I often say that the lesser known sales skill is thinking. What you think about your selling is often a predictor of whether or not you will be successful at selling. Here are some thoughts that will help you sell or derail your success.
What type of buyer am I working with?
Your job in sales can be more or less difficult depending on your prospect’s perspective of how risky the purchase is. A purchase is risky if it’s well out of range of a buyer’s typical purchasing authority. Your job as a salesperson is easier when you learn the buyer’s purchasing authority range during the sales process. Just knowing the authority isn’t enough. You also have to determine if the buyer is a risk taker.
Just because someone can make a purchase doesn’t mean he will. You increase the probability of a sale when you are working with a risk taker. Changing suppliers is a risk. Your work to sell when the buyer isn’t a risk taker is to demonstrate proof of performance of what you say you can do. You reduce the perception of risk when you can prove what you say.
Does my customer really know why he should buy?
One of the surest ways to know that you are more likely to make a sale is when prospects tell you that they want or need what you have to sell. I find that this emotional connection to a product or service makes the sale highly probably.
You have sales work to do unless you hear a prospect tell you that he wants what you have to sell. In most cases salespeople forget that customers often don’t see the urgency of their problem. If buyers did, they would have called you, and you wouldn’t have to call them for an appointment.
I only had one sales miracle in my career where the sales call started off with the buyer saying that he wanted to buy from me right now. You have work to do unless you have your sales miracle. Your job to sell is to ask strategic questions so your customer answers with reasons of why he wants to buy.
What proof do I have to confirm what I think?
Good salespeople know what signs to read that indicate emotions that impact a sale like prospect interest, doubt, or indecision. They watch for body position to see if the prospect is facing the salesperson or facing away. They know that facing the salesperson is good and facing away is not. Good salespeople watch for distance to judge interest. They determine if the distance between the prospect and the sales materials they give to the prospect is small or large. Greater distance means less interest. Closer distance is more interest.
Not only are good salespeople able to read the signs, they take the next step to confirm what the signs mean. Those salespeople might say, “It seems to me that this issue is important for you to address. Am I correct?” It’s the salesperson who makes assumptions and then acts on those assumptions without confirmation who gets into trouble.
I often tell my customers that the only information they can use to confirm their sales strategy is what the prospect says or does. What the salesperson thinks does not count.
You may disagree that thinking is a necessary sales skill. You’re going to have to change your prospect’s thinking unless your prospect wants what you have to sell. Have you thought about how you’re going to change his mind? Now do you see that thinking is an essential selling skill?