Sales is hard. It’s a competitive world out there. There are loads of talented people, and equally professional businesses to yours. So how do you stand out from the white noise of the competition and win that work?
There’s a lot to be said for understanding the traditional sales process. But you need to know how your reliance on passé sales methods may in fact be causing your customers to back away from your sales offer.
Instead, challenge your sales process. How do you engage with your customers and make them feel valued? How do you position yourself and your solution so it becomes the only logical choice?
Here’s 5 sales strategies to help you stand out from the crowd and win that work:
Provide a Clear, Actionable Offer.
Customer confusion is a sales killer. We think that customers only have 2 choices; to choose you or a competitor. Actually they have 3: they can choose to make no decision. And that’s where your sales funnel stalls.
Anywhere from 20-60% of sales in your pipeline will be lost to ‘no decision’ rather than to your competitors. Why do so many people not make a decision? It comes down to 2 things. One, they get confused – the customer doesn’t truly understand how your solution will help them. Two, there’s no urgency to move ahead right now. In other words, there’s no compelling reason for the customer to change. If they’re confused or don’t see why they should do something now, they won’t do anything.
Your job is to challenge the status quo, to disrupt their thinking (in a nice way of course). You need your prospects to see that change is necessary, and that there’s pain attached to doing nothing. Your prospect needs to see that your solution is the only possible pathway forward. For example, are there safety risks if they do nothing? Will it cost them more if they do nothing?
Establish a buying vision (a case for why the prospect needs to change) centred around how the prospect’s world will change for the better by taking on your solution. For example, if you’re an electrician, create the vision that your prospect will be able to enjoy dinner in peace knowing their toddler will no longer be able to trip over power cords or harm themselves on the power-plug that you’ve removed from the floor.
Find your Value Lever
The difference between you and your competitors may not be all that much. In fact, its highly likely that more than 70% of what you offer can be done equally well by someone else.
Rather than focussing on what you do that is the same as others, tune into your value lever; the things you do that others don’t. This value lever must be unique to you and important to the customer. And you must be able to provide proof that it adds value to your offer.
This will help prevent you getting hooked into a price war with your competitors. Also, don’t get hooked into defining ‘why us’. You want your prospects to be thinking about ‘why change’ and ‘why now’. Demonstrating the unique value of your solution will help lever you ahead of the competition.
Tell Compelling Stories
People have been telling stories since the dawn of time. Why? Because they’re interesting and they help people to understand things better. We relate to the story, and to the story-teller.
To create a powerful perception of value, consider telling the ‘before’ story (before your solution) and the ‘after’ story of how life will be different with your solution in place. This contrast of what is and what could be helps to create a compelling need for your solution in the mind of the customer.
And don’t be afraid to add emotion. If the customer feels nothing, they won’t buy. People take action because they feel something about the solution. If they feel nothing, why change?
Your story should include case studies or testimonials of people who were challenged by a similar situation and how your solution made their lives easier, more fun, less stressful and easier.
Use Visual Props
Around two thirds of people prefer to take in information visually, rather than simply hearing it.
So don’t lecture your prospects – instead show them something to engage them. Use props that make the prospect sit up and pay attention. Props are memorable, interesting and help people understand complex ideas more easily. Show the customer what you’re installing, provide a mock-ups of the finished job. Let the customer touch and feel your props too – this will engage them far more than simply hearing you drone on about what you’re going to do.
Make the Customer the Focal Point
Most salespeople over-talk. They go on and on and can bore the customer senseless. Try making the customer the hero of your conversation and see your sales turn around.
Ask them questions and really listen to their answers. Find out what’s important to them and what vision they have; don’t impose yours.
Instead of spending time reciting your carefully prepared ‘elevator pitch’, spend time in discovery. Be interested in the customer. Show them you care about what they think.
Sales can be fun. Particularly when you’re winning work. Use these 5 techniques to build stronger relationships, more meaningful discussions and more frequent sales orders with your customers.
Sharon Kaibel from AchieverNet is a trainer in Sales and Customer Service, Leadership, Productivity and Presentation Skills. Call AchieverNet on 1300 402 722 to find out how you can win more work.