Why should you learn how to sell?
In the game of life, you’re either selling something, or being sold something.
You’re either influencing someone, or you’re being influenced by someone.
You’re either persuading someone, or you’re being persuaded by someone.
This holds true for virtually all situations in your life.
Relationships, Business, Career, Negotiations, Interviews, Spending Habits, Etc.
Sales is one of the most important skill sets you can have because it applies to virtually any industry or life situation.
Sales vs. Marketing
Having a desirable product/service, coupled with effective marketing, greatly reduces or eliminates the need to “sell”.
Think about the iPhone when it first came out.
It was revolutionary, or at a minimum positioned that way.
Apple’s marketing campaigns combined with Steve Job’s inspiring presentations created massive demand and interest.
Apple products became highly desirable.
People would even line up at stores, happy to give their money away.
Another example of a highly desirable product is a Lamborghini.
Lamborghini built such a unique and prestigious car brand that the car markets itself.
They don’t run ads on TV for people to buy their car like Honda.
Having a well built product or service that creates an amazing experience is the easiest way to “sell” something.
Combined with a powerful inbound marketing campaign that positions the brand in a desirable way, you can flip the script and have people selling themselves to you and lining up to become clients.
There are 2 major types of marketing:
1) Inbound marketing – Think of inbounding marketing as a magnet that attracts targeted prospects. This is an effective way to spend money on campaigns that generate qualified leads and drive sales. This is ideal for small businesses that don’t have a huge marketing budget and prefer to target a niche audience. You can also think of it as value driven marketing that educates people on their problem and how to solve it.
2) Outbound marketing – Think of outbound marketing as broadcasting a message with a speakerphone to a large audience. Only a small percent will be your ideal clients. This is a more traditional way of doing marketing and is typically more expensive and less effective. This is for big brands that want to drive and maintain brand awareness. Think about Coca-Cola ads, billboards as an example.
Not everyone has the budget and brand awareness of large brands. Inbound marketing is the recommended and preferred method of marketing for small to mid sized businesses.
Selling Premium Products/Services ($5K-$1M+)
The rest of the article will be focus on sales, specifically for a premium end audience from an inbound marketing campaign.
This means they saw your marketing ads, and decided to reach out to you for inquiry.
The same strategies will apply if you’re meeting a prospective client in person, assuming they are a warm or hot lead.
The reason to focus on premium selling is because virtually anyone can sell a $100 product, it doesn’t take that much skill.
It takes a lot more skill to sell a $100,000 or $1,000,000 product/service.
That’s why commissions on premium products are much bigger.
If you have low price products, keep in mind they are easier to sell using the same concepts.
Depending on your industry, people will also make more impulsive buys at low price points.
And for very low price points, a call is not required.
Now, let’s start with the psychology of why people buy.
The only reason people buy anything is to solve a problem in their life.
Your job in sales is find out what they want, and help them solve their problem.
Your prospects will often present you a surface level problem.
When doing sales, your job is to identify the real problem or feeling behind the surface level problem.
And that problem or feeling can be personal.
It most often is related to family, social status, money, freedom, or some form of desire or pain.
Or they might just want to be entertained or have an experience.
Sometimes, prospects might not even be aware of exactly what they want or why they want it.
You must shine a light and help them verbalize the real problem and need.
For example, not have enough money to send their kids to the best school.
Not having enough energy, clear skin, or being overweight/tired.
Feeling stuck in their business or having a boss they want to fire.
Wanting more personal or financial freedom.
Or not feeling like they are enough.
Or simply feeling bored and wanting to have a unique adventure.
Ask and listen carefully to what your prospect actually wants.
After you understand your prospect’s needs, help them identify their ideal outcome, and bring awareness to the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
Ultimately you are selling them a future state/outcome.
Help them visualize their ideal future.
And help them see that it is possible for them to achieve their desired outcome if they work with you.
Don’t sell process or logic before emotion.
Many people buy because of emotion, and justify it with logic.
In fact, most people buy because of their intuition.
That gut feeling of what feels right or wrong.
So sell the outcome they want and then give them what they need to achieve it.
What is the simplest way to visualize a sale?
Imagine moving a prospect from Point A (where they currently are) to Point B (buying your product/service).
Your job as a sales closer is to guide your prospect along the shortest path from Point A to Point B.
This system is taught by Jordan Belfort.
Your goal is to keep them as close to this straight line as possible.
The further your prospect takes you away from this line, the closer you are to losing the sale.
It’s important to understand how qualified your prospect is and how aware of your business they are before the call.
Getting on a call with somebody who’s already engaged with your content and thinks you can help them is very different from speaking to somebody who’s never heard of you.
If you are selling a product or a service, here is a secret most people don’t realize.
People like to buy from people they know, like, and trust.
This means you will be much more effective at closing a sale if you build a strong relationship with your prospects before you sell to them.
You can certainly do cold calling but it’s not the most effective way to generate sales and make your pipeline full.
Cold calling can make you a sharper sales closer.
However, nobody really likes to cold call if they don’t have to.
There are better ways to get qualified leads to schedule with you by leveraging inbounding marketing, automation, and having a relevant offer.
In fact, it may be costing you money to get on the phone with prospects too early because they will either be unqualified or not bought into you yet.
This means you’re wasting your time, their time, and potentially losing a great lifelong customer who you could’ve impacted positively with your service or product.
Having powerful marketing greatly reduces or eliminates the need to sell.
Do not try to convince your prospect to purchase your product or service.
Instead, focus on framing(and reframing if needed) and leading the conversation.
Ask good questions, listen carefully, and allow the prospect to sell themselves to you.
You should aim to do about 25% of the talking while the prospect does 75% of the talking.
Your intention is to help your prospect by understanding their problem on a deeper level and evaluating if they are a person you can help and want as a client.
You need to have high standards, a screening process, and clearly define who your ideal client is.
This is why some of the most elite brands in the world have high barriers to entry for who they take on as clients.
Clients view it as a privilege to be associated with these businesses and brands.
In fact, people will pay more to feel exclusive and often use brands as a status symbol.
It’s a simple distinction but one that’s often overlooked even by sales professionals.
The 3 Characteristics prospects will evaluate in you
1) Are you an authority? (Do other people trust you/the company and view you as an authority?)
2) Are you sharp? (Do you have experience and results in your area of expertise?)
3) Are you confident? (Do you believe in yourself and what you’re selling?)
The 2 Objections
If your prospect is a qualified decision maker and is not buying, there are 2 objections going through their mind:
1) Will this work for me?
2) Will I follow through?
You can be upfront and ask them which of these 2 reasons is holding them back.
You want to identify their real objection so you can address it head on.
Price vs. Value
If a prospect says the price is too high, ask them if it’s a matter of price or value?
If it’s matter of value, ask them what is the one outcome that would make the investment worth it? Bring it back to the pain and outcome vision.
If it’s a matter of price, ask them if they saw a return on their investment in “X” amount of weeks/months, would it be worth it?
If what you are selling is valuable and relevant to them, the price is virtually irrelevant because they’ll see a 5, 10, or even 100 times return.
If their cash flow is an issue, consider offering a 30, 60 or 90 day payment plan.
Be careful offering payment plans to clients who have poor finances and cash flows.
They may end up costing you a lot more in the long run and complain every step of the way.
Another insightful model to help you understand the sales process is something developed by IBM called the BANT principle.
Budget (Does your prospect have the budget?)
Authority (Is your prospect the decision maker?)
Need (Does your prospect need your product/service?)
Timing (Is it the right timing in their life?)
One of the biggest things to realize is that if somebody doesn’t have the need or desire for your product or service, it doesn’t matter how great your offer is.
Every person has a unique personality and communication style.
The DiSC Personality assessment is a tool you can use on your application form to identify how to best communicate to your prospect.
If you’re speaking to a D, you want to be direct.
If you’re speaking to an i, you want to be more outgoing, higher energy, and personal.
If you’re speaking to an S, you want to be more accommodating, patient, and supporting.
If you’re speaking to a C, be patient because they will have more questions and will usually take longer to make a decision.
You can do a google search to learn more about DiSC personalities and take the quiz yourself.
To minimize wasting your time use inbound marketing and a screening process to ensure you’re selling to somebody who’s qualified and has the authority to make the buying decision.
Don’t try to sell a Porsche to somebody who can’t afford a Honda, isn’t even in the market for a car, or is not the decision maker.
Some studies indicate that over 90% of communication is non-verbal.
Your body language and energy is felt even through the phone.
Study great salesmen and observe their body language and tonality.
Sales closers take pauses when they speak, are confident, calm, collected, and use the right tonality and inflection points.
How you say things is often more important than what you’re saying.
Tonality reveals the underlying meaning to what you’re really saying.
Avoid doing things that project uncertainty such as having a shaky voice, speaking too much, speaking too fast/slow, speak too softly, or sounding monotone.
Uncertainty is the last thing you want to project.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, acknowledge that and let them know you will find the answer and get back to them.
Often times that question won’t be a deal breaker anyway.
There is no shame in saying “I don’t know”.
In fact, it’s a powerful thing to say and it shows you’re honest, direct, and confident.
From an ethics standpoint you shouldn’t sell to anyone just because you can.
Ensure it’s a great fit and a win-win for all parties involved.
Play the long term game.
Your reputation, morality, and integrity are on the line.
Make sure you’re selling the best (or at least one of the best) products/services in your niche.
If you’re not, ask yourself why not?
How can you confidently and ethically sell a sub-par product/service.
If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, find something else to sell.
Don’t be afraid of tension during a sale.
It’s often expected and part of the game.
In fact, some prospects will try and test you just to see how you will react.
They want to see what you’re made of.
Inexperienced sales people cave in and project uncertainty when faced with tension.
Sales closers embrace tension and know it’s a game.
They are not afraid of losing the sale while remaining cool, confident, and professional.
The only way to become a confident sales closer is to actually close sales.
The best way to speed up your learning curve it to learn from a sales closer.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel of human psychology.
Simply use what works and inject your personality and style into it.