Everybody talks about the importance of sales, though not many are a fan of it because it is a misunderstood art. In order to understand what sales truly is, we need to arrive at its simplest definition.
So, when somebody asks you ‘what is sales?’, what is it that goes through your mind?
When you ask an audience what they think when they hear the word sales, the answers that roll out are generally negative. The words that pop out of most people range from ‘pushy’, ‘real estate’, ‘used car salesman’ and so on. In short, the word ‘sales’ is ridden with negative connotations.
All of us conveniently forget how all pervasive salesmanship is
Everyone is selling something, at almost every juncture of life. For instance, have you seen a 3-year-old in a store near the chocolate counter? The kid is going to throw a tantrum and do everything in its power to get a chocolate. Dating is no different. When you are dating you have to sell yourself to the opposite sex.
In order to understand what sales truly is, we need a proper definition. At Black Belt Business, this is how we define sales, an old but very effective definition: solving somebody’s problem by helping them purchase a solution. Yes, essentially sales is solving somebody’s problem. For instance, when a person wishes to drill a hole on the wall and he goes to the store, he isn’t just going to buy a drill but he is actually going to buy a hole!
In order to improve sales conversion rates, here are five principles of salesmanship for better sales:
A good salesperson knows how to build rapport. The question is, how much time should you spend while building rapport? It depends on how big the sale is. Obviously, you cannot spend as much time on a $10 sale than on a $1000 sale.
Building rapport requires you to strike up an easy conversation, just to get it all started. You need to bring up something that would resonate with the people you are trying to make a sale with. What this does is, it instantly lowers the defense system of the person you are talking to. For instance, you get into a nice office and say something like, “This is a really cool building” might actually get the conversation going. Do not underestimate the power of a little chit chat because people do not want to get into sales-y stuff from the word go. That appears pushy. Once you are in a particular sale situation, you would know where to make that connection and loosen the barriers. Once someone gets talking it is easier to find that common ground and identify the problem that needs a solution, so that you can offer that solution.
2. Positioning statement
This is a powerful tool in sales. It is a great idea to outline the exact details of how your meeting would to a prospective customer before you make a sale. Once you do that, the likelihood is that everyone would respond positively: “Would it? Yes, okay.” Rarely would you have somebody say, “No, I’m going to decide how this meeting goes.”
What this means is, you ask the prospective customer about her or his business, the challenges they are facing and and what they plan to do to tackle a certain situation. Once you do that you can go to the next phase: “I have a solution for this problem”. If anyone in the meeting is taking centre stage you need to wrest control by pointing out that you have just the answer for the thing that worries him or her and, finally, the trump card – tell the person that how easy it is to get started on it. This will surely get you on their side.
By using a positioning statement, a Black Belt Business client who fixes air-conditioners, increased sales conversions by 19 per cent. They would meet a customer and ask talk to them about various kinds of cooling possibilities and gave them advice on what would be right for them. After that, they would go on to say that the solution they are talking about is something very easy to get started on.
Ask questions. If you are not asking questions and are merely intent on making a sale you are unlikely to make one. Have at least ten questions ready. For instance, something as simple as fixing bathroom tiles could be done much better when questions are involved. You could ask questions like how did the older tiles break or come off and so on. It is important for the person you selling to feel that you actually care about the problem and you want to know as much about it as possible because you are a professional. It will put the customer at ease. Know as much about the problem as possible from the prospective customer.
4. How you can solve their problems
Now comes the crucial aspect. Once you have asked all the questions that would explain the problem in detail, it is time to tell them, as a professional, what solution would work best for them. Give an option that would best serve them. For instance, you could say, “We believe this solution will work for you better than the other option, considering every aspect of your needs, in the longer run.” And then you can give them a lowdown on why the option you are suggesting is the best one.
5. Ask for a sale
Eventually, it is time to ask for a sale. At worst you might get rejected. But to ensure the possibility of that being less, you should tell them what you would do to get them started on the product or service your are selling. Also, tell the prospective customer about all the possible payment options, financial plans and so on. More the choice, easier it is to get started. And yes, in case of a rejection do not be pushy. Just be polite. You could tell them that in future they could avail of a certain package deal etc. Make it as easy as possible for the customer to make a positive decision.
These principles work for all businesses, even retail. Often untrained retail staff would see a person in the store and go: “How may I help you?” That is not the right question. A trained staff would first build rapport and ask say something that might even have to with the weather. For instance: “It’s raining buckets outside. Glad you are in here.” And then take it from there.
While making a sale, you need belief. If you believe in what you are selling it would be much easier. If you are not sure of your own ground, it is sure to cave in.
Similarly, confidence follows from there. If you are not confident, you might end up getting steamrolled because nobody trusts a salesman who lacks confidence.
Most importantly, be genuine when you are trying to achieve a sale. People can see through a salesman who is not genuine very easily. It helps to actually give genuine advice, right from what solution would be good for them to the best payment option.
Sale is all about PRACTICE. Know the five steps backward and, yes, PRACTICE as much as you can and you will get better at it. Train your team on the five steps to make them better at what they do.
You could download the sale process HERE. You can also watch a VIDEO on the sales process in this page.
One of the best ways of achieving sale is to educate yourself as often as possible. That way you will stay at the top of your game and be truly dynamic. Some of the books that BBB founder Nathan McDonald recommends to understand sales better are:
• Action Selling by Duane Sparks
• Secrets of Closing The sale by Zig Ziglar
• Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwioth
• Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffery Gitomer
If you have any other questions, whether about sales or anything else related to business, email Nathan McDonald at: firstname.lastname@example.org