There’s an old business adage that states, “Nothing happens until a sale is made!” This is true. Production doesn’t happen, a financial forecast is meaningless, and you can’t make money, or hire employees if there are no (or low) sales.
You must sell … it is that simple.
Learn it, embrace it and know that even though selling can be a challenge, if you shift perspective and approach it from your heart, you are ultimately helping someone get the results they want.
Closing a sale is not about tricking someone. It is about learning what matters to your audience, and how your products or services can help them reach a goal. As Brian Tracy suggests, “Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service.”
Learn about your ideal client, their industry, job function, goals, budget and challenges. Ask good questions, listen, offer ideas and then educate them–these are key elements of a successful selling approach.
For many of us, our goal in business is to make money, but to do so in a way that adds value.
Do your research before the sales pitch
Research is king. You must understand a client’s needs in advance if you want to make the sale. Research the client and market along with the needs and issues that pertain to both.
The proper research leads to a better sales pitch. For example, can you imagine managing a recent downsizing initiative at your company and receiving a cold call that sounds like this:
“Hey Joe, this is Mike Adams here with People Training Services. With recent layoffs your company has been going through we can imagine that morale must be a bit low. We help to build morale, regenerate team spirit, creativity and passion at work. We work with our clients to bridge gaps and to recommit to a new future filled with possibility. We’d love to meet to share some success stories and see how we can impact positively on your bottom line. How is next Tuesday at 2:00 for us to meet?”
What happened here? Mike got some inside information about his prospect’s recent layoffs and the impact they might have on the company. As a result he positioned his services to be of assistance and ease the pain.
Craft a compelling message and close more deals
Market research is essential to prospecting success. Consider a professional home stager who wants to sell her home staging services locally. Her message: I provide style, professionalism, and quality at an affordable price to homeowners, realtors, builders, and commercial clients throughout the area.
This is all well and good but she needs results!
Did you know research confirms “staged homes spend half the time on the market than non-staged homes.” Meanwhile, the same “survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. found that staged homes sell for more than 6% above the asking price.”
This is incredibly compelling research to share when she’s having a conversation with a client who’s thinking of selling a house. She communicates that the house is likely to sell faster and the owner can make more money; this pitch is sweet. It shows she’s done some homework and she’s talking about what matters to her ideal customer. Find me a home owner or agent who doesn’t want to make more money? Anyone? Show of hands?
When you know a prospects issues and challenges in advance and share an idea or solution the response is fairly common: They will want your help pronto!
Know your customers inside out. Who is your ideal client? Why did you choose this segment? What do you know about them? What does their demographic profile look like? What are their likes and dislikes? What issues do they face? How can you solve them?
Before you even begin to sell, know your customer, know your market and know how you can help. This simple approach separates good salespeople from great salespeople.
David Cohen is an author, business coach, facilitator and the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show heard weekly for over 9 years. David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors and coached hundreds of startups. He leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs. David is currently with the City of Toronto, heading up an entrepreneur training program for inner city youth and adults. Connect with @davidcohengroup on Twitter.