Is the cold call dead? 6 ways to master your sales techniques
The art of selling can be considered as the foundation of business: it’s how businesses make money. Irrespective of what your company does, you are selling either a product, a service, or your brand. This aspect, in its absolute basic state can be applied to any sales role you take on, from the humble telesales agent to the big-shot banker.
Yet, taking this into account, realising just how many ‘salespeople’ simply don’t know the basics of selling processes is rather baffling. So, here are six different ways that will help you on your journey to mastering your sales skills and techniques.
Were you expecting something a bit more technical? Well, before we get to the cream, you have to understand the basic principles of human interaction, and smiling is one of the most essential when it comes to sales. Smiling not only sends out a positive message, as in, you seem happy to be there, but it also affects the way you speak. Ever heard the term ‘smile while you dial’? It sounds a bit on the cheesy front but it doesn’t half work well. It’s very simple to understand but essentially, if you sound happy when you are speaking to someone, they are more likely to buy off you than if you sound as though you wanted to be literally anywhere else. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
So, you’re currently giving off the impression of confidence (remember, this applies to on, and off the phone sales) through your charming smile and assured tone of voice. The next step is to (don’t take this the wrong way) not be boring. You can have all the enthusiasm in the world about what you’re trying to sell, but if you have zero charisma then you’re in for a tough time: engaging with the customers interests is what selling essentially comes down to, and you can’t connect with a stranger without charisma.
You need to have fun with the customer, make them laugh for example, and this is where the top sellers separate themselves from the mediocre sellers. Gaging the type of customer it is you are speaking to can be quite problematic, however the most useful trick you can use is to ask as many questions as you can. Through their answers you can begin to form a picture of what this person likes and dislikes, and you can then adjust your conversation accordingly. By relating to the customers interest, you start to gain their trust: you are now well on your way to making a sale.
Pitching ability is where a lot of sellers drop short of the mark. Again, this ties in with your charisma and confidence in what you are selling. However, the most crucial element of a good pitch is to make whatever it is you are selling significant to that customer – they have to believe it is something they need. If you constantly reel off the same pitch again and again, as call centre agents will do, your appeal will become as flat as their voices sound. Therefore, it’s important you have the ability to adapt your pitch to keep it fresh, and also to keep you on your toes. Don’t be afraid to change it up a bit and try new ideas, just remember to keep it relevant to the customer you are speaking to, and treat every customer as a potential sale: doing this will inject energy into your pitch. If you start with the attitude of ‘they aren’t going to buy’, then they won’t buy. Pitch as though they will buy, and they just might.
4. Objection handling
At this point you’ve established a connection with the customer. You’ve maybe shared a few jokes, and all seems to be going well. However, they say no. This is where you need to get creative, and again this comes down to something very simple: ask more questions, and get them to tell you why they don’t want it. If you understand their reasoning, you can identify possible routes to get around it, such as: backing yourself up with customer references; empathising with them, but saying how the product has been beneficial to you, and emphasising its value. Once again, the more questions you ask, the more you will understand why they don’t want it, and therefore will have the information to get around it.
Closing the sale is one of the most difficult parts of the selling process. Assumptive closes are probably the least favoured from the customer’s point of view, as it can come across as bullying. You want the customer to have a great experience with you, so they come back for more. Telesales agents will often not give the customer the chance to say no, as that technique is what works best for that type of selling. However, if you are selling face-to-face or handling big money deals, staying calm is the best advice to give. By keeping a cool head, you give off the impression that this is the right thing for the customer to be doing.
The key to being a great seller is always having a couple of aces up your sleeve. Once the customer has said yes, this your chance to maximise your profit – this is what we call ‘upsell’: you are essentially selling the customer more. Think of it like add-ons or optional extras you get with package deals. Timing is incredibly important for the upsell: always upsell when you have closed your original sale, as that way they won’t be tempted to say no to whole package you’re offering. The customer may say no, but if you, again, make it relevant and attractive to what they have already said yes to, you may just persuade them.
By building customer relationships based on trust, you will find you will sell more and more easily. Its’ important to be honest with your customers, give them a good and reliable service, and they will keep on coming back. Underhandedness plays a far too prominent role in the sales world these days, and people aren’t stupid – they know it when they see it. So, by offering them something worthwhile you will be on the road to success in no time. For more information on sales, pop over to our help centre.
Published Wednesday January 14, 2015