Coming from a family who’s been in retail for over 100 years, I have several unique perspectives on sales.
To begin with, Winning Appliances and Appliances Online are in the business of selling, yet not in the traditional sense of “sales”. We aim to add value and offer the information and advice customers need to come to a decision: not push them to a decision.
On the other hand, I’ve had countless salespeople call, write, email and even turn up, over the years. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the worst.
My premise on selling is simple: be dynamic.
1. Forget what you want
Multiple times a day someone asks if they can have 10 minutes of my time. If they can come in for a meeting. If I’ll come to their offices. If I can introduce them to the marketing team.
This tactic falls over because it’s requiring something of the sales target before they’ve even been promised something in return. Forget what you want: offer value immediately, and the next stage will happen on its own.
2. Don’t “always be closing”
I love this scene in Glengarry Glen Ross, but it frightens me to know that this is how salesmen often think. If you haven’t seen it, watch this clip.
This is a tactic that was relevant from my door-to-door salesman days – one of my first jobs.
Sure, always be moving forward, but not just trying to get a signature on the dotted line. Close the next stage. Close the introduction. Close the meeting. Close the follow-up. Step through the sales process, as each stage is important to the final outcome. Don’t just try and close the sale itself: if you get the lead up right, it’ll close itself.
3. Be dynamic
Some salespeople understand the above, but are too inflexible about what the customer might want.
I know that our marketing team have often requested media kits or case studies via email only to be told by the salesperson that they’d have to come in for a meeting to show me. That they could explain over the phone, but it’d be better in person.
While I’m all for face-to-face communication, customers purchase in different ways. Sometimes face-to-face isn’t practical: I know that many of our key decision-makers prefer calls and emails because it allows them to be more flexible with their time. Take time to understand how each customer wants to interact with you.
4. Know the value of a client and the cost of your product
I was recently in discussion with a software provider that is in competition with one of our current suppliers. We were keen to get on board but we were stuck in our current contract for another 12 months.
He then offered us the product at no cost for 12 months, and would match the current supplier’s cost from then on. He understood two things:
- We’d been with our current provider for several years and, given that their product met our needs and was more advanced, we would likely become a long-term customer.
- Their product has already been developed and there would be minimal ongoing cost for them to offer it at no cost.
He was investing in our longevity as a client. It also made it easy to compare providers: one had locked us into a contract; another was offering us 12 months free with no contract. Who would you rather deal with?
It’s like selling raffle tickets for a charity. You can sell them all at three for $5, or you can make deals. How about you buy another $5 worth and I’ll give you five this time? The raffle tickets have no real value, yet the additional revenue does. Of course, this model doesn’t always work – especially not for appliances!
5. Forget your sales pitch
Has your sales pitch developed into a monster? Does it make sense? Does it inspire your customer? Does it offer them anything?
I’ve received so many pitches that have been butchered into obscurity. What does this mean to you? How does it make you feel?
By leveraging multi-channel user insights and pairing dynamic user experiences we can increase lifetime user value…
As soon as I hear language like this, I turn off. It actually turns out that this company has a great product that creates dynamic email marketing campaigns for each user, based on what and how they’ve interacted with our site and emails in the past. That’s something we might actually want.
Forget the superlatives: speak in the customer’s language. Offer them something specific to them and sell them on its value. Making yourself sound clever isn’t as clever as you think!