The primary aspect about selling is to understand that you should first convince yourself that your product is something that you are willing to ‘buy’
Whether you are a teacher, an administrator, a businessman or a technical specialist, everyone needs to sell – to survive. A teacher sells the need for learning and retaining information. A businessman sells the idea through which he can move his business ideology forward. Everyone of us is selling a concept, a dream, an appeal or a wish to someone or the other. In the new millennium, we have tighter competition, more standardization, higher standards, ever changing technologies, and super efficient service standards.
These are just some of the factors that are making the differences between products more difficult to ascertain. Selling is coming down to the skill and ability of the sales person, who is now seen more as a consultant, advisor or very often, even a friend. What do we know about how to clinically close more sales? Let me be a little general for the benefit of the first time sales person.
1. The primary aspect about selling is to understand that you should first CONVINCE YOURSELF that your product is something that YOU are willing to ‘buy’. For this you need to believe in your product and the benefit it can provide the customer. If you are not convinced, you surely cannot convince your client. Do not try and move into your customer’s mind unless you understand your own mind. Do not try and fill a gap in your customers mind – when you have gaps in your own. Here ‘gap’ could be in terms of information – price, guarantee etc, or in terms of conviction or belief in what you are presenting.
2. The next thing to remember is that your client is a person with a need, or at least a perceived need. You should therefore address his need and how your product fulfills that need. The other important part of the equation is the cost of your product. The buyer should feel that the PRICE he is paying is less than the VALUE that he is getting from your product. If there is a match here, then you have a sale.
So much for the process part of the sale, and that is something that every salesman should know. Let’s now focus on the finer aspects of selling – or how the mind works in this scenario.
Before your customer even thinks of closing the sale, he will need to know that you can be trusted.. How honest and sincere do you appear? Do you appear to look after his needs – or are you coming across as a person with a drive to sell? Are you a ‘friend’ giving him advice on why your product will benefit him, or do you appear to be a glib, fast talking salesman who is trying to ‘con’ him? Does he feel that your after sales service will match your positive energy while selling?
People who are selling are rarely aware of the fact that each customer has his own view of the world. Therefore each customer has to be sold to differently. Permit me to borrow a technique from the world of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). Do you know whether your customer is visual, auditory, kinesthetic or data oriented? If you can figure this out, then you will more or less be speaking the customer’s language. Let me address the four major types of customer.
w A visually oriented person will look at the colour, shape, proportion or finish of a product. He will also judge you on your appearance, and will look at your face to check out your genuineness. He will also want to see the value of what you are selling him. E.g. This looks great. Or, That is brilliant. This is a shining example of how we can proceed with the project.
w An auditory person will listen for how the product sounds, and even how you sound as you speak. Do you sound confident and sincere? e.g. Tell me more. That sounds like a terrific deal. Everything about this is out of tune with the times.
w A kinesthetic person, he will want to touch and feel your product, and will get a ‘feel’ of you as a person through the way you shake hands with him, or how you are oriented – in terms of your body language to him. e.g. It feels good. That makes me secure and comfortable. This is stifling me.
w A data oriented person will surely want facts and figures, dates and deadlines, and guarantees spelled out. If he is not fully convinced about the facts, he will not move ahead. Knowing your product, its features/benefits, is one thing, understanding your client, and his drives, needs and mindset, is an area in which every salesman needs tons of experience. Is the challenge in narrating the benefits of your product, or is it in filling a gap in the customer’s perception of his needs? e.g. What is the quickest way to get this delivered? How many people have bought this product so far? What quality standard do you follow? When is the first service due?
More and more, the top sales people of today are mind specialists – they know various tools, and depending on which customer they encounter, they use a different tool to close the sale. How much of your product do you know? What type of customer reading do you do? How many different mind tools and techniques do you possess? That, in brief is what separates the winners from the also-rans!
The empires of the future are the empires of the mind. said Winston Churchill. That future is unfolding – those who use the mind will not just survive – they will thrive.
The author is a corporate trainer who conducts
tele-sales and telemarketing training programs.
He is also a motivational speaker and consultant specializing in transforming individuals
through mind engineering.