Every sales veteran has their own recommendations for making better sales. Not every piece of sales advice, however, is backed by research.
To improve your professional approach, it’s important to use sales techniques backed by evidence. When you know how your techniques work, you can adapt more easily to the customer and situation in front of you.
Sales Techniques You Can Perfect This Year
Focus on the situation, not the mood.
Once, a sale was an interaction between two people: The salesperson and the buyer, who made the decision for the entire organization. Today, however, sales are more complex on the buyer’s side. Several people may be involved in signing off on one decision.
Because a multi-buyer situation is so common, it’s important for salespeople to realize that they don’t have to change only one mind. Rather, they have to guide consensus among several people, based on the situation that team, department, or organization faces. The research shows that thinking big-picture can help sales professionals close deals.
Your customer’s default will be to do nothing.
From a sales perspective, it’s typical to see the process as ending in one of two ways: With a yes or a no. For a buyer, however, research indicates there is a third option, and it’s the most popular: To do nothing.
Studies of human behavior have revealed a habit known as “status quo bias.” When faced with changing behavior or risking conflict, humans have a strong tendency to avoid both, leaving their current situation unchanged – because the discomfort of the known is better than the discomfort of the unknown.
Research-backed sales techniques in this area begin by acknowledging that “do nothing” is the most comfortable spot for the customer. They then work on turning the unknowns associated with change (a yes) into knowns.
Customers need to hear what they don’t know.
Is your customer the expert on their own needs and pain points? Sometimes – but not always.
Research indicates that, when asked about needs, many people will repeat what they’ve been told their needs are rather than dig deep and confront their actual needs. This avoidance of the deep work lies behind everything from recreational shopping to addiction.
When you repeat a customer’s needs back to them, however, you’re not showing them anything they don’t already know. You can’t inspire change with the same scenery.
Instead, dig in yourself. Understand the customer’s position and industry, and provide perspectives they haven’t considered. Share constructive opportunities for change to demonstrate added value.
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