As consumers and business buyers have become savvier about the buying process, sellers have had to sharpen their skills with highly focused sales systems and techniques – and there are plenty of consultants and coaches out there who want to sell you on their system. The most effective sales approach for your business depends not only on your product or service, but also on your audience and their needs. Regardless of the system you choose to implement, you'll close more deals if you:
- Sell benefits rather than features.
- Focus on your client's needs.
- Understand your client's business.
- Offer solutions.
Sell by creating trustSeveral selling coaches and gurus stand behind a basic approach to selling that's built on trust and can be applied to any sales situation.
Sell through relationship buildingRather than high-pressure sales, this technique relies on forming relationships with your clients. Present what you're offering as a solution or support to your customer's needs rather than as a costly acquisition. Relationship selling is ideal for consulting or service-based businesses. It can also work for a product-based business in a competitive industry where developing a relationship could be what differentiates you from your competition.
Sell to your best marksThis sales technique involves focusing your sales efforts solely on those prospects who offer the highest probability of a sale. High-probability prospects are those who need your product or service, want it and can afford it. If a prospect doesn't meet these three criteria, you don't spend time chasing the sale.
Sell yourself as a consultantThe logic behind this technique is that you promote yourself as an expert in a field and serve as a consultant to the customer. With this technique, your product or service may not always be the best solution for the customer. However, in most cases it provides a foot in the door and a way to build trust.
Empower your customerThis trademarked sales approach involves asking relevant questions, focusing on solutions and changing your pitch to fit the situation. Rather than attempting to sell to your prospects, the idea is to empower buyers to solve problems, achieve goals and satisfy needs.
Get helpIf you aren't sure which sales system or technique works for your business, hire a firm that can assess your needs and customize a program to fit.
- Whichever sales system you choose, make sure to have regular training sessions for new hires and refresher courses for seasoned salespeople so that everyone is working in unison.
- Even if relationship selling isn't your primary focus, keeping in contact with existing customers and taking care of them should always be a focus. Balance making new sales with managing existing customer relationships.
- Every sales system has one thing in common. You should always focus on how the product or service will benefit the customer rather than sharing features of the product or service. When you make the benefits personal, you show the customer how your product will enhance their business or life.
- Ask vendors for referrals. If you like the way you've been sold products or services, ask that vendor what sales techniques they use and follow in their footsteps.