The daughter of a close friend reached out to ask me about getting into sales. As a recent graduate with a BA in fine arts, she would like to explore a more financially sustainable career path. She’s also emotionally intelligent and imagined having to use old-school sales techniques that few people in her generation find appealing.
Typical of many, she imagined a selling job as one fraught with competitive pressure, high stress, constant cajoling of clients and having to account for her every move. Interestingly, she was paralyzed by the initial concept of making a cold introduction, presenting a product, and following through on the process. In essence, imagining these unseemly and distasteful sales techniques freaked her out.
The best sales techniques are the ones that feel comfortable to you
As we talked, she impressed me with natural curiosity and a self-assured comfort in speaking about her areas of expertise. As an experiment, I asked her to “sell” me on a regime of yoga and Pilates. We thrust and parried, and, in the end, I was sold.
She rationalized that I was an easy sell because I was interested. Not so! She successfully answered my questions, pointed out the benefits and provided reasons why I should sign up. Writing for the ascent, DP Taylor lines out successful sales techniques and my friend nailed 5 of them:
- An engaging story: She told me about her dance injuries and how Pilates provided relief.
- Emphasize the benefits: She asked about my goals and pain and projected them into my future with a daily regimen of exercise.
- Handle objections: She deftly dispelled my excuse of not having enough time to devote to exercise and finding the right studio.
- Always be positive: She remained positive even as I feigned disinterest.
- Show what’s next: She offered a complimentary session when we meet in person.
The only thing missing was the hard closing sales technique where I could sign the contract!
Recall the anticipation and excitement of that first encounter!
Easier said than done; especially when you’ve been rejected, denied, scorned, or ridiculed. However, I urge salespeople to recall the tactics used when you really wanted to get to know that special person of your youth.
To begin, you likely told a friend to tell that special person that you liked them. Awkward and unreliable at best! Eventually, you realized your credibility was at stake and your sales techniques needed to be more direct.
Now, consider just how organic these tactics were. You used your best skills to engage this person and did not hesitate to repeat the maneuvers that seemed to work. Alternatively, you suppressed the ones that did not get results.
Selling is not much different from asking for that first date
The following actions are adapted from DP Taylor’s article, and they round out the 10 sales techniques that will convince your friend to go out or your client to buy.
6. Find common ground – A great sales technique is to strive to understand your prospective client’s/date’s current situation and show that you are able to provide a solution.
7. Arm yourself with a range of closings – Prepare for objections about timing, location, price, and be quick to offer alternatives.
9. Show how your solutions solve the problem – Point out the advantages of trying your solution and the disadvantage of keeping the status quo.
10. Become more flexible – Be ready to shift strategies or offer alternatives to your initial offering.
10 + 1. Move on from missed opportunities – Last but not least, consider my favorite sales technique: Have your next prospect lined up and be ready to move forward.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.