Do you want to know the 5-step process to be able to sell anything to anyone? I worked in sales for quite a while, and I was good at it, so here are my top tips to increase your sales skillset. You might be surprised by the top tip I have at the end.
THE 5 STEPS
There are five steps to a good sales pitch:
- Objection handling
- Follow up
Each of these has its sub-categories, but these are the 5 main things that you must always remember.
STEP 1 — INTRODUCTION
So let’s start with the introduction, this is your ice breaker. This is where you need to display positivity and professionalism if you’re face to face, this means strong body language, smile, eye contact. Over the phone, this means talk clearly, confidently and use ‘tone of voice’ to your advantage. Your prospective customer will decide whether they like you within the first 4 seconds, and if they don’t like you, guess what, they probably aren’t going to buy from you. Remember to keep the introduction brief, if you genuinely only have 60 seconds, you need to lead this conversation and you can’t spend the whole minute discussing the weather. This is also where you will ask your qualifying questions.
What is a qualifying question?
This is where you try to delve into whether the potential customer is going to be interested in your product or service. There are many ways to do this and don’t be afraid to ask personal questions (leading questions work well with this) and make sure you’re armed with facts and figures. If you’re selling an online therapy product proven to help people de-stress, you can lead into a qualifying question like this: “One in four people suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their life, I won’s ask who but I’m assuming you can think of somebody in your life that’s been affected by mental health issues, would that be correct?”. If they say no, that doesn’t mean they won’t buy from you, but if they say yes, and you get them on a role of agreeing with you, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to get them to say “yes” when closing the deal.
STEP 2 — DISCUSSION
This is where you’re going to spend most of your time, and where you establish the problems and paint a picture of you solving them for your customer. You’ve already qualified them; if they had 0 interest, they’d have made an excuse and walked away or hung up the phone by now. Remember that’s all business (and sales in general) is, you have a problem, I have a solution, pay me and it’s all yours.
This is where the emotion comes into play: “How many times have you missed out on seeing friends and family because you’ve been at work doing something that could be streamlined using my product?” or “If I told you right now that in man-hours alone, this product could save you £250,000 every 3 months, what could you do with that extra money?” and get them to tell you, don’t just gloss over visualisation, get them to talk, people love to talk about themselves and their hobbies. Selling a lottery ticket or raffle as an example, ask people what they would do with the winnings, 9 times out of 10 they’ll tell you about taking their kids on holiday, re-living their honeymoon with their spouse, even paying off credit card debt or putting it towards a mortgage. Getting them talking is always a good thing.
They’re now creating these positive thoughts in their head and they’re tying them in with your product and it is subconsciously making them like you more, whether they want to or not.
This is where you’re drilling into them that this product isn’t just an object and you just want their money, you’re genuinely aiming to make their quality of life better and that’s important because if you have a great product, that’s what it will do and that’s why they will buy it. It’s a million times easier to sell a product that you are 100% happy with.
STEP 3 — OBJECTION HANDLING
If there’s an outright “No, thank you for your time, but I don’t want your product” then feel free to ask them for feedback, but at this point, it’s over, no interest is not a level of interest (well done to you if you got that reference). However, anything other than a “no” can potentially be turned into a positive. At this point, if they’re saying “I’ll have to think about it” or “I’m still not sure how it’s going to help” or “I’m just not sure it’s worth the investment” then that isn’t a “no”, that’s them saying “I like the idea, I just don’t trust you enough yet to give you my money” and this is where your job as a salesperson ends and you become a “closer”.
You have to work around these objections and there are lots of ways to do this. You can combat them, don’t ever disagree, a good objection handler will always say “Yes I completely agree with what you’re saying, however…” and then offer your counter-argument. Or you could say “That’s completely understandable, a lot of people have had that same worry, but here’s how we work around it”. That’s a good technique that plays on a human’s natural crowd mentality because then they feel listened to, but they also don’t feel alone, they’re hearing about these other people having doubts but buying from you still and so they’re more likely to do the same (you may also hear this being referred to as “Keeping up with the Jones’”.
Another great way to handle objections is to make them on offer they literally can’t refuse, now this can be a metaphorical offer such as “All this is today, is an investment, you pay me X amount and in 3 months I pay you back triple that, with interest, and every 3 months after that too…” which as you can see is a seemingly good offer. If you can give them a good offer, then do it, this is your product and you can set the price.
If you say to your prospective client “Look, I don’t normally change the price, but I really want you to see how it can help your business because I’d honestly love to work with you long-term, I can do wonderful things for your business and having your company as a client will do amazing things for me too. So I’ll even give it to you for half-price now, and then if you aren’t happy with my product after those 3 months are up, I’ll refund you and be on my way, but if you are, then we can negotiate the price after that time because I’m 100% certain that with this trial you will see the actual value I can offer you.” That is an irrefutable offer, providing you have faith in your product or service, but you can’t sell people crap and expect this to work if you know that they’re going to want a refund after 48 hours.
If you want to sell absolute crap, then you can do, and this guide will work just as well, but make sure you tailor your pitch, don’t offer refunds, and just focus on getting your product in front of as many people as possible, and don’t try and pitch to businesses.
STEP 4 — CLOSE
The next step is to close the deal as quickly as possible, get pen to paper, get something signed and lock that deal into place, don’t lose out after putting in all that work just because you don’t get them signed up in time, you want to sell when they’re at an emotional high. On the graphic below, the blue line represents the positivity level needed to buy, the orange line represents the positivity of the person you’re selling to throughout your pitch.
You’ll notice that the orange line spends a lot more time below the blue line than above it, and once it’s above, you don’t have long before it drops again, no matter how life-changing your product is. Once it drops below, it doesn’t tend to come back up.
STEP 5 — FOLLOW UP
Get that deal closed and get that payment as soon as possible but then follow it up, before you leave, just solidify it. Just a closing statement over a firm handshake “You’ve made a great decision today, I’ll work tirelessly to make sure I bring the best value I possibly can to you and your company, anything you need, just call me, and I’ll see how I can make it happen” or even something more simple if it’s a product, “Thank you so much for your time, I wish you all the best, please get in touch if there’s anything I can do for you whatsoever”. Leave them on a high, make them feel good about themself, make them feel like they’ve just made the best decision of their life.
These 5 steps will help you sell revolutionary accounting software to a fortune 500 company or fruit and veg door to door, if you take nothing else away from this just remember, people buy positivity, people don’t buy a product, they buy you, they buy your brand and they buy based on whether or not your brand ties in with their core values.
TOP TIP: To be amazing at sales, you don’t want to be a salesperson, you want to be a closer, you aren’t “making a sale” you’re closing a deal, and when you change the way you think about selling a product, you’ll see a dramatic difference.