When it comes to selling a product, are sales techniques an art or a science? Some would argue both, while others say neither. What is for sure is that sales is complicated, and successful selling requires strategic planning, relationship building, and investing in your clients.
While sales may not exactly be a science, selling techniques proved by science can help optimize your sales strategy. Here are five science-proven ways to secure a sale and retain your valuable customers.
1. Have an Account Strategy
Simply put, account strategy is a plan intended to build a longterm relationship with a client. Antiquated account strategy saw sales people filling out complicated forms and applying the same process to every client, but it’s been proven that account strategy works best when the needs of the individual client dictate the plan. Tweet This
In this article on SmartCEO, Matthew McDarby explains that his research found this key difference between great salespeople, and good sales people: “Excellent account strategists go to greater lengths than their average counterparts do to understand the issues and opportunities that are strategically important to the entire customer organization.”
2. Be Both Extrovert and Introvert
Many people wrongly assume that in order to be a great salesperson, you have to be an extrovert. A recent study of about 300 sales professionals published in Psychological Science and further detailed by Forbes shared researcher Adam Grant’s findings; that extroverts were not the clear winners when it came to sales, but “ambiverts”, or those that were both extrovert and introvert, performed best.
What’s more: extreme extroverts and extreme introverts performed about the same. Qualities of both personalities have their place in sales, Grant explains, “The ambivert advantage stems from the tendency to be assertive and enthusiastic enough to persuade and close, but at the same time, listening carefully to customers and avoiding the appearance of being overly confident or excited.”
3. Be a “Driver”
It sounds cheesy, but passion for the work you do will propel you into higher levels of success. A “driver” is a person that possess an overwhelming desire to succeed, and won’t stop at anything until they meet that success. Drivers are competitive, optimistic, and ambitious, and all three must be present in order to truly excel.
Arpedio dug into 80 years of sales research and found that drive is the most common trait of top performers. When hiring sales people, look for these qualities to ensure you are bringing on someone that will perform to a level that is above or beyond your expectations, as under performers “can cost over six figures annually in salary, training dollars and lost sales.” Tweet This
4. Use Social Media
Though the use of social media in the office is often frowned upon, science has proven that when used correctly, social media can be one of the most effective tools a seller has. A recent study by social sales expert Jim Keenan revealed that “78.6% of sales people using social media to sell out performed those who weren’t using social media.”
Additionally, more than half of the respondents who use social media said that they can trace at least one closed deal to their usage of the platforms. LinkedIn, the prominent social network for professionals, is of particular value when it comes to selling. This study published by the Harvard Business Review, found that 40% of sellers that regularly use LinkedIn can attribute revenue to their LinkedIn behaviors. Tweet This
5. Be a Closer, Consultant, or Expert
In a study of 800 sales people by researchers Lynette Ryals and Iain Davies, only 37% of salespeople were deemed effective in the long run. Of those 37% three types of salespeople were the most successful: closers, consultants, and experts. The remaining 63% fell into one of five categories: storytellers, focusers, narrators, aggressors, and socializers.
Experts are typically well-rounded and excel at all facets of selling, while “consultants (15%) listen well and are good problem solvers; and closers (13%) can pull off big product sales, but their smooth-talking style doesn't work as well for selling services.”
Now that you know some of the scientifically-proven ways to secure a sale, tell us what you think: Is selling at art or a science? What works for you?