We’ve all, at one point or another come face to face with this exercise. Whether you deem it a sufficient, qualitative gauge of a salesperson’s ability to think on their feet or a cruel request designed to see an inexperienced seller squirm, knowing how to sell and to whom is arguably the most important skill any intrepid entrepreneur should master.
Running a business these days requires more than merely having the right goods and services and offering them at a competitive price. Supply is plentiful and similar products abound – when it comes right down to it, what often seals the deal is the individual’s ability to make a personal connection with the customer. And while this is true for virtually any business across every industry, to a company that is struggling to remain afloat, it becomes all the more important.
Understand Your Customer Before You Sell
In spite of what you might think, the challenge of selling someone a pen really can teach you a lot about the finer points of making a sale. For example, if you were to ask someone to sell you a pen and they began naming off painfully obvious features like the fine point tip and dark blue ink, chances that a sale will be made are slim. Why? Because the salesperson didn’t even bother to find out if you preferred a fine point to a medium point, nor did they inquire if you used a blue pen on a daily basis or a black pen. The point is, in order to make a sale, you need to get to know the customer, to know what they are looking for and tailor your approach to that information.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. In order to get to know the person, you have to ask probing questions, the kind of questions that will hint at how they will use the product that you’re hoping to sell, and most importantly, what features will satisfy their needs.
Keep Your Head in the Conversation – the Sale is the Only Thing Worthy of Your Attention
When you’re trying to make a sale but you’ve got something else on your mind, the customer is able to tell that you’re not completely focused on satisfying their needs, and before long, it’s likely they won’t be thinking about the sale either. Whether you’re selling a computer, advertising space, or, a blue pen, your attention cannot waver from the task at hand.
This level of focus can be tough, especially for entrepreneurs that are constantly thinking about their business’ financial health. If you are extolling a great deal of mental energy trying to determine whether or not your business can remain viable until your client’s make payment, that’s a portion of your attention that is not focused on the customer. When cash flow is tight, many companies turn to a purchase order financing firm to give them peace of mind.
Essentially, a purchase order financing company will purchase your accounts receivables at a discount so that you can get the cash you need to run your business.
Don’t Memorize Sales Figures – Instead, Tell Stories
Humans are driven by emotion – not facts. People connect with stories, feel inspired by events experienced by those that they feel are like them. When it comes to brass tax, it won’t be the number of units already sold that will sway your customer (surprisingly, many companies think it will) it will be the anecdotes.
Always Be Learning
A good salesperson is never content with what they already know. Likewise a good salesperson is always refining their craft and their approach to selling. Talk to other people in sales, learn what works for them and, if it’s the right fit, do your best to emulate their success.
Listen to Those Around You
Conventional wisdom says that you need to talk in order to sell, but that’s not necessarily true. If you’re face to face with a potential client and you can tell that they love to talk, let them. Eventually, they will give you all the information that you will need in order to close the sale.
Selling is just as much an art as it is a science; to be successful you need to be able to find the right balance.