Making Effortless Sales without it feeling like “Sales”
Companies can fail because their sales process was not laid out and every sales associate was “doing their own thing” or people feel pressured into buying something they never needed or wanted. In today’s world where people are bombarded with things being sold to them in all types of mediums (tv, print ads, social media), we want to step away from the whole “sales” thing. We are recontextualizing sales not only for ourselves but also for our clients.
Traditionally, sales consisted of offering one thing you would sell to everybody whether they needed it or not. These sales would be done from a context of survival. Often times the salespeople would use the following strategies:
1. Shoehorning – trying to mold the customer to the offering, creating a false need where there was no need or want previously. Having one size fits all products or services.
2. Handling objections – salespeople are often ready with a set of common objections that potential buyers may have. The way that any type of rejection of the sale is handled is by giving a preformulated answer.
3. Using tactics – a tactic is an action or strategy carefully designed to achieve an end result. In sales, it’s often walking people through a series of experiences so that they end up buying the product or service. At the moment, buyers may be convinced that this is a good idea, however, in hindsight they may have remorse or regret about buying this product or service
4. Using a certain tonality – in selling things tonality plays a huge role, it can range from authoritarian (i.e “You need this, or else”) to sexy to childish. The tonality can force an outcome if the potential customer is easily convinced, cajoled, or persuaded.
5. Not being transparent – not telling the potential buyer of all the pros and cons, and in and outs of the product or service
6. Distrust – No real relationship is formed with the potential buyer, the most common example of this type of salesperson is the “used car salesman.”
However, in today’s world, the buyer through experience has become more knowledgeable and is aware that there are many options available to them. So, how we want to approach sales is different – we want to replace the six items discussed above with the following:
1. Shoehorning becomes Customization – develop your product or service with your client in mind. Ask people what they need and want rather than imposing what YOU think they want. Do some R&D to see what the needs of the market are.
2. Handling objections gives way to Product Development. Instead of giving push back with a predetermined answer when someone says anything about why they don’t want your product, become curious about what they do want and what you could do differently to have them purchase your product or service. In this scenario, your potential client becomes your partner in developing your product or service
3. Tactics are great and they can be used successfully without the potential buyer feeling like they have been manipulated. This is where Customer Experience comes into play. Thinking about what you want the customer to experience when they purchase your product is a great way to design your sales process. Think about the intention behind the experience of buying your product – what does it feel like for someone to purchase it? What do they get out of it?
4. Tonality can be used to your advantage as well as to the advantage of your potential buyer. If they experience themselves as a partner in their buying process, it gives their experience a very different flavour. Building care and Education into the process will also enhance their experience. It is important to look at the sales process and examine the type of tone you want to present to your potential customers.
5. Transparency comes from sharing testimonials and references with the potential buyer. Allow them to speak with some of your clients or customers to give them confidence in their decision.
6. Build Trust – relationship building is really important. You would not walk into a bar and see a beautiful woman and ask her to marry you there and then, that would be weird! The same thing goes for selling your product/service. You need to move through the various relational fields before there is enough trust present for them to buy something from you. Studies have shown that it takes about 8 exposures before someone will buy from you. An additional trust builder is providing value upfront regardless of whether they buy from you or not (no strings attached).
An integral part of a good sales strategy is having a network of businesses that offer various products and services so no matter what your prospects are looking for you can provide it and still get compensated through referral agreements.
Oftentimes salespeople get really caught up in the numbers and forget to have fun. Sales should be fun, light activity. It’s an opportunity to connect with others.
In my next blog, I will talk about the sales process that we use in our company.