The majority of people rarely if ever give any thought to the importance of selling in their own lives. Only those living on commissions seem to fully grasp that point. When the subject of selling comes up, people I know usually say things like, “I wouldn’t be good at sales.” Or, “I could never sell anything.” But, these assumptions are, of course, demonstrably false.
Everybody sells. And, professional salespeople certainly aren’t the only ones getting paid for selling. Parents convince kids to clean their rooms. Kids persuade parents to hand over car keys. Companies and employees each sell the other on justifications for their own demands in the employment relationship. Civic leaders motivate neighbors to pitch in physically and economically to better the community’s common facilities and amenities. So, as a part of it all—whether or not you notice it—you are already selling!
Considering this reality, we can see that no one is able to succeed in life without learning how to sell. That means that the best salespeople are not born with natural sales talent; they’re made. That’s good news for aspiring sales professionals. It means that it’s easier to succeed in sales than most people believe. It means that selling is a learned skill set. The best advice you’ll get to boost your effectiveness in sales, is to start with these often overlooked basics.
1. Why Should Anyone Want to Buy From You?
Before you start angling to position your product or service to feature it in its best light for your target audience, take a good look at yourself. Ask yourself how you can better feature yourself in your presentation. The reality is that if the people or person to whom you’re selling is distracted by what they don’t like about you, then it’s harder for them to focus on listening to you.
Additionally, human nature is to resist what we don’t like. So, if your closing averages are low, and you know your product well and aren’t missing anything in presenting its features and benefits, then it’s time to question what you can do to present yourself better.
Evaluate your mirror pitch. Would you buy something from that person in the mirror? If not, why not? Just correct any issues in your demeanor that may be negatively impacting your effectiveness with prospects in your particular target market.
2. Understand Your Prospect’s Motivation.
Who is your target market? Why do you think they should be interested in the product or service you’re selling? How does your product or service provide them with sufficient value to motivate them? Think about what drives one of your prospective new clients to agree to see you for that first meeting? That’s a hot button. So, fully address that particular motivation in your pitch.
3. Keep Your Pitch Simple.
Don’t drone on trying to impress your prospect with your vast product or general industry knowledge. Over-selling typically ends up just watering down the significant points in your pitch. The proof of your knowledge of something is in how well you are able to explain it so that the average person comes away actually understanding it.
So, trim your pitch, and just keep it simple—and as short as possible.
Focus on the needs of the person you’re selling to. Think about how they are likely to feel as a result of your meeting. Improving your approach to make it more prospect-centric will yield sales results that will prove to you that the idea of a “natural-born salesperson” is a myth. You’ll see that you can sell well by applying a few corrections to improve on your efforts.
4. Listen, Instead of Just Waiting to Talk.
Some salespeople are over-excited by how great their product or service is, and can’t seem to discipline themselves to measure their pitch. They race on and on…and on…at peak enthusiasm! Blasting people with this kind of overwhelming energy is sometimes referred to as sucking all of the oxygen out of the room. Let the moment be about the prospect.
The self-collected salesperson does indeed love his/her product or service. But, the professional dials back the zeal enough to execute effective communication of the critical message. And, to listen very carefully to what the prospect is saying. The hallmark of a top sales pro’s pitch is diligence in paying attention to what the prospect communicates about his or her needs, and presenting based on those.
5. Pitch Only to Qualified Prospects.
If the product you sell is priced at $30K, there’s just no point in torturing yourself and some other busy person by pitching it to someone budget-bound to its $2K alternative. An exhausting and all too common error that earnest, uninitiated salespeople make is knocking themselves out selling to anybody who will listen.
Do your preliminary qualification work to ensure that what you’re selling really can serve your prospective client’s needs, and that buying it is currently a realistic option for that person. Completing this standard front-end task puts you in meetings with only qualified prospects. That merciful system preserves your energies and time and makes it much more likely that you will get a sale.
You don’t have to be adept in slick repartee or have a memory steeped in business maxims to be successful in selling. Just learn the selling fundamentals we’ve looked at above, to build relationships with your prospects and existing clients, and to cultivate your understanding of how you can better serve your prospect’s best interests. From these core sales principles, you can develop pure selling techniques that can make you more successful in all professional and personal aspects of your life.
Remember, a great salesperson is not born that way. Everyone must learn to sell, in order to do well in life. And, anyone, including you, can learn to sell well, by learning and applying these basic sales principles.
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