The best salespeople know that selling comes down to relationship building, and doing it very quickly. And since just about everybody resents being in a relationship that feels disingenuous, it’s crucial that you do NOT sound like stereotypical salesperson.
Here are several ways to help you avoid coming off like a used car seller:
1. Put your self-interest on the back burner
Your goal is to make quota. But all those proven, consultative sales techniques you have learned will NOT work unless you put your self-interest aside while you build a new relationship. This is due to the fact that “The inner part of every person can tell the difference between someone who is genuine and someone who is not,” according to Dale Carnegie’s philosophy.
As sales people, we need to step outside of our own self-interest and communicate from the customer’ point of view. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER FIRST…before you call. Even the best of sales strategies will seem transparent, if you are not genuinely sincere. All the consultative strategies work “after” the main relationship is in place.
2. Listen, listen, listen… 80% of the time
When you’re building a relationship, you’re selling trust, and trust comes from “active” listening. This means taking time to digest what is being said and putting a harness on the urge to ignore it, and getting ready to fire back your sales pitch — the dreaded sell of features & benefits. Most sales people think the client conversation is an opportunity to show how much they know about their company, the industry or the product. This is dead wrong. It is a time to prove trust, and if you are listening 80% of the time, you’re not selling but purely learning about issues, pains, budget, and the urgency to fix problems.
3. You must ask the correct questions
Since selling is about helping executives make buying decisions, the best thing to do is ask questions to help the discovery process along. Typical salespeople will ask questions to qualify the prospect; as how much budget, when do you want it, when is it being signed. While this is necessary, if the prospect feels they are being qualified, they become reluctant participants in the selling event. It’s the grade of questions that separates the pro from the novice,
Use questions that draw out pain, such as:
– Can you tell me about this issue in detail?
– On a scale of 1 to 10, how is it affecting you, 10 being the worst?
– How long has this been going on?
– What has it cost the company?
– What have been done to correct this?
– What happens if you do nothing?
– How are you personally impacted?
4. Become an equal to the executive
Decision-makers do not usually want to spend time with salespeople. Period! They want to work with businesspeople that provide solutions, and fix problems that address painfully business situations. Be an equal and be confident. We all want to do business with peers and as soon as someone feels sold, they stop sharing information with us. This must be avoided at all costs. To do this, re-title yourself and think differently, not like a typical vendor.
5. Count before you respond
When responding to common objections, take a deep breath and hold it for 3 seconds. You need to be calm, focused, and fit the context of the relationship you are building. If you need to use some tech-talk to answer an objection, count to three, and sound natural.
6. Trust comes from sharing…do NOT interrupt
Do NOT sell to your prospect while they are sharing. Acknowledge their emotions and business logic, and if you do not by asking some well-formed qualifying questions or a comment like “we can do that”, they make a pre-conceived opinion that you do not care. Instead, write down a note in front of them, and make the point at the end of the session.
7. Do not abuse knowing their name
When talking; do not over-use the prospect’s name. If they were a family or friend, how many times would you say their name? Be careful in even using formalities like “Sir” or rude notations like bud, partner, etc.
8. In essence, care about them!
When relating to people, care about them and tell them. People buy from people they like, period! Be likable by being sincere, caring, and above all, intellectually capable of providing value to their problem or pain.
Selling is hard work, especially in the online media world. You need to stand out, be unique, and quickly sell your value to higher-level executives. Using a disciplined, structured approach will get you there faster, as it has over the last 20 years in filed selling across the country. Practice well, practice smart, but practice.