It began when you were just a little kid. You were trying to convince your parents why you needed a new toy, or a little puppy. When you got a little older, you were selling lemonade on the corner of your street. Fast forward several more years, and you were applying for college. Now, you’re applying for jobs. The fact is, everyone sells. Whether you are an outgoing salesperson, or a brainy scientist, knowing how to sell your product, or yourself, is essential.
Lucky for us, Clive Whittaker, a Sales Manager specializing in emerging technologies and process flow for Par 4 Technology Group stopped by Intelligent.ly providing us with some helpful tips on how to sell effectively. With more than 24 years of sales experience, and more than 14,000 sales calls, he has conducted sales trainings, mentored new salespeople and spent five years as a volunteer teacher in Florida prisons, teaching inmates about the importance of attitude in the workplace. Read on to find out exactly what he suggests for those new to the world of selling.
Profile of a Top Salesman
While not every salesman will share the exact same qualities, there are several traits that you’ll find in most. Most salesmen have a large ego, are highly empathetic, and are very modest (at least to their customer’s face). They love adventure, possess a curiosity about the world, and find themselves unafraid of failure, having failed more than 70% of the time. They often live by a code and follow an established set of rules and guidelines.
When selling, they don’t push things that won’t work, including their product. They have a determination about them, asking a business a minimum of five times before giving up. They “collect people,” always finding valuable connections to add to weave into their network. Finally, they sell their own personal brand, not their company’s.
Four Steps to Selling
One can boil down selling into four simple steps:
Qualifying – You need to qualify both parties. Show the customer you can deliver the product you’re selling them, and that they need your product.
Benefits – No one cares what your marketing department does. They want to know “WIFM” or “what’s in it for me.” Remember, the benefits your product brings to the customer are not the features of the product.
Overcoming Objections – It’s all about how you present your product to your end customers. Before meeting with your customer, you need to figure out how to present your product, and also know the five biggest objections customers will have to buying your product, and how to reply to those concerns.
Closing – Ask for their business. If you’re in customer service, ask “has this call taken care of your needs?” Lead the person closer to the solution they need.
Question Pause Question
Another four part sales strategy Clive recommends and endorses is SPIN selling – situation, problem, implication, needs benefit. To explain this strategy, let’s say you’re selling your customer a wheel wrench.
Situation – You are in your car driving down the highway. It’s a beautiful day, sunny and warm, perfect for a leisurely drive. You’re driving through the mountains, on your way to a picnic. You have your family with you; your kids are in the backseat watching a movie.
Problem – One wheel is loose. You knew about this problem before you went out, but you didn’t think it was a big deal. Besides, the nearest mechanic was far away, and you didn’t want the inconvenience of driving all the way there.
Implication – The wheel fell off, and you crash into another car. Everybody dies except one passenger in the other car.
Needs Benefit – The wheel wrench is a tool that makes tightening the bolts on your tires simple.
Rules to Live by
Finally, every good salesman will live be these rules:
- Know when you suck – Self-awareness is the most important thing. If you’re having a bad day, and do a bad job selling to a customer, be honest and tell them.
- Don’t buy it back – When you make the sale, switch the topic to something light, fluffy. If you sold a Prius, but then mentioned you need to change the battery every three years, and then lost the sale, you bought it back.
- Persistence outweighs resistance.
- Down, right liar – When you’re lying, your eyes go down and to the right.
With these tips and tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be on your way to selling in no time.