The list of sales techniques are endless! Depending on your goals for your product or service, there is likely a variety of options that will work for you. Generally, the “trial and error” method is how you will find what works best for you. It also never hurts to do the extra research, then chop and choose as you go along.
If you’re not already using one, having a Sales Enablement software will help you with this process, as it becomes a Sales hub for you to log your successes (and failures) as well as being able to track how your clients are interacting with sent material. In this way, you’ll receive insights that can help you decide what works and what doesn’t.
Below are 15 sales techniques to help you plan out your methodology. Be sure to make note of what makes sense, and then log your experience into your Sales software.
1. Always talk about the customer first
Most Salespeople will jump straight in with the pitch: This is our product, this is how it’s great, and this is why you should buy it. But this technique has a short lifetime value, as it’s been proven that value-based selling is among the strongest methods to close sales and retain customers.
This methodology will see you starting with a needs discovery, and starting by discussing the customer, their needs, and their pain points, before you begin to discuss the ways in which your product can solve these issues.
2. Ditch ROI if you can’t make it customer specific
General ROIs have the opposite effect than intended. The customer will not be able to see the value to their problem specifically, and general statistics neither mean nor prove anything to them about how your product can help them in their personal scenario. If you do choose to use an ROI calculation, make sure it uses the specific customer’s numbers. Otherwise, skip it.
3. Talk price AFTER value
Just as in point number one, don’t launch into prices before the customer is interested. Make sure you sell them on value, because if they’re hooked in seeing that your solution is the answer to their problem, then price will become a secondary concern.
If the customer asks about price themselves, always take it back one level and say, “I’m more than happy to talk about prices, but in order to present the best value I need to understand you first.” At which point, go back to needs discovery phase. This is not only more effective, but helps in making the customer feel seen, and therefore being able to place more trust into your intentions.
4. The customer is not interested in hearing about you
Most Sales Reps believe that talking about their own qualifications, or facts about the company, or even about the product in relation to its growth. This is not true, and in fact this information can turn the customer off right from the start of the meeting.
Customers want to hear about themselves. They want to hear that you have done your research about them, so that when you discover their problem and offer your product as a solution, they are inclined to believe you. After all, you know about them and what they are struggling with. The company history is of little importance, and time is money.
5. Learn competitor’s strength and use it
You need to know exactly what your competitors can do, but make sure to never ever talk badly about a competitor. It’s quite simply a bad look. Be honest about their strengths are, but also about where you are strongest.
A controversial method that few are willing to do: if you end up in a situation where it’s clear the customer is not a good fit for you and they begin to talk about the competitors, don’t be afraid of telling them you’re not a good fit, and that you believe they will get a better fit to their needs by going with the competition. If you’re not afraid of telling them this, it shows that you are really secure in what your’re offering.
In these cases, you’re saving yourself time by avoiding a likely churn, and it might even be that the customer comes back in a year or two when they’ve discovered that their needs or something else have changed. They will remember your confidence and honesty, and be more likely to choose what has stuck in their mind if it becomes relevant to their progress.
6. Always ask “does this make sense” and “would this be valuable?”
You should make sure that you continuously ask questions throughout the meeting to keep the customer engaged, but try to find questions that will always have a “yes” answer. Psychologically, this will help them to get hooked. For example, asking them “Is this something you struggle with?” when you already know that it is, makes the customer feel heard and understood. They will be more likely to keep listening, if you keep them with you through this method of discourse.
7. Show Personality
Don’t be afraid to smile. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t be afraid to be interested – genuinely – in the customer. Every sale is human to human, and most of the time people don’t buy products or services, they buy people. If the person they’re buying from is honest, authentic and genuine, the buyer is much more likely to listen and actually consider what’s being said.
8. There is no such thing as B2B or B2C in sales
It’s H2H, human to human. Following on from the previous step, humans will always buy from a human who is trustworthy. Although you always need to come back with data that will impress the board, the board is still composed of humans.
Appeal to their personal struggles. Each and every one has a goal for why they would potentially want to buy your product or service, so tap into their needs, their pain points, and their logic, and work from there.
9. Do your homework
Prepare for talking to a new customer for the first time. Look them up, check them out on LinkedIn, and read through their website or any other material you can find on them. It’s important to learn who the customer is and why they’re in the meeting with you.
10. Send an agenda before the sales meeting
You should always set clear expectations. Never let the customer feel as though they’re walking into the dark by having agreed to meet you. If you’re able to create a clear agenda which includes talking points on exactly how the customer can benefit from the meeting, they will walk in with both confidence and purpose.
Equally, make sure you meet them there: They know what you’re going to talk about, you know what you’re going to talk about, and this is a meeting between two people who can mutually benefit from it. Make sure that you and the customer match in energy and expectation, and you will be setting yourself up for a strong start.
11. Maintain momentum
If relevant, ask the customer to prepare something for the meeting. Just as with the previous step, this will help add onto their feeling of confidence and control for when they enter the meeting room, as well as creating engagement with them before you’ve even met.
12. Start the sales meeting with an agenda
If you sent the agenda, you’re going to continue the strong setup by making sure the sales meeting gets off to a good start and starting with a set list of talking points. You’ll show the customer you are as prepared and organized as you showed with your initial talk and the agenda, and the customer will continue to feel supported by you through the entire meeting.
Make sure you always talk about what you will achieve on each step, so that the customer can see how relevance and respecting their time is on the forefront of your mind. You will boost your professionalism and show that you know exactly what you’re talking about.
13. Add success stories
Make sure that your success stories are relevant, from similar industries, with similar pain points, as well as the clear results that occurred. Do not settle for medium-gain success stories just to match the industry exactly.
The customer needs to see their story and needs reflected in what you show them, but they also need to see exactly how they can benefit, as did the company in the success story, and it should be good enough results to ensure both customers will continue using your product.
14. Follow up fast
Even if your sales meeting went well and left a good impression on the customer, it’s important that you try to stay in their mind. As soon as they leave the meeting, they will continue on with their other, more pressing tasks, and if you don’t keep yourself at the front of their mind, you may very well be forgotten.
Statistics show that emailing within an hour of a meeting can increase likelihood for meaningful interaction. It’s also been proven that emailing has a two-times higher return rate during follow-ups than cold calling, and this number can be increased by a further 33% if the subject line is eye-catching.
B2B react well to words like “alert” and “breaking” but do not respond to “reports”, “forecast” or “intelligence.” Sending the material that was discussed in the meeting to the customer will boost the likelihood of them remembering you, though a single document works better than several, so make sure your sales presentation includes all necessary information, and send only that.
15. Track your customer’s interactions after the meeting
This one is a little dependent on your methodology. We can recommend using a Sales Enablement software that offers tracking. If you are able to view how the customer interacted with your material, you will gain fast insights that will create a massively positive impact on the client when you reach out next time, and talk about exactly what had interested them. Be sure that you follow up when the sale is on top of the buyer’s mind, not when you’re ready to sell.
Do your research and experiment with what works
There are many more methods and techniques you can use to help close your details, so be sure to do all of your research and experiment with what works. Eventually, you will find the winning combination.
By using a Sales Enablement software, you’ll be much more easily able to achieve several of these steps, as well as collecting data for Salespeople that come after you, and being able to use data from the Salespeople that came before.
This will allow your industry on a whole to collect important information about best fit customers and methodologies, and will help you in your quest to consolidate.