Great article Taylor! There are many people who get nervous when it comes to sales, and I think you are right - the trick is to allow them to explain their needs much more than anything else, and THEN the follow-up is to check to see if their needs are being met. Well done!
No pressure sales
Sales doesn't need to be a pressure cooker situation if you focus on letting go instead of hanging on too tight.
One of the key lessons I've learned about sales has come down to recognizing a very simple fact: You, the salesperson, don't get to decide if the person you're selling to is buying. That person decides if s/he wants to buy. In a tough economy, it can be easy to forget this fact, especially when you feel hungry for sales, but that's when you especially need to remember this fact. A great sales person recognizes that to really close the sale, trust needs to be established first. There are a few ways a salesperson can establish trust right from the very beginning:
1. Listen. Really listen to what the person has to tell you about his/her situation. Ask questions at appropriate moments, but otherwise keep quiet and listen until the person starts to ask you questions about how you can help him/her resolve the situation s/he needs help with.
2. Don't go into sell the first time. The first time you meet someone about your service, explain that your purpose in meeting that person is to learn about that person's situation, and explain what your service does to determine if there's a mutual fit. Also explain that you aren't coming to get a sale, but just to provide information. the reason you only want to provide information is simple: You don't want to make the person feel pressured to make a decision. That person will want to spend some time considering what s/he has learned and likely won't be ready, unless s/he tells you that s/he is ready to proceed.
3. Know when to back off. You might be tempted to push for a sale in your first meeting, but it's very important that you know when to back off. Remember your first meeting is an informational meeting, unless the person indicates they are ready to move forward. If they aren't ready to move forward, ask them if you can follow up with them in a week, and also them that there's no pressure and when they are ready to move forward to let you know. The benefit of doing this is that you are letting them know they have control over the situation and over their choice to do business with you.
4. Follow-up. Follow-up when you told the person you would follow-up. Following up helps to establish trust. You want to establish trust, because trust, more than anything else, is what will determine if the person chooses to buy from you. At the same time, when you follow-up focus on learning any objections, and if there are none, then move to close the sale. If there are objections, answer them as best you can and if there is still objections, tell the person to contact you when they are ready. Check-in occasionally with them and otherwise don't worry about it. You can't control their choices and it's better to focus your efforts in other directions until the person is ready to make a decision.
Sales doesn't need to be a pressure cooker situation for you or for the people you want to sell to. Building rapport, asking questions, listening, and knowing when to give space, but also follow-up can help you create a sales situation where the person feels safe enough to say yes to your services. After that yes occurs, don't be afraid to offer additional services. The customer will know in the end what s/he definitely wants and what may need to wait for a later time. If you need to wait to offer one service, focus on doing the best job you can with the service you are providing, so that you make a positive impression on the person and make it easier to discuss additional services down the line. Most important though is remember that all the steps I mentioned above can and should be employed not only during your sales process, but also during your service process.
Learn more about the author, Taylor Ellwood.
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- customer rapport
- client satisfaction