A study by the Miller Heiman Group found that nearly 60% of salespeople said they’ve grown more desperate to close deals in the past year. When salespeople are desperate, they’re more likely to take shortcuts that can thin margins. This makes it harder to turn a profit.
Know what makes you unique
What makes your product or service unique? Why would customers want to buy from you instead of a competitor? The answer to this question is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). When you’re crystal clear on your USP, you can sell with confidence, without resorting to desperate measures.
To develop a strong USP, start by identifying your target market. Then determine what needs or pain points your product or service meets. Finally, articulate how your product or service is better than anything else on the market.
Build trust from the beginning
Selling is a people-oriented business. That’s why forming relationships with your customer is key. Trust is the glue that holds relationships together, so build it from the start.
When customers trust you, they’re less likely to push back on price or terms. Even if they have concerns, they’re more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt and work with you to find a solution.
There are a few key things you can do to inspire trust in your customers:
- be transparent about your product or service
- don’t make promises you can’t keep
- be helpful without being pushy
- communicate frequently and openly
Communicate features but sell benefits
Features are the nuts and bolts of your product. However, customers often gloss over them. Nielsen Norman Group’s research shows that people spend very little time on product pages. According to their study, most visitors (79%) only scan the page, rather than read it word for word.
Take courses in effective sales strategies and techniques and you’ll learn that customers buy products to solve a problem. So, don’t bombard your customers with features. Instead, lead with the benefits and use the product’s features to support your claims. That’s where you’ll find the balm to your customer’s pain points.
For example, imagine you’re selling a new type of vacuum cleaner. Begin with the lure of a sparkling floor and then add extra polish by listing the key features that make your product top-notch. The benefits might be cleaner floors, less time spent vacuuming, and fewer allergies. The features, however, might include a powerful motor, advanced filter system, and state-of-the-art design.
Become a trusted advisor
Today’s customers are better educated than before. A study by Google found that customers consult an average of 10.4 sources before making a purchase. So, don’t treat your customers as if they’re underprepared. You’re likely to underwhelm them and lose the sale.
Instead, position yourself as a trusted advisor. Be the person they can rely on for accurate information and sound advice. This approach keeps you top of mind. When the time comes to buy, customers are more likely to reach out to you.
To fill the shoes of a trusted advisor:
- get to know your customers and their business
- be an expert on your product or service
- know your competition inside and out
- stay up to date on industry trends
Don’t shy away from objections
No matter how many effective courses in sales you take, objections from customers are going to pop up. Customers tend to raise objections when they’re trying to understand your product or service better. So, when handled correctly, an objection is actually an opportunity, not an obstacle. When approaching a customer with a concern:
- Let the customer fully voice their objection.
- Verify that you understand their worries. For instance, you can say, “It sounds like you’re concerned about X. Is that correct?”
- Address the concern directly. Try, “The reason our prices are higher is due to the quality of our product.”
- Offer a solution. A polite way to do so would be by asking, “Would you be interested in hearing about our payment plan options?”
As competition gets fiercer and customers grow savvier, the stakes for salespeople get higher. Sales promotions and discounts can help drum up business in the short term, but they eat into your margins. The strategies shared above will help you close more deals without relying on high-pressure tactics or sacrificing your integrity.