Sales tips and techniques can be powerful selling tool, but the salesperson should make sure they are used in both an ethical manner and in the spirit of good helpful business practice.
1. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. As we read this, it seems to the ethical salesperson like a proclamation of the obvious. But it’s more than that because far too often too many sellers for some reason tend to ignore this fundamental principle. At least in this instance, this headline is crucial and should not be treated as lip-service alone.
Prospects will immediately fell rightfully unhappy whenever they are not treated how they want to be. The down-shot of this is that where that basic maxim of treat others as you would like to be treated is ignored, prospects generally will not buy, regardless of how good the actual sales proposition may be.
2. Develop empathy and put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Whenever the salesperson puts themselves in their prospect’s or client’s shoes, they should try to put forward a proposition the way that they themselves would like to be treated. How often has this sales tip been quoted to the seller over the years, yet, even after all of these years it is still, more often than not, taken for granted. And because of this, it is rarely practiced well.
If the salesperson is to practice true empathy, they will need to exhibit the fact that they are prepared to seriously focus on their prospect’s or client’s needs – and not their own – which in today’s sales environment needs more than just fleeting concentration – it needs a REAL and honest practice of EMPATHY.
3. Bundle Slower-Moving Stock with Faster-Moving Items. Many wholesale warehouses in today’s marketplace have large areas devoted to stock that may have moved well once upon a time, but for whatever reason, it has slowed with the market. Other items may too be slow movement through bad decisions, wrong colours, ugly appeal and so on. Whatever the reason slow moving items are a drain on space, cash-flow and finances.
Many of today’s more savvy wholesales have learned to bundle their unwanted large stocks of slow moving products with a fast-moving products, which involves offering the two together at what is deemed an attractive price buy those doing the buying. This kind of marketing has been around for decades, and has helped many distributors grow their market share – even during recessions and lean times. However, this kind of promotional activity has always been know to good marketers and has a dual value to the seller because it provides good value to the buyer, helps to reduce stocks of the slow-moving lines and much needed shelf space – not to mention the benefits to the “bottom line.”
4. Bring in the Experts “In the Know.” Large retail outlets can increase sales resource, product expertise and selling activity by inviting suppliers to provide one of their own merchandising/sales personnel to work in the store for an agreed period, potentially on a specially incentivised basis. Even if only for a day a month such cooperation boosts sales capability, and can be increased by involving numerous suppliers.”
5. Add-in 2 More Options to Minimise any Closing Pressure. Far too often, your prospects will come prepared to do battle with that “pushy seller.” They will sometimes come with a “combat plan,” which means the partners (husband and wife etc) will sometimes prepare, like, “If the seller says ______, you answer with____ and I will back you.” If you don’t believe me, then just think back to the times when you and your partner went out for the day shopping – didn’t you also do something similar, because I know I have – and often too?
So here’s a suggestion, especially if you are in some area of retail. Once you come near a closing situation but feel that there is still a deal of undue resistance, then an easy way to get on top of the situation is to focus on two or three options for the prospect to consider, instead of focusing entirely on making ‘the sale’.
By giving them an alternative of two or more “other options,” and you could say something like, “Can I just get you to look at these two items I have in stock here. The first has ________ and the second is quite similar but has the added benefit of ___________.” Then stop talking and just wait.
At this point the prospects attention is drawn to two positive choices, and in turn their newly found interest immediately diffuses the ‘whether or not to buy’ aspect they were faced with as you were about to close on the initial product they had focused on. No matter where you go from there, they would have relaxed enough to listen and really take interest in why they cam to you in the first place. The rest is now up to the salesperson to lead the prospects into achieving what they set out to do in the first place – and that is to invest in something they had planned on before they came to you.
6. It can never be too late to bring out Option C. If you earn a living from selling, then this one factor will help you heaps – it may even be an answer to some recent prayers. As sellers, or managers, or distributors we basically only ever see two ways to respond to an increase in the cost of the goods we are selling. Now that’s typical for anyone that reacts to a situation – because the “cool heads” in the same industry usually choose to respond to any situation – after they have had the time to ponder over it. And what most people typically see are primarily two ways to react to any increase in costs. They will either choose to increase the sales price to maintain margins, or alternately will hold the price and accept a lower margin. But what they mostly overlook is a simple third option where they can choose maintain the price, but reduce their pack size or the net weight of the product – which under most circumstances could prove to be useful option for their customers anyway.
Alternately, the prospect could be directed to a slightly smaller item, or a product with a few less features, and still remain within the buying price budgeted for. This is an extremely useful alternative to those selling televisions, fridges, washing machines, microwaves, stereos and even smaller cars where the prospect is attracted into the store primarily on price. Then a fourth option could be to sell the unit at the higher price, but then appear to diffuse the increase by offering the unit on a monthly or periodical payment arrangement.
7. Clever Salespeople Learn to Work the way a Doctor does. I’ve been in sales for over 50 years, and over the past 9 years I have been in a relationship with a Professor of Nursing (who doubles as a nurse [with a PhD] whenever she needs to). The one thing that I have learned from that encounter is that the medical profession in many ways has similarities to the sales profession, yet far too often the value and similarity of the two are overlooked. So let’s start from an income point of view, I know many doctors, and I know many more salespeople, but I am also fortunate to know quite a few supersellers who would generally earn more than many GP Doctors do.
One of my “old time friend” doctors, Gordon Lee, who I have known for over 30 years also has a brother who is a top professional salesperson in Canada, and Gordon openly says his brother earns more than he does. Gordon has also said countless of times that he envies salespeople because their income can be open ended if they work at it professionally.
Now we can go on comparing the two professions section by section, but what I would really like to hone in on is that we are all aware, that all Doctors diagnose before they prescribe. They see themselves as problem solvers. And the highly trained top salespeople also diagnose before they prescribe. They too see themselves as problem solvers, and to solve problems diligently, they too must first understand the nature of the problem they intend to solve. If you don’t feel you are skilled enough at sales to do that, then learn more and take more risks. Medical doctors do just that. How do I know? Because many Doctors and Specialists have told me that they would learn all they could about my condition, but in the end the decision as to whether they follow a certain procedure is mine – and that’s due to the risks involved.
8. A Good Salesperson Cares for their Client. Most salespeople I know subscribe to the fact that they need to care for their client’s, and they don’t need a “Hippocratic oath” as does a Medical Doctor to practice in their profession – they just need to understand that they should never veer away from the highest levels of ethical and honest behaviour they are capable of. Sadly some that have come into sales may not have conducted themselves in that manner, and fortunately they move on to other fields of income before they taint the time honoured profession called selling.
Professional career salespeople who make it a point to care for their customers, will always make them feel comfortable in their presence and valued as individuals. They are the same people who understand that after the sale is made, their follow-up is a key factor which gives their client’s the “peace-of-mind” that they are being looked after because of the investment they have made and the trust they have shown in the salesperson as an individually.
This is one of the many reasons professional salespeople never treat their client’s relationship with them too casually. Their sales brief is they need to implement a systematic and necessary follow-up regime until the purchase is made, and then apply a post purchase follow-up routine as an essential part of their on-going business with that client and all the referrals that that client will recommend.
9. A Top Professional Always “Goes the Extra Mile.” In sales we all have prospects (and even customers) who will occasionally say, “I can’t afford it.” When that happens we will mostly either trot out an assortment of pre-rehearsed ‘come-back’ lines, and when they don’t work, we can resort to something ‘off-the-cuff,’ or worse still something a little more primitive, and when that doesn’t work who knows – some of us will ‘fall apart’ to the extent that it may effect the rest of our day.
A while ago I heard a great alternative and use it as many times as I am able whenever I hear that dreaded, “I can’t afford it.” I now simply reply with, “I am glad you said that. (now pause) Some of my best customers have said that too. (pause again) So let me show you what I mean.” Once said, I am able to get back to what I was doing no matter where I was in the presentation or sectional closes or my final close – because now all I have to do is to trot out my example, or testimonials, or personalised video’s on my smart phone.
It’s a simple, effective and more importantly a totally non-confrontational way to get back into whatever part of the presentation you feel is the best place to recommence, or perhaps do a quick summary of where things were at before you go back to the presentation. Let’s face it, it’s only a price objection, and if you let it get the best of you there are generally always two losers – your prospect and you.
So now you know how, get over it and get back to doing what you do so well . . . sell.
10. Here are Two Tips some will say Will Make You Rich. These two sales tips are the ones some salespeople say will make you rich. I’m not too sure about that claim, but I can say that both can make the selling process far more focused when used they way the have been recommended to be used. If use other ways, or if the salesperson compromises they way they are recommended to be used, they simply won’t work.
It is also important for the salesperson to understand that they are based on the fact that in all kinds of business-persuasion they are the two key aspects of a human personality that are focussed on come whenever we are being sold to by another.
The first is, we place a good deal more importance on the words that come out of our own mouth, compared to the words we hear coming out of the mouth of the one doing the selling.
The second is that we also place more importance on the things we ask the seller to provide us with, compared with the things the seller is prepared to offer us. In simple terms, what that means to us, is that when we are in the process of selling someone else, our key focus needs to be designed to coax the prospect to tell us in his or her own words what we’ve been wanting to tell them.
If at first the coaxing doesn’t work, the salesperson could then ask questions to which a simple yes or no is extracted, and then the seller may be able to encourage the prospect to say in his or her own words what they have just been told by the seller. That way, the prospects would hear themselves voice a solution to the challenge they have been facing.
All this is based on the fact that when we hear ourselves offer the solution we need, we tend to believe it more than when someone else tells you.
Moreover countless studies world-wide are certainly more influenced by their own words than the words told to them by someone else. Another thing to appreciate here is that people are also more interested in what they might ask the salesperson to provide them with, more so than anything that the seller might offer – even if the two things are exactly the same. That’s why earlier it was suggested that the seller coax the prospect to restate what has already been said – because without further coaxing, the prospect is likely to ask the seller if the seller can provide a solution for them. And that’s why this point 10 tactic is so powerful.
This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 50 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 65 books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com