Have you ever been in a selling situation where you thought to yourself, “There’s got to be a better way…”?
Well, there probably is.
A wave of new data is revealing what sales techniques actually work in today’s marketplace.
This research is absolutely stunning: We live in a unique time in history when we finally have empirical, hard data on what’s working in sales.
What’s most shocking is that the best sales techniques today can be achieved by making simple changes right away to your selling approach.
These little tweaks to the way you sell can go a really long way.
In this video, I’m going to show you 13 sales techniques you must know right now. Check it out:
Sales Techniques Video Summary:
Sales Techniques Tip #1: Break the pattern with your opening.
Do you ever think about what those first couple of seconds of an interaction are going to be like for your prospect?
When you get someone on the phone, or when you sit down with someone face-to-face, the first couple of seconds will dictate how they feel about you for the rest of the interaction.
And yet, most salespeople don’t think about what they’re going to say or do in the opening to those initial conversations.
Breaking the pattern first requires that we understand what most salespeople are doing in this situation. I’ll give you an example. Most salespeople sound like this at the beginning of a sales call: “Hey, George! Marc Wayshak calling! How are you today?!”
Now, what about that call immediately lets the prospect know that you’re a salesperson? Pretty much everything. There’s too much excitement and enthusiasm. Everything is predictable and reliable.
Instead, the new data shows that the best sales technique is to break the pattern by taking a different approach. Your new opening should be calm and measured, sounding something like this: “Hey, George. Marc Wayshak calling. How have you been?”
Think about the difference between those two situations. Not only is the tonality lower (no exclamation points) but you’re asking “How have you been?” instead of “How are you?!”
Data shows that when you start a conversation with a sincere “How have you been?” you have a six times higher likelihood of setting an initial face-to-face meeting. That’s really powerful stuff.
Sales Techniques Tip #2: Tell them the reason for your call.
Once you’ve asked, “How have you been?” and gotten a response, it’s time to follow up with, “The reason for my call is ________.”
Fill in the blank with the reason for you call—it’s as simple as that. In most cases, the reason for your call is to get a sense of what’s really going on in their world.
Just tell them your reason. It doesn’t have a to be a big explanation, but just a basic reason.
Of all the sales techniques out there, this might be the simplest, and most powerful. That data shows that by stating the reason for your call, you’re two times likelier to get through to an initial sales meeting with a prospect.
So, get right to the point. A buyer or decision maker is really going to appreciate it.
Sales Techniques Tip #3: Give an overview of the challenges you’re seeing right now.
When most salespeople get a prospect on the phone, they go immediately into their pitch. They start talking about all the features and benefits of their product, or how great their company is.
But in reality, your prospects don’t care about you or your offering. All they care about is themselves.
What you want to do is present yourself as a true expert—someone who really understands what’s going on in their world—by giving them a basic overview of the challenges you’re seeing in their industry.
Mine sound like this: “George, right now I’m seeing a lot of companies that are struggling with their salespeople not making enough calls, not getting through to decision makers, and not getting a good ROI on their sales activities. Do any of those issues ring true to you?”
What we’re doing is essentially giving them a list of common challenges. Of course, you have to fill in those challenges or frustrations with what makes sense in your world.
In my world, I talk about sales challenges and then engage prospects in a conversation about those key challenges. What challenges will you talk about?
Sales Techniques Tip #4: Get prospects to tell their story.
Powerful new data shows that when we can get a prospect to talk for around 100 seconds about their story in that initial call, we have a much higher likelihood of ultimately getting that meeting.
This sales technique is all about doing everything you can to get the prospect engaged to start talking and telling their story.
By story, I don’t mean life story, but rather the challenges they’re facing, the frustrations they have, and what they’re looking to accomplish.
Whatever can get them to have that conversation in a way that’s really focused on them, we want to do. Once you can do this, you’re much more likely to ultimately set that meeting, and finally get that sale.
Sales Techniques Tip #5: Understand the upside.
Most salespeople skip this step. To understand the upside, you need to engage prospects in a conversation about their challenges.
Once you’ve gotten them talking about their challenges, they start to see value in a solution. But there’s no tangible value until it’s actually been stated what solving those challenges will mean to them in dollars.
Imagine your prospect is talking about business challenges that pertain to whatever it is that you solve. They say, “We’re trying to do this but so far nothing has really worked.”
Then you say something like, “George, if you were able to solve this challenge what would it mean to the organization?” Now, we’re starting to get the prospect to paint a picture of what a solution means in terms of upside.
If you want to be really hardcore, you could get them to articulate a specific dollar amount: “George, if you were able to solve this sales-related challenge, what could it mean in additional revenue to the organization?”
This is a question I ask every single prospect I ever sit in front of. What always happens is they give me really big numbers.
When they tell me, “If we’re able to solve these challenges it would mean an additional $10 million in revenue,” suddenly a half-million dollar consulting contract doesn’t seem like a lot of money.
Sales Techniques Tip #6: Make it personal.
So often, we want to focus on the business side of the challenge. But the data shows, and psychology has taught us, that every single buying decision has some personal motivation behind it.
Every prospect has a personal objective behind making a buying decision. What we want to do is go from the business objective to the personal objective.
You might want to say something like, “George, I really appreciate what you’ve shared with me so far. But behind every business objective is a personal objective. What would it mean to you personally if we were able to solve these challenges?”
If you’ve built a strong relationship throughout this conversation, your prospect will open up about how this is really affecting them. They’re going to say things like, “You know what? If I don’t solve this, I could be out looking for a job,” or, “This really matters, so that way I can help pay for my kids to attend college.”
Get to that personal motivation and you’ll create so much value.
Sales Techniques Tip #7: Budget is everything.
The data shows that top performers are having the budget conversation later in the interaction with prospects. They’re talking about budget later on in the buying process.
Average performers typically start talking about price early on in the conversation.
We want to make sure that we’re not just having a pricing conversation, but a budget conversation. Any salesperson can say, “This is going to cost $100,000.” But what takes skill is having a conversation around budget that sounds like this: “You told me already that if you were able to solve the challenges we’ve discussed it could mean $10 million in additional revenue to your organization. What kind of a budget do you think you might be able to pull together in order to solve these challenges?”
If the prospect says, “Well, you know what, I’m not really sure yet,” that’s fine. Now you’re just going to say something along the lines of, “Totally makes sense. Typically a project like this is going to range anywhere from about $300,000 to $700,000. Where on that spectrum could you see yourself fitting?”
You’re throwing out some numbers, but it’s a really wide range, and you’re getting them to pick the budget. Throwing out a wide range of pricing options is so much more important than just throwing out a single price. Budget is everything.
Sales Techniques Tip #8: Understand the decision-making process.
Research shows that one of the biggest complaints that prospects have about salespeople in general is that they don’t take the time to truly understand the prospect organization’s decision-making and buying process.
As a result, a sale that could’ve otherwise happened, doesn’t. Or maybe it’s set back and takes far longer to close than it should have.
This is one of those sales techniques that has nothing to do with your abilities of persuading or creating value. It’s just about asking the right questions to understand the decision-making process.
Simple questions like, “George, could you walk me through what a typical decision looks like at your organization?” can be all you need.
Understanding who’s involved, what it looks like, and how they go about doing it, is going to make you so much stronger than ever before.
Sales Techniques Tip #9: Make clear and scheduled next steps.
There’s nothing sadder to me than watching a salesperson do everything right, and then at the end of a conversation, say, “Hey, would it be OK if I followed up with you sometime next week?”
Then they leave the prospect with a wishy-washy, unclear next step.
This is devastating, because it creates so much opportunity for the sale to fall apart. In fact, top performers are significantly more likely to spend a clear portion of the end of any conversation discussing nothing but next steps.
The end of every conversation with a prospect should include getting a clear and scheduled next step. By scheduled, I mean literally getting it into their calendar.
Sales Techniques Tip #10: Only present to their challenges.
Have you ever been in a selling situation where you’re giving a presentation, and you’re feeling great about how it’s going, but then you go off on a little tangent…and you can see you’ve lost the prospect’s attention?
Then, for the rest of the conversation, you’re thinking, “Did I just hurt that sale?” The answer, of course, is that you did. You did hurt that sale.
We’ve all been there.
The reality is, we only want to present the solutions to prospects’ challenges, nothing more. Keep your presentation as short as possible. All you’re trying to do in that presentation is make sure you demonstrate that you can solve those challenges.
It doesn’t have to be a huge, magnificent presentation. You should simply go through a checklist of the challenges that were mentioned and how you’re going to solve each one.
Do that and you’ll show the buyer that you understand them better than any other salesperson they’ve ever dealt with before.
Sales Techniques Tip #11: Keep it under 60 seconds.
Recent data shows that top performers almost never talk for more than 72 seconds without re-engaging the prospect in that conversation.
What this means is that they’re never giving monologues. The same data shows that no closing presentation had any period where the salesperson spoke for more than about 100 seconds before there was some type of a switch in who the speaker was.
This tells us that prospects are losing their interest when we go on for too long in that presentation. We’ve all seen this happen.
What we have to do is make sure that we’re never going on for more than 60 seconds before we’re re-engaging them back into the conversation. This sales techniques gets them to buy into the conversation and share their thoughts.
Sales Techniques Tip #12: Use feedback loops.
Feedback loops are the best sales technique for re-engaging prospects back into any conversation.
A feedback loop sound something like this: “Does that make sense?” or “Before I go any further, are we still on the same page?” or “How does that sound to you?”
These tiny questions pull prospects back into the conversation, and give them the opportunity to provide feedback on how they feel about what you just said.
Feedback loops pull them back in. Does that make sense? (See what I did there?)
Sales Techniques Tip #13: Get bored of using the same process over and over—then do it again.
You’re probably thinking, “What is this guy talking about? Get bored?” That’s exactly right.
The best salespeople are highly systematic. It’s not about getting creative in the sales process; it’s about using the same exact system over and over and over again. And then starting it over once more.
Make sure that the process is an effective sales process driven by sales techniques that actually work. Use that process and follow it exactly every time, without exception.
Get all of your creative needs met in putting together some marketing brochure, or when you go home and paint for fun. Sales isn’t about creativity; it’s about following a systematic process.
If you do that, you’re going to become better and better, because you’re going to continue to slowly but surely refine that process over time. Use that same process over and over again.
So, there you have it. There are 13 sales techniques you must know right now. I want to hear from you. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comment section to get involved in the conversation.