There are no two salespeople alike. Salespeople refine their techniques and methods over time until they find the best sales approach for them.
And, of course, there is no one-size-fits-all sales strategy.
A lot of factors are involved, like your background and personality and those of your clients. These play a huge role in defining the various sales techniques you will need to employ in different selling scenarios.
Are you still on the search for what works best for you, or do you want to try new methods to stay out of a rut?
Check this out:
Different Types of Sales Approaches
What buyers want:
1. Solutions Selling
Buyers frequently face difficulties when it comes to selecting the right product or service, whether it's locating the ideal washing machine to meet their specific needs or locating a one-of-a-kind gift for a special someone.
When a buyer has a specific problem that you can solve, you use solution selling. It entails asking the right questions and actively listening to the customer to get to the bottom of the problem. Then you will have a good understanding of what solution to offer.
2. The Buddy Approach
Only salespeople who are naturally warm and friendly can use the buddy approach. It is based on the premise that people prefer to do business with people they like.
At the heart of this approach is expressing interest in the prospect while attempting to connect on an emotional level. Sincerity is the focal point in this strategy to achieve an optimum result.
Prospects will be able to tell if you're faking it from a mile away. And if this happens, they will lose trust.
3. The Guru Approach
The guru approach may be best for more logical and rational salespeople than warm and friendly ones. It's also great for dealing with intellectual prospects who aren't swayed by an emotional connection.
With this approach, you would set the goal of becoming an expert in everything related to your field. You would establish yourself as a thought leader, problem solver, and subject-matter expert with extensive credibility.
This method, however, necessitates a significant time commitment. You have to be willing to put in the effort to learn all of the pertinent information in your industry and stay current on news, trends, and changes.
However, if you are successful, you can do very well with this approach. Prospects will come to rely on you for advice and recommendations, and they will regard you as a valuable resource. The best part is; you'll get a lot of referrals.
4. Consultative Selling
In technical sales, consultative selling is especially effective because it incorporates the buddy and guru approaches and solution selling.
You take the time to develop a trusting relationship with the customer by utilizing your personality. You also gain credibility by demonstrating expert understanding, knowledge, and experience. Then you analyze the customer's problem and propose a suitable solution.
In a capsule, you'll pull off this approach by building emotional connections, asking the right questions, and being a subject matter expert. If done correctly, it can be the most valuable of all types of sales techniques.
5. Customer Personality Selling
Customer personality selling encompasses a variety of sales tactics, depending on the type of buyer in front of you. You must first determine a buyer's personality type and tailor your strategies accordingly.
A friendly buyer, for example, maybe hesitant to make a decision and may require more convincing and reassuring to close. A skeptical customer of salespeople will require more proof of credibility and more time to build trust.
Let us examine what kind of sales tactic you are using and whether it is time for you to try some new ones.
Traditional Sales Approach
Designed to persuade prospects to buy whether they want to or not, traditional selling is often described as a manipulative and high-pressure process.
Traditional selling is all about getting ready for battle and winning the war. Everyone in sales, including some of your competitors, is familiar with the traditional methods. So here's a rundown for you.
Traditional Sales Methods
Traditional sales are primarily focused on the seller. It's a strategy that relies on grabbing people's attention by interrupting what they're doing, telling them why they should be interested in what you have to offer, and then expecting them to buy right away.
Is it effective? - Sometimes.
1. Prescriptive sales approach
It makes sense to provide prospective customers with all the information they need to make an informed decision. Being flexible with your customers' direction (or whims) should make the buying process easier, and ultimately increase sales. In more common sales tactics, we see a similar tendency to quickly respond and offer endless support, such as:
- Providing all case studies, testimonials, and brochures to customers.
- Meeting the ever-changing demands of your customers by adapting your offer.
- Providing customers with more time to consider all possible options.
According to logic, customer-centricity should result in increased sales. However, recent research shows that providing additional information and multiple options may actually have a negative impact on sales.
2. Product approach
When a company focuses on what it can produce well and better than others and makes it, this is a product approach to business.
On the other hand, when a business organization focuses on what its customers want and values and produces it, it is a marketing-oriented or customer-oriented approach to business.
Both approaches may result in a company producing the same product, but in the event of a conflict, the marketing-oriented system is always better for any company.
A few decades ago, the product approach was the more popular approach. The product approach was the most popular when companies gained market share and competitive advantage through cost leadership.
The marketing-oriented approach gained traction when the competition became fiercer, and it became more challenging to differentiate yourself solely on cost leadership due to technological advancement.
It is worth mentioning that a few companies that were slow to switch from a product-oriented approach to a marketing-oriented one have failed. Think of Kodak.
Now let us move on to modern sales techniques.
The Modern Approach
Like previous sales evolutions, the modern approach arose in response to buyers' changing environments and needs.
Transactional approaches are almost certain to fail in complex B2B sales because they add no value in the areas where clients require assistance.
Modern sales strategies are based on insights, business acumen, situational knowledge, and the ability to assist your clients in making sense of their world and decisions.
Being able to explain the factors your clients must consider and how to weigh them is not the same as proving a "solution" will cure their "dissatisfaction." Modern approaches also consider the organizational consensus required for the client to change their requirements.
I would recommend the following as the suitable modern approaches to selling:
1. Make yourself available and responsive.
If prospects contact you, make sure that you respond to them. Make them feel as if you are there to assist them in making the best purchasing decision.
A step beyond that would be to get to know your clients on a more enjoyable level. It is now insufficient to provide the service and collect payment. Being personable and pleasant is essential in the sales industry. It can be the clincher between two companies providing the same service.
2. Don't hesitate to ask.
One of the perpetual mistakes a salesperson can make is assuming something about the buyer. A salesperson must understand the power of questioning. In fact, it is the most important sales tool.
3. Listen attentively.
Once you ask, you have an obligation to listen and not just hear. You may want to sum up what the buyer has said. This will make the buyer feel that you got what he wanted to say.
Also, this will force you to focus on what the buyer is saying instead of thinking about your next question.
4. Be a teacher.
Teaching is the new pitching.
In the course of actively listening to the buyer, look for teaching opportunities that can help educate them. Teaching helps the buyer discover that what they want might not be what they need, thus, aligning their perspective to what you are offering.
5. Decide for the clients.
Remove the opportunity for the customer to say no. Be proactive and show your prospects why they should choose your business. Buyers want to buy, but they don't like being pushed or forced. They still need to feel they are the ones making the decision.
An effective salesperson intentionally assumes the prospect has agreed to buy to wrap up the sale. Closing a statement plays a crucial role in actually closing a deal. Make it so the buyer will feel comfortable and know what they need to do. They will have fewer questions and less buyer's remorse.
Given the above guidelines, it is now time for you to focus on the steps in the sales process to complete your sales technique.
The 7-Step Sales Process
Here are seven things you should do to scale your sales process and find potential customers, close the sale, and retain your customers for future repeat business and referrals.
1. Prospecting for Clients
The first step in the sales process is prospecting. This is the stage where salespeople scout for potential clients and determine whether they need their products and services and whether the prospects can afford them.
Bear in mind that there are multiple decision-makers on the buyer's side in business today. We have a previous article where we comprehensively discuss the DMU of an organization.
2. Sales Preparation
The second stage has you preparing for initial contact with a potential client, researching your target market, and gathering relevant data. At this point, you create your sales presentation and customize it to your potential client's particular needs.
3. Initial Approach
In the third stage, you now make initial contact with your client, so be impressive! It could be a face-to-face meeting, over the phone, or the net. There are three standard approach methods.
- Premium Offers: Presenting your potential client with a gift at the beginning of your interaction.
- Inquiry approach: To get prospects interested, you get their attention by asking relevant questions.
- The product approach: You may dangle a free sample or trial, allowing prospects to evaluate your products and services.
4. Sales Presentation
During the presentation phase, you demonstrate how your product or service meets your potential customer's needs. The term presentation implies using PowerPoint and giving a sales pitch, but it's not the only thing to accomplish. Make it a point to actively listen to customers' pain points and then act and behave accordingly.
5. Handling Objections
Handling objections is one of the seven sales process steps often overlooked. This is where you listen to and address your prospects' concerns. It's also where many unsuccessful salespeople give up:
- 44 percent give up after one rejection.
- 22 percent after two rejections.
- 14 percent after three, and
- 12 percent after four.
And all this even though 80 percent of sales require at least five follow-ups to convert. Handling objections and alleviating concerns separates good salespeople from bad and great salespeople from good.
6. Closing the Sale
In the final stage, you receive the client's decision to proceed. Depending on your industry, you may want to try one of these three closing tactics.
- Alternative choice: Assuming the sale and offering the prospect a selection where both options close the deal—for example, "Will you pay the entire fee in installments or upfront?" or "Will that be charge or cash?."
- Extra inducement: Offer something different to coax the prospect to close, such as a free month of service or a discount.
- Standing room only: Creating urgency by denoting that time is of the essence—for example, "The price will be going up next month" or "We only have five spots left."
Your work does not end once the sale is completed. The follow-up stage ensures that you stay in touch with customers you've closed, not only for potential repeat business but also for referrals.
Maintaining relationships is also important because retaining current customers is six to seven times less expensive than acquiring new ones.
RELATED READ - 12 Sales Pitch Examples that Guarantee Quality Leads
The Final Note
Determining the uniqueness of each customer is a skill that any salesperson must develop. Understanding the difference between these approaches allows a salesperson to create their own strategies.
What is best for you?
Experiment with different approaches to see what works. Make use of a variety of selling techniques. Find one method that consistently works for you and apply it to all of your customers.
At AI-Bees, (The Manifest Awardee for 2021), dedication, commitment, and genuine care are at the forefront when dealing with our customers. We will be happy to share with you our recipe for success. Please don't hesitate to contact us!