A great salesperson makes a tough job look like an easy job. It requires hard work, persistence, and the ability to get up after you’ve been knocked down. Making a sale requires that you are convincing and sincere, it requires you to make a connection with your customer, and most importantly, it requires that you can empathize with your client’s needs. When times get tough and you’re not hitting your numbers, it’s helpful to take a step back. Here are 8 sales tips to help close the deal.
Sales Tip #1: Skip The Script, or Not?
Part of making your sales pitch feel new again might mean ditching the script. You’re not a telemarketer, you are a salesperson. Just because one pitch worked on a prospect doesn’t automatically mean it’ll work on the next three. You have to know your audience and learn to tailor the conversation when necessary.
To script or not to script is fodder for much debate today. While I agree that you can’t use the same pitch, the same language, the same attitude, etc. for every prospect you contact, there are advantages with using scripted notes including:
- Keeping you better prepared
- Organizing your messaging
- Making you sound more confident
- Helping you remember pain points
- Improving how you overcome objections
Some of us will simply keep bulleted lists of pain points, benefits, and answers to objections in front of us when calling. If you decide to use a script, you should never read your script during a prospecting call. You’ll sound insincere and robotic.
Sales Tip #2: Uncover Their Needs
Stop dancing around and ask the prospects what their needs are. If you aren’t sure how your product fits their needs, get back to the basics and do more homework before calling or scheduling a meeting. You can’t close the deal if you don’t uncover the customer needs.
Just remember that sometimes the ultimate need is difficult to uncover. For example, when selling ATMs to banks, you might be told by the banker that the bank is looking for an ATM that is more reliable than the old machine they currently have. But is that the ultimate need of the bank? Doesn’t the bank have the ultimate need to attract more customers and deposits? There are lots of ATM vendors that can show how their machines are more reliable than older machines. But if your machine can do that PLUS help the bank attract new customers, then you will stand out.
Sales Tip #3: Ask About Their Budget
If you’ve established a real need, and you know their pain points, you should have already attached a monetary value to each pain point. If you ask for their budget at this time, and (assuming they give you an honest answer) the budget is well below your minimum charge, you should move on. You’ve lost this one. However, if you could show during your presentation how much monetary value your solution could provide the client, you could help them see how irrelevant the budget number actually is.
Sales Tip #4: Know When to Stop Talking
Don’t damage the rapport you’re trying to build by dominating the conversation. Let your prospects share their side of the story. Know when to stand pat and understand that a less is more approach to talking can more often spark curiosity from a prospect.
Taking this a step further, remember that a client will sell themselves on an idea long before you sell them with your words. Lead the conversation to a point where the client is asked, “How do you see this solution affecting your situation?” Then, let them answer for themselves.
Sales Tip #5: Don’t Bash the Competition
It’s not your job to attack the competition; your job is to sell your company’s vision and value. Anytime you try to discredit everything a prospect brings up about the competition, you’re putting the prospect on the defensive. All that does is create an uncomfortable situation.
What if your competitive information is not accurate? Now, you’ve lost credibility and improved your competitor’s position. It might be best to just provide your client with a list of important questions that they should be asking all suitors, without naming your competitors. These questions would help the client uncover the dirt on your competitors on their own.
Sales Tip #6: Champion Your Product
In the past I have heard that no prospect will buy from you if you don’t know your product inside and out. You must be well-versed in everything your product does. It’s as simple as that.
Yikes! With the complexities of some of the products out there, this is an intimidating tip for anyone. I say, learn as much as your sales training has provided, but don’t sweat it if you don’t know something trivial (“What percentage of aluminum alloy is your product created with?”). Just acknowledge that it’s a great question, know where to get that answer, and get the answer back to the client as quickly as possible.
Sales Tip #7: Be Grateful
One of the most important reminders of all: be grateful for every opportunity you have to speak with a client. Whether it’s an email response, a 30-second voicemail that you want to be returned, or a sit-down meeting, you must thank them for their time and acknowledge that they have a busy schedule. Make the meeting or courtesy call stand out. (Thank you for reading this blog, by the way.)
Sales Tip #8: Reference Your Training
All successful sales training programs provide resources for the team to reference after the actual sales training session. Take advantage of these tools. If your company offers a library of off-the-shelf videos like we do at ej4, take the time to rewatch key courses.
- Maybe you need a refresher on advanced questioning techniques for new ideas on open-ended questions.
- You encounter a new prospect with a very different personality from yours so you revisit the DISC selling series.
- A new high-level prospect involves selling to the C-Suite for the first time so you rewatch that series before your next call. (For example, you can check out our video on this exact scenario below!)
Sales Training from ej4
Our business skills library includes a wide variety of courses on sales skills and related soft skills. You can view all of these courses when you sign up for a free trial of Thinkzoom, our learning management system.
- A Comprehensive Guide to Building Sales Training Programs
- Selling Skills Training Videos
- Tailoring Your Sales Pitch to Customers' Needs
- 4 Quick Tips to Uncover Your Customer's Needs
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on September 11, 2013, and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.