Whether you are an employee or business owner, your role involves selling either your vision or your values in order to achieve an outcome. Every job interview is a sales process, every successful transaction with your client, if you are a therapist, is a sales process, as is every internal or external client meeting. We are all in the business of sales. Sales is about building relationships.
There are two common misconceptions about sales that can damage the long term life of a business:
Cardinal misconception 1: The thing you sell is a product or service
Nothing can be further from the truth. The product and service you are offering is only the final result of what your client really bought. They bought into you; they bought the value you offer, the purpose of your business or product and the feeling they get when meeting you.
Unless they buy “you” they will not buy from you, no matter how amazing your product or service is.
Cardinal misconception 2: The sale happens in the moment of transaction.
Again, the sales transaction is only a result of the client having bought “you”. Unless there is a pre-transaction relationship, there will be no transaction. If you want to develop your client loyalty, you must create a post transaction continuity. Maintain the relationship with your client. Get reputation for offering value for free and for offering value beyond what they paid for.
Here are the eight essential steps to successful sales:
These essential steps can be used whether you want to sell yourself for a promotion, to sell an idea internally or to sell to prospective clients via marketing or direct sales.
- Examine your intent and decide to serve. “How can I serve?” should be your motto. Imagine yourself in the shoes of your client and from their point of view, decide what they need and what they desire. Your client feels it. Release the need to be the one they choose, and instead look to help them – genuinely.
- Take the time to get to know them inside out. Listen and ask questions. The art of asking the right questions is fundamentally needed here. Sit in the shoes of that person and get to know what they need, what they want and what they fear might happen if they invest in your or your service. Survey your ideal clients or use the help of a coach to create an ideal client psychological profile. If you are in direct sales, in the moment of a sales conversation ask and listen before you even explain how you can help. Ask, “What’s the biggest challenge you face?” or “What are you looking for in a ….?”
- Demonstrate your understanding of their needs. Magic happens when you know your client better than they know themselves. Say, “I hear what you want…” or “I see your point, is that correct?” or “How does that sound to you?”
- Seek permission to sell. This can be as easy as “Would you like me to show you how I can help you with that?”
- Tailor your solution to what they need. Show them how your solutions and their needs intersect.
- Differentiate and demonstrate value. What is your point of difference? What are you known for? Offer social proof of why your solution works.
- Ask for the sale. Call tem to a specific action or refer them on. Remember, if you don’t ask, you won’t get. There are elegant ways of using language to ask for the sale. There are also language patterns that help you dissolve resistance or fear.
- Deliver more value than they anticipate. Maintain a relationship with them after the sale. That is your key to building a referral business.
Most importantly you must believe in your product or service. When you have faith in what you are offering, your clients will buy your passion and enthusiasm.
When sales is a meeting of your ideal client with a solution that serves them, then sales is a joyous process. Sales becomes a relationship building, an adventure and an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.