Some Comments on Selling Techniques

The more you ask, the more you get

"...8% of sales people get 60% of the business - just by asking..."

Harvard Business Review as quoted by Wayne Mansfield, 2003

The greatest single mistake made by salespeople is not asking for the order. Even those who do ask, quit too soon. For example,

- 44% quit after 1 "no"

- 22% quit after 2 "no's"

- 14% quit after 3 "no's"

- 12% quit after 4 'no's"

In other words, 92% quit after 4 "no's". This means the more you ask, the more you get!!!!!

The Laws of..

- Large numbers - every sales process has a number, eg

i. In the insurance industry, it is 20 calls, 10 people available, 3 will listen and 1 will buy or make an appointment

ii. For advertising space, it is 40 calls, 15 people available, 3 will listen and 1 will buy

- Averages - the more you try, the more the chance of success, ie if you try 20 times, chances of success (all things being equal) are twice as good as if you only tried 10 times. Try 40 times and your chances are 4 times as great.

In buying, emotions are more important than rational thoughts, ie generally people buy on emotions and later they justify the purchase rationally. There are 8 emotional reasons for people to buy, ie prestige, love, curiosity, imitation, fear, rivalry, self-preservation and variety. This highlights the importance of not selling products and/or services, and the need to find out the reasons people want to buy. Furthermore, sales occur in the mind first, ie expectations/perceptions are more important than prospects.

People dislike being sold to but people love to buy. Most people buy from those they trust. Learn to build trust by asking them questions, letting them talk and listening. Furthermore, what you say, how you say it and the impression you create builds trust

· · Persuasive words sell, such as use of personal name, understand, proven, health, easy, guarantee, money, safety, save, new, love, discovery, right, results, truth, comfort, proud, profit, deserve, happy, trust, value, fun and vital. On the other hand, 24 words that foster distrust are deal, cost, pay, contract, sign, try, bad, loss, lose, hurt, buy, death, worry, sell, sold, price, decision, hard, difficult, obligation, liable, fail, liability and failure.

. Advertising thrives in markets where consumers are essentially clueless, ie the quality is hard to assess before you buy the product like medicine, wine, mattresses, etc
. Despite abundant information, consumers often make imperfect decisions. Part of this involves the paradox of choice, ie we have too many options to choose from that we feel overwhelmed and less satisfied with the choices, ie buyer's remorse. Returning to a familiar brand is a mental shortcut that is a lot easier
. On the other hand, social media gathers ratings, reviews, comments from friends, etc and these are more trusted than messages beamed from corporate headquarters
. With many brands under threat, some organisations are looking for inspiration from cult theory, ie all advertising is manipulation and all our needs are unique but we belong to a group. Most cults work on the concept "we feel most like ourselves when we are part of a group", especially if the group offers identity, love and support. Remember that people are not motivated by organisations; they are motivated by other people. Airbnb does not see itself as a cult but organises 1,000+ "meet ups" for users to share their experiences and enthusiasm, ie

"...we're a community-driven brand, but at the same time, we want every host in every home to recognise that they're all individuals, and to use Airbnb is an expression of their individuality..."
Joe Gebba (co-founder of Airbnb) as quoted by Derek Thompson, 2014

One of the hallmarks of a cult is to unite to oppose what they see as an oppressive or illegitimate mainstream culture. The collaborative-economy companies like Airbnb and Uber are proving very successful at exploiting this sense of "us-against-the-world". Apple used it successfully in the 1980s against Microsoft and IBM. Consider its famous hammer-smashing 1984 ad against IBM and its 1998 commercial "crazy ones"

· · The art of selling is to make people feel comfortable when they are dealing with you. If you want to do business, talk quietly and stand far enough away so that they do not feel threatened. When you have gained their trust, they will move towards you. Furthermore, with eye contact, give people the opportunity to feel comfortable by breaking eye contact, ie make eye contact, but do not keep it

 Use your business cards and referrals/testimonials as much as possible. Give your business cards upside down so that the person has to turn it over to read it!!! Furthermore, use the back of your business card to describe what you do, such as products and services you provide.

Be careful of stereotyping or pigeon holing, ie first appearances can be misleading

Prime numbers can be important, ie 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 37, etc

Be positive and talk in the future, and not past, tense; positive, optimistic, ie

Don't say: You wouldn't like to..

Do Say: I'm calling to arrange your free trial...

Don't say: I'm calling to check if you are still coming tomorrow..

Do Say: I'm confirming tomorrow's start time is...

Does the person have the authority to make the purchase? You need to ascertain this because sometimes a person with limited authority is delegated to investigate a purchase decision and to make a recommendation

Use the "silent moment". Silence works for you and helps the prospect make up his/her mind. Many sales have been lost because a salesperson could not keep his/her mouth shut!!!! Silence can mean that the buyer has accepted the proposal emotionally and is now justifying the purchase rationally and logically.

A good salesperson has to be prepared to lose most of the time. The successful ones are not worried by losses. They are like addicted gamblers, ie like the thrill of the chase and are excited by the outside chance of an occasional win. Managing sales people requires acknowledging that they will not always win. It is better to show them that you understand how hard it is to lose. Research (Diane Coute, 2006) has found that it is more than money that drives them; it is the value they place on the thrill of the chase or struggle.

Need to understand the perception gap, ie sales pitch is not in sync with the decision-making style of the customer. Decision makers tend to fall into 5 different camps, ie

i) charismatics (25%) - want the big picture and bullet points

ii) thinkers (11) - require lots of data to get to their decision

iii) sceptics (19%) - those decision makers who approach the pitch with suspicion and require persuading with credible information. Most of the sales pitches are designed for sceptics.

iv) followers (36%) - need proof that what they are buying has worked for others.

v) controllers (9%) ‐ cannot be sold to unless they think it is their idea.

Thus you do not have to change your message but just your delivery style.

Remember: the old combative technique of the customer is the enemy to be conquered no longer applicable. You need to listen and respond to the customer's need rather than bending them to your will, and to differentiate your product from your competitors' so that it is not perceived as a commodity.


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