When it comes down to it, the primary purpose of any business is to sell a product or service; and to sell something, the buyer must believe that buying a product or using a service will provide a level of satisfaction that is worth him parting away with his money (the cost of said product or service).
Sometimes the demand for a product or service is so high that little to no convincing is needed; picture thousands queuing for days outside the Apple store to buy the latest iPhone.
However in most cases, we face a potential customer who either has choices and options provided by your competition or it is an undecided customer who is actually not aware or adequately informed of your product or service. As a businessman, it is your main duty to get as much people aware of the product or service you offer in the first place, but secondly, also to convince potential buyers to buy what it is that you have to sell.
Convincing someone of something is a skill that can be useful in all walks of life. It is said that you are only ever either influencing someone or being influenced by someone. From negotiating a lower haircut price to writing a research paper, the need for persuasion is pervasive and in this post we are going to look at 15 sales tips to help you close that deal.
#1. Firm Handshake
The handshake has come to symbolize a business relationship and aptly so. It is as formal as a physical touch can be but social and welcoming at the same time.
A firm handshake communicates a subliminal message of strength. A firm handshake puts you in a confident position vis a vis the person whose hands you are shaking. These vibes of strength should make you come across as more confident, direct and on top of things and life in general – the type of person people want to say yes to and do business with.
#2. Do Not be Apologetic
When asking for something, people tend to subconsciously accept a weaker position because they are the one doing the asking, and if they not well-prepared, tell-tale signs of nervousness such as speaking in a low baritone voice and avoiding eye contact will undo their efforts.
Considering that 80% of communication is non-verbal, the subconscious cues you will be bouncing off in this state of mind are something along the lines of “I’m not very confident in what I’m talking about” ,“ I already know you are going to reject me, so I’m just saying this for the sake of it”, “I cannot look you in the eye because you are about to reject me and hurt my feelings”; all these negative subliminal cues can only get you a negative response.
Instead, project confidence, dress well, speak confidently and maintain eye contact. We will be expanding on each of these subsequently in this article.
#3. Yes, Yes, Yes
It is a well-known industry secret that people are more likely to say yes to a proposition if you have them agreeing with previous propositions or statements before going for the main question. For example in a scenario were one is trying to sell a pen:
“But sir, you will agree that it is a beautifully made pen right?”…yes;
“And in your business, you probably do use up quite a lot of pens every month, so both quality and economy are important to you, right?”….yes;
“So if we can supply the number of pens you require every month at the best prices you will get in the market for such quality, would you want to do business with us?”….hopefully you will get a yes to this too.
This is no silver bullet and will not work all the time. But is just one of the positive techniques you can use to sway your potential customer.
#4. Be Persistent: 3 Times Ask Rule
Persistence is key. However, you do not want to go over what is considered reasonable. The art here is being able to ask the same question in different ways and not come across as deaf, emotionally insensitive or downright desperate.
#5. Bond Before you Ask
Before going for the ultimate question, which is always going to be something along the lines of so will you….buy/come/accept/be interested in etc..try bonding with your prospect first.
Open them up by asking some light conversational questions and listen to their answers for mutual grounds to bond on, e.g sports rivalries etc.
Also be mindful of a person’s tone or the level of enthusiasm in their responses to gauge how long you can bond with them. But the ideal would be to get them laughing and opening up emotionally before you ask them the million dollar question.
There might be cultural variables to this though; for example, this approach is almost standard in Middle-Eastern cultures whereas Americans are known for their “let’s get down to business” attitude. But these are gross generalizations and between both ends of the spectrum are individual people, some open to a little banter, some not, and you wouldn’t know until you try!
#6. Appeal to their Interests, Not Emotions
This is not as difficult as it may seem at first. It does not mean that you have to come bearing expensive gifts, but just spend some time to actually think about what the other person has to gain from going along with your suggestion, and focus on that as opposed to telling them what it will mean for you if they did or how happy it would make you feel, or how badly you need the deal.
Not only does an emotional appeal sound desperate, it does a lot more harm than good for your reputation.
#7. Know your Product
This goes without saying but it is important that you know the product or service you are selling inside out.
While arousing interest is part one of a sale, you are going to get a lot of questions afterwards about your products and services and there is no bigger deal breaker than being asked a question about the product that you do not have the answer to.
#8. Always Aim to Close
This means it is not over until it is signed sealed and delivered. It is not ideal to try to leave things till another day if that can be avoided. It also means there has to be a sense of urgency attached to the sale, a reason why it is better to close now and not wait till later.
#9. Use Imagery to Your Advantage
It is a very useful skill to be able to put your prospect at the place of having bought what it is you are trying to sell and make him see life from that viewpoint and how awesome it will be and how it will be so much better than their current state of lack of your wonderful product or service.
This approach is most evidently used in commercials and promotions for cars and luxury items like watches and perfumes, where imagery conveys the whole new level of class that can only be attained by the items being advertised.
#10. Read Their Body Language
Being able to read someone’s body language is crucial. It can tell you when you have struck a positive cord with someone or a negative one. Did your prospect lean in towards you because of a point you raised, change their facial expression to something less inviting as a result of something you said? are they facing you are they mimicking your body posture? All these things mean something……to the initiated.
However, reading these signs is the first step, the second step is to actively tune, tweak and compensate for all this on the go. The most successful sales people are those who do this effectively.
#11.Treat Everybody Like They are Important
I read an interview of a celebrity once, and he shared how he was once advised that everybody has an invisible sign on their forehead, and the sign reads “treat me like I’m special”.
We feel there is profound truth to this statement. Politeness like chivalry may be dead these days but not for the master salesman.
#12. Strike the Iron When It’s Hot
This is something you can only learn with experience – knowing the right time to make your move. Sometimes you can simply blow a deal by being hasty, while the right way is to be a bit more patient and waiting for the other person to make a move.
Similarly, you, as a salesperson, want to wait till the moment is just right to say something crucial or ask the big question.
We hope you guys enjoyed this post, and remember, sales is as much about persistence and learning through trial and error as it is about confidence and communication skills. If you want to share any experiences or sales tips of your own with us, please comment below.