Worried about making sales? If you want your business to survive, you better be. There is no ingredient more important to keeping your company alive than insuring your sales team is thoughtfully interacting with customers. Successful selling doesn't require hounding, bargaining with, or pressuring the customer--it requires understanding the anatomy of a sale, and then taking specific actions with each customer. Whether you have star salespeople or just average ones, you can help them to satisfy your customers by molding their mindset around 4 simple pillars.
1. Money doesn't matter most. Customers never make their buying choice using money as their first criteria. Think of it like this: if a customer walks into a store looking to buy a black shirt, and he wears an extra large, but all you have on hand is a small in the style he likes, you're not going to get him to buy it anyway just by offering it to him for half off. He wants a shirt that fits. Cheap, expensive, or priced spot-on doesn't matter a bit if the customer doesn't see value in the product. Your sales rep has to understand this to really see why discounts and promotions shouldn't be part of their path to a close.
2. Need is always at the heart of the sale. Let's take that same scenario above. The customer, seeing that the black shirt he wanted is not available now has two options: leave empty-handed or find something else that will meet his needs. The sales rep has to understand that she can't just walk over to a brown shirt and say, "How about this one?" with no introduction or explanation. She can, however, guide the customer and help him leave happy with a new shirt if she learns what the customer needs. What did the customer like about the first shirt? Could a shirt of another color work or does it have to be black? Discovering what the customer really desires is your sales rep's key to closing.
3. Confidence counts. Confidence is both contagious and a two way street. When the customer above does not find his size in his first choice shirt, he feels let down, disappointed. If the sales rep above says something generic like "Well, we have a lot of other great shirts. Why don't you look around?", she won't close. If, on the other hand, she confidently walks the customer over to an alternate shirt and says "I think this shirt would look great on you--and it is one of the softest ones we have!" The customer will give the shirt a real look. He, too, will feel confident that he can find what he is looking for in this store, because he can tell the sales rep truly believes this shirt would be a good choice. As he gains confidence, he lets down the walls that block the purchase, and then can decide to spend with assurance.
4. Closing requires clarity. Even once the customer has found something he feels confident fits his needs, it is possible to lose the sale. The customer may get distracted, the line may appear too long, etc. The best way to avoid losing the customer is to layout the next steps to helping him leave happy. If the sales rep above has confirmed that the shirt fits, that the client likes it, and that he has gotten any other items he might be looking for, then the sale needs to be brought to completion by the rep clearly stating how to make the purchase, "It looks like we got you everything you needed today. I can take you to the register and get you checked out."
Salespeople need to understand that helping a prospect is like going on a journey with him. They need to start at a meeting point, discuss where they are headed, agree to travel together, and finally, arrive at the destination.