Speak Less
Generally, this is a point that can help you throughout life as opposed to your salesmanship alone. However, asking more and speaking less has to do with your ability to qualify your prospects before you make a sale.
Consider this, your prospects’ time is valuable! YOUR time is ALSO valuable. You wouldn’t want to waste both at once, would you?
Here is the reason that asking more and speaking less is amazingly effective for your sales efforts. Most beginning salespeople just try to make the sale without first considering whether the prospect can actually benefit from the products or services provided!
What occurs after the sale is made? You inevitably have a prospect or client who is unhappy with you and your offer because you never took the time to consider the true ability you had to provide value to this person. This will end in negative publicity, bad reviews, and more.
Asking qualifying questions is the salesperson’s way of determining if you can help your prospect. If you can’t, you no longer need to push for the sale. Not to mention that salespeople that willingly turn down sales are valued and trusted much more highly by prospects and customers. This is because you disprove the trope that all salespeople are pushy and only want your money.
In all, salespeople that become successful and can advocate well for their brand are those that sell, NOT because they want revenue, but because they can provide value to the marketplace. This will make the difference between a pushy salesperson, and a helpful and trustworthy one.
Therefore, as you sell, be sure to ask qualifying questions and clarify the true needs of your prospects. If you can provide value to them, you are clear to make an offer! If not, then kindly explain your position and garner trust by clarifying that you don’t think you are a good fit.
This is a win-win scenario, and clients/customers will likely refer you to others who genuinely could use your products or services because you have developed trust.
Tip #2: Think Of The Customers Desires
When you sell, the hardest thing to keep in mind is that the sale is about the customer and not about you. You want to make your value clear, yet you also need to be sure that you can communicate that value through the lens of your customers’ personal desires.
After all, in philosophy and psychology, we can argue that ALL desires are personally motivated. A person who takes action will take action because they are motivated by their own internal environment, or want to relieve the pressure from their external environment. All of which is tethered to their personal psychological safety and habit of optimization.
For example, this goes along with selling benefits, and not features. A feature is what the product does, a benefit is how the consumers’ lives are better after utilizing the product.
The classic example of this is Steve Jobs and his iPod. In a world where most MP3 players were being advertised in the technical sense, Steve Jobs marketed the iPod in the beneficial sense.
For example, other MP3 manufacturers marketed their products as having “1 Gigabyte of memory.” But nobody knew, or cared, what this really meant for them. Steve Jobs took the feature and transformed it into a benefit. He asked, “what does 1 gigabyte of memory mean for my consumers?”
Here’s what he came up with: Steve Jobs marketed the iPod as “1,000 songs you can fit into your pocket.” The iPod became an instant dominator in the market place and took the world by storm.
This is the power of selling benefits and not features, and more specifically, targeting your offer by form-fitting it to your consumer’s desires.
You can start doing this by avoiding the question of “What does the product do/have?” and instead, implementing the question of “what does this mean for the livelihood of customers?”
This way, you can focus on benefits and not features, and become a far more effective salesperson as you do so.
Tip #3: The Soft Sell Is IN!
Long gone are the days of the traditional “hard-sell.” That is, selling the first time you meet or interact with somebody. Nowadays, this style of selling is considered cheap, desperate, and generally unwarranted.
The SOFT-SELL is in. Soft-selling is where you form a relationship by providing trace amounts of value BEFORE you begin to make your offer known. Soft-selling is often tied to pull marketing efforts.
For example, at the end of most of my youtube videos, I implement a small CTA (call to action) so that anybody who found the video valuable and needed help could contact me. There is little pressure, the value is already provided, and they are ensured of my credibility and knowledge.
Soft-selling can be done in multiple ways, but the largest consideration you need to be a successful soft-seller is how you can begin to develop a relationship of trust.
Trust means more in business than anything else. In fact, Stephen Covey, renowned author of The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People and The Speed of Trust, states that trust is above all other things in any business environment.
The reason the soft-sell is far more effective is for a few reasons. First of all, let’s consider the competition and saturation of almost every product or service in the marketplace.
It’s not hard at all, especially due to the internet, to research and find solutions to your problems as well as people to provide them. This is why hard-selling without forming a relationship is seen as desperate and pushy. In the end, a customer will just look up the solution when he needs it and find the best offer. This is because they don’t have a reason to trust you.
Establishing trust and rapport, on the other hand, puts you ahead of the pack. The best way to do this is to provide value without any expectation of return.
This can be hard to do, and time-consuming as well, however, this will immediately prove to your consumer that you can provide excellent value, you’ve established trust and rapport, and your experience and knowledge are noticed.
Don’t solve their problem, but give them some knowledge on how to do so, this way, when they do need help, they go to you and not your competitors.
Tip #4: Go Where The Power Is
This is HUGE. DON’T sell to somebody who can’t make the buying decision! When toy manufacturers are selling toys, they usually don’t target the children who will use them, they target the ADULTS who can PAY for them.
The reason this is so important is because it will immediately shift your perspective on the value proposition that you face to consumers. Those toys provide value to adults because it consumes the time and attention of the child, allowing them to relax, do some work, or otherwise take some time off.
Yes, of course the child will enjoy it too, but the child is not the one that can make the buying decision. Keep this in mind when you pitch to prospects or when you contact an organization for a soft-sell.
You want to be dealing with the direct person who can hire you, the reason this is important is because you want to relate the value you provide to the desires they have, and everyone’s desires are different.
Often times in sales there is what you call a “gate” or “gateway person.” This person is somebody who is not making the buying decision yet filters the value you can provide on behalf of the company’s perspective.
Ultimately, you want to prove you can provide value to the company (if you can) and get past the gate in order to talk directly with the buyer. Then you relay your value to their betterment.
After all, it’s debilitating and a waste of time to try and target people that can’t find value in what you are offering, which if often why quality is far better than quantity.
For example, my youtube channel would be more beneficial for everybody if I had just a few RELEVANT subscribers instead of many irrelevant ones. That makes a huge difference, and that is why niching is so important.
Tip #5: Handle Rejection
As every salesperson knows, rejection is entirely common and often expected. Rejection will happen whether or not you create the best presentation, provide the most value, are the most competitive, or anything else.
Occasionally, a person’s own internal perspective simply inhibits them from making the decision to purchase your products or services. Don’t become discouraged, this happens to EVERYONE at some point.
Ever be rejected from that school you wanted to get into? Ever be rejected by a job interview or online application? Whatever it is, rejection can sting, that is if you take it personally.
I wrote an entire article on how to deal with professional rejection. You can find it HERE. Ultimately, You need to:
1. Accept rejection with grace.
2. Give yourself time to gather your thoughts.
3. Identify what went wrong (and right).
4. Identify what is (and is not) within your control.
5. Fix what you can and forget the rest.
6. Identify the hidden benefit.
7. And accept that rejection happens to everybody.
Rejection is not the end of the world, and occasionally, people are simply predisposed to reject others despite having the value presented to them. The best that you can do is to learn and improve anyway that you can and to try again.
Sales is not an easy industry to be in. And most people are predisposed to dislike sales merely do to the possibility of rejection. However, if you can get past that hurdle, and keep the consumer in mind at all times, you will be so far ahead of the other salespeople that merely focus on what the consumer can do for THEM and not what THEY can do for the consumer.
Ultimately, rejection is natural and not personal when it comes to sales, accept it and try to make your value known to the right person!
I hope I’ve been able to help you learn more about sales and what being a good salesperson means in today’s day and age! Grab ahold of these tips and run with them to become a more effective salesperson today!
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life.