If you’re in business, you need to get sales – that’s obvious. Yet sales skills are often the one area that people struggle with. In this guest blog post, Adam Stevens offers a few simple tips to help you improve the sales experience for you and your customers.
Nowadays customers are more Internet savvy than ever before and shopping around for the best price couldn’t be easier. However, from my experience selling skills out there has a lot to be desired for and people are far too quick to blame the economy or the internet for their drop in sales.
If people take full responsibility for their results then they more often than not will be honest with themselves and admit that they could improve their own selling skills before blaming the things out of their control. So what is within their control? Let’s break it down.
Sales training should look at these aspects to set your foundations:
- Sales Psychology (How the sales person thinks)
- Persuasion Skills (How we persuade clients to like us and buy from us)
- Selling Skills (Foundations like structure, questions, pre-closing, closing etc.)
Going into sales psychology in depth is beyond the realms of this article, so for now let’s discuss some tips on getting your prospects to say yes to you!
Three key components to set as your foundations for getting your customers to say yes.
Component one is questioning.
Question the prospect on what brought them to you. What has instigated the search? What is really important to them? Why do they require it? What is the outcome they are looking for? You get the idea. The biggest mistake most people make is they don’t ask enough questions. Remember selling isn’t telling. Selling is all about great questions. In every great sales training course there is great questioning skills training, so start working at better questioning skills now!
Component two is listening.
Really listen to what your prospect’s answers are to your questions. Pick up on the essential factors and key things that matter to them because this is where you will pick up on how to sell to them. I know this sounds like sales training 101; however, the majority of people still don’t get the foundations right.
Component three is getting agreement.
Pre-closing, seeking agreement – “If I can get you Y, would you be happy to go ahead with X?” Gaining little commitments from the prospect before asking for the main commitment.
Now mix the above three selling skills with these three persuasion skills and I guarantee your prospects will being saying yes to you more often, more quickly!
Persuasion skill number one – Tag questions.
Simple little questions tagged onto the end of a statement- that’s a no brainer!
Tag questions are really powerful for persuading the prospect to say YES more times throughout your interaction with them. This then persuades them to be more inclined to say YES at the close of the sale.
The rule of thumb with these is they must be spread out throughout your conversation or else they sound ridiculous.
Here are some examples from a holiday sales rep:
“This is beginning to sound like the dream holiday for you, isn’t it?”
“It’s such a beautiful looking place, isn’t it?”
“More and more people are now looking for something different, aren’t they?”
“Life is all about treating yourself to little luxuries from time to time, isn’t it?”
“I’m guessing you can just picture yourself on that beach, can’t you?”
“You would want the upgraded room if I can get it, wouldn’t you?”
“It just sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?”
I think you get the picture. Please practise these – they are VERY PERSUASIVE and pack power for the eventual close.
Component two is social proof.
Social proof is a technique often used in sales and introduced to us by Dr Robert Cialdini. Cialdini has done vast studies on persuasion and influence and a lot more about him can be found on the internet but for our study on how to get propsects to say yes let’s use one of his most powerful ones – social proof.
SOCIAL PROOF IS…if everyone is doing it, it must be right. So use language like “Most of the customers I speak to…” “Virtually all of the people I speak to…” “Everyone is…”
A great example of this is Amazon. When you buy a book they say down below, “Customers who bought this also bought this.” So use social proof in your language – you’ll be staggered at how influential it is.
Component three – language
Talk with the prospect’s pace, tone and language. If they talk slowly with pauses, you talk slowly with pauses. If they use certain phrases and words often, then you try and use them too. You see, people like people like them so using these covert skills will build rapport.
A word on all of these skills: you won’t win them all, but if you practise and implement these techniques, you increase the chances of winning the business! Good luck!
Adam Stevens, Mindcell Sales & Management Training