13 lessons for selling well
13 lessons for selling well
Lesson 1: Using insight to sell
The world we sell in has evolved and, along with it, so has consumer buying behaviour. Customers are now able to access more information, more choices, than ever before. This has helped them become more aware about what's on the market, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily have the wisdom or confidence to buy anything.
This is where you—as the business owner—come in. People need companies that share their ideas and experience of possible solutions to pains, and examples of how they’ve had similar success with other customers in the past.
What you’re providing these buyers is insight; it’s important to share this when engaging with customers to build your credibility and, most importantly, trust.
There is a common misconception that people buy from people they like. True, this is a bonus, but the real reason customers will buy from you is because they trust you. A great way to build trust and differentiate yourself from the competition is to share insight with the customer and that could be about their industry, trends you’ve noticed or simple success stories from previous clients.
Here are a couple of examples of this approach:
- If you’re a roofing company: “I’ve noticed this year that we’ve had pretty bed in this county which, from what other customers around here have told me, has caused them to have the heating on for longer. Also their roofs have taken a real battering, so they've had them checked.”
- If you’re a training company: “I’ve seen a real shift in the amount of companies looking to shift their sales people away from order takers and into more of a consulting mindset, so you’re not alone in the current challenge you have.”
You have a wealth of knowledge and experience so when speaking with customers don’t just tell them what you do, share your insights to bring value to the conversation. This will build the trust and credibility required as the foundations to work together.
Lesson 2: Frame the call, own the sale
Imagine you’re off to the dentist for a check-up; you’ll probably have several thoughts going through your head, most likely along the lines of “what are they going to do? I hope I don’t have to get an injection, how much is it going to cost me this time?”
You get there, read old magazines in the waiting room for a while, then finally sit in the dentist's chair and the first thing the dentist says to you is: “today we’re going to do some x-rays, have a look at the teeth and then if any work is needed, book you in for another visit”.
How do you feel?
Probably a smidge more relieved and relaxed. Your anxiety has reduced because your understanding of the situation has increased. This is the same thing we need to be mindful of at the start of every call, presentation or pitch with potential customers. Giving them an expectation of what will happen is known as framing.
Framing your call gives your customer a narrative of what to expect from your conversation.
By doing this, you'll:
- Reduce their stress and anxiety
- Increase their understanding
- Control the conversation
- Ensure you’re both on the same page
- Starting each call with a strong opening, by framing the call, is an important first step to building a relationship with your customer. The initial impression you give sets the tone for the entire customer experience to follow.
Here’s an example of how it may sound:
“Hi John, thanks for putting some time aside to speak today. The purpose of this call is for me to get a better understanding of what you’re looking for now and then I can give you an insight into how we can help you achieve that. How does that sound?”
Never assume that your customer knows what to expect from a conversation. Using framing in every interaction you have will ensure you set the scene and achieve the outcomes you're focused on, leaving both you and the customer happy.
Lesson 3: Three simple steps to selling; empathise, educate, empower
The world of sales can be a busy and confusing place. There's some great content out there to help you raise your game in selling, but at the same time there's a lot of over-complicated models, processes and frameworks to follow. All that preparation, the steps you've planned, can go out the window and become irrelevant within a few seconds of a conversation starting.
But if you remember these three things, empathise, educate, empower, you'll achieve the outcome both you and your customer want.
So, here's a breakdown of the three:
Are you meeting the customer where they're at; putting yourself in their shoes? Do they feel like you understand their pain and know exactly where they're coming from? Miss this point and you'll face an uphill battle, regardless of what your product or service can do. If someone doesn't feel understood, they won't feel in safe hands forming a bond with you
Once you've met the customer where they're at, you need to be able to educate them. As mentioned in the first lesson, in this day and age, the customer knows more than ever about what you do, but still not necessarily on how this will benefit them.
Being able to educate the customer is important in showing them you are the right person to be working with, you have the experience and the right approach to guide them forwards.
This is something that is often overlooked when it comes to closing the opportunities you develop. This comes down to building the confidence in the customer to make them feel like they can make a decision, a positive one to work with you.
We tend to focus on building the confidence of the customer in us, but we also need to build the confidence within themselves. Without this empowerment, customers may feel like they don't have the confidence to decide, are lacking in certainty, or think that your product simply isn't right for them.
They'll be times on your sales calls, pitches or meetings that you go blank and forget everything you've planned. But as long as you remember these three things; empathise with the customer, educate them and empower them, you'll stand the best chance of getting the outcome you wanted.
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