If you’re going to be having sales conversations with potential clients you might as well be really good at them.
After all: being really good at guiding your sales conversations in a way that makes a sale more likely takes the same amount of time and effort as being average at guiding them so that a sale becomes less likely.
Of course, not all sales conversations can become sales. But of those that possibly can, you want 100% of them to become your sales – and not somebody else’s. More sales create new opportunities, stronger business relationships and increased referrals – not to mention additional revenue.
You only need to learn to be good at this once in order for it to pay you back forever.
If this makes some sense to you then you might like to take a quick look at this.
It sometimes seems that potential buyers of our products or services come in one of two modes:
- Flat out not interested or
- Ready-to-buy, tongue out, wallet at the ready
Give the same fixed-price product to a hundred business-owners and within three months 20% of those business-owners will be selling 80% of the products.
Selling success is not determined by the product, its price, the market or the economy. It’s determined by the presence – or otherwise – of basic skills in the seller.
Ethical, effective selling skills are learnable skills.
As you learn more, you sell more. There’s a simple cause-and-effect relationship at work here. Applying those skills to the conversations you have with would-be customers causes the kind of effects you would want for your revenue aspirations.
Sell better, sell more. That’s pretty much how it works.
Your ability to convert a person’s initial interest in your product or service into actual, paid business directly affects your firm’s revenues and your income.
Different prospective clients (or ‘prospects’, as we usually call them) require different levels of sales ability if you’re to convert their initial interest into actual, paid business.
Some people represent easier sales than others. Some people call you already 90% decided that they’re going to buy from you. Others call you already 90% decided that they’re not going to buy from you. Clearly, one is more difficult to sell to than the other.
You can grade any potential customer according to how easy or difficult it’s likely to be to convert them into actual customers. For example:
People don’t buy products or services because they want those products or services.
They buy them for the benefits and advantages they perceive they will gain by their purchase.
Nobody buys a drill because they want a drill. They buy a drill because they want holes.
We wrote a little while about listening skills and how to do better at properly, actively listening. (See here). That earlier post described an approach – using actual active-listening skills. this post gives some additional tips.
When reading these think about times when a person you’ve spoken to hasn’t given you these considerations. Then you’ll know how it feels and so you can hopefully avoid visiting the same annoyances on others.
Here we go:
At its most basic you need a strategy for bringing your products and services to the attention of people who would be willing to pay for them.
Having achieved that you need a strategy for converting that interest into purchasing decisions.
One without the other is pointless.
Whatever it is that we think we sell what we actually sell is (re)assurance.
Our would-be customer wants just two, simple things from us:
We sell marketing and sales courses and they help firms increase market share and revenues in the present. This is great for our clients and we can describe our offering in compelling terms: earn the revenue you need to grow, earn the personal income you need to afford the lifestyle you aspire to, increase your market share, expand your business horizons and so on.
These are the immediate benefits of using our services – the more obvious ones, perhaps.
But what are the more far-reaching benefits? What other aspects of their business can this value create a desirable impact on?
There are numerous reasons why you might hear the word ‘no’ – or some similar word or phrase – from the mouth of a prospective customer.
‘No’ often follows your request for some sort of commitment – a commitment to meet, for example, or a commitment to try out the product, a commitment to hire your service or buy your product – and so on.
And so one common reason you will encounter ‘no’ is because you asked the commitment question too early. You asked the potential customer to agree to something before you had given her sufficient cause to feel that this would be a good thing for her to do.
So her default response is a self-protecting, low-risk ‘no’.