Whether you are just learning the language of sales or improving your game as an already successful SalesMaker, there are six timeless principles to keep in mind.
The sales industry has changed dramatically over the years with advancements in technology, systems and what I would call “table stakes.”
Years ago, one could enter the marketplace with a marginal sales skill set and still succeed. Today, minimum requirements include having the ability to effectively communicate, connect, and close the sale.
Without these skills, you will not be able to compete in today’s enhanced competitive sales arena.
The table stakes for six-figure income earners require the ability to build relationships beginning with the first contact and the skill set to shepherd the sale to the close, while setting your client up for resale or referral business.
While technology has changed the way we do business, there are a few principles of sales effectiveness that have not changed.
Whether you are just learning the language of sales or improving your game as an already successful SalesMaker, there are six timeless principles to keep in mind:
If closing words, techniques, or skill sets feel fake to you, they will feel phony to your customer.
Most people can spot a phony. Until you customize your own sales language in your own voice, they will feel unnatural to you and uncomfortable to others. New sales skills feel uncomfortable at first, but like learning a new language, the more you work with them, the more comfortable you become. The first time I learned words to help me close the sale, the words I heard were not relevant to my product or industry. I had to work to adapt them to my product, my industry, and my own style of speaking.
Here’s the rule of thumb that the great motivational speaker, Jim Rohn taught, “Don’t try to export something you haven’t imported yet.” The best way to go from feeling uncomfortable using new words to feeling natural using them is to write them out in your own voice. Work with them. Practice them and make adjustments based on how people respond to you when you use them. Repeat what works and fail forward on what doesn’t.
People will follow you as long as they feel you have their best interests at heart.
A breach or disconnect happens when customers feel you are trying to manipulate them for personal benefit rather than motivate them for their benefit. Can’t we all tell from the relationships we encounter in our lives who is there to help us and who is there to help themselves? We are all intuitive and when someone is trying to manipulate us, our internal alarm bells sound.
Have you ever had the experience where you were listening to someone who was saying all the right words but sensed they were only thinking of themselves? A SalesMaker’s motive is to always make the purchase meaningful for the customer and not just profitable for them. Self-serving motives carry a self-serving scent and customers can sniff them a mile away. The right words and motives create connection, closeness, and a closing atmosphere. The wrong words with self-serving motives create distance.
People buy for their reasons, not yours.
If I were to ask you why people buy your product or why they do business with you, you could likely give me a quick list of ten feature-benefit statements why you, your product, or your company are great. However, if I were to ask happy customers why they bought from you or your company, that list might look very different. People buy your product for how it makes them feel and the value it delivers to them – their reasons not yours.
Investing time probing the area of their passions and purpose for the purchase will create more closing momentum than anything we can say or do. Sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer said it this way, “The more time you spend talking about me, the more I like you. The more time you spend talking about you and your company, the less I like you.”
People follow when we are meeting their needs and moving in the direction they want to move.
The SalesMaker finds out where the customer wants to go, then gets out in front to lead them there. A disconnect in the sale happens the moment we start to lead the customer in a direction they don’t want to go. If you find yourself pushing and not pulling a customer with your words, you are doing it wrong. It’s important to pay attention to whether or not someone emotionally disconnects from you.
Are you able to read the moment when the customer stops listening? Physically they are present with you, but emotionally they’ve left the conversation. SalesMakers are sensitive to the emotional atmosphere and can easily tell when the customer is no longer following them. They then make the necessary adjustments in order to get the customer re-engaged. Think about the telltale signs you look for when reading people.
Closing may come down to a moment of decision, but the journey to a YES requires walking down the road of collaborative discussion.
As a rule of thumb, the larger the purchase, the longer the selling cycle. The bigger the life decision and investment required, the more important the collaborative selling process is to closing the sale. When customers come to you for your expert advice, they’re already half sold.
They may need further education or to convince themselves they’re making the right decision. When we are making big decisions that we have to live with for years to come, we want a guide to help us navigate through the decision-making process. A helping hand is always preferred over a hammering closer.
Trust is the deal-maker or the deal-breaker in relationships.
The right words without the right heart make it impossible to build a lasting rapport. When you connect early in the relationship, you can close the sale later. But if you close before you connect, it is difficult to re-form a positive impression. Trust is the linchpin that builds rapport, relationships, and renewal business. In the absence of trust, the customer will seek out someone else to work with. What is your strategy for connecting and building relationship equity with customers?
As you continue on your journey toward improving your closing skills, taking these six principles of the SalesMakers’ success to heart will ensure you continue to grow toward reaching your potential.
About the author
Scott Hogle is a dynamic communicator, able to customize his presentation for Marketplace Leaders,…