Often, salespeople are looked at very negatively, and in many cases it’s for good reason. Many salespeople fail to truly understand what selling is all about and therefore put buyers in uncomfortable buying situations. These typically result in sales falling through, or even worse, sales that occur to buyers left feeling bad about their purchase and experience. Here are 5 myths about selling that can help lead to a better understanding of the skill, and how to close deals that leave the buyer feeling good.
Myth #1 – When Selling It’s Important to Thoroughly Explain All Features of a Product
You’ve probably heard the saying selling is telling. You may have even experienced it. You go into a store, you’re looking at a product, and the salesperson starts ‘feature dumping’: telling you everything good they know about the product. While they’re doing this, you’re thinking, “I don’t really care, I just want to know…”, and you end up walking away having not bought the item and feeling like your time has been wasted. Selling is definitely not telling. Selling is about listening to the buyer and helping them get what they need. A good salesperson should ask their buyer enough questions to fully understand exactly what the person is looking for, and why it’s important to them. This step in selling is called a ‘Needs Analysis’. By knowing what matters to the customer, you can focus only on that, and ensure you’re selling them the right product that will truly help them. So before you start telling a buyer a bunch of random features about a product, ensure you know what matters to them and why.
Myth #2 – Price is Often the Biggest Factor in Buying Decisions
This myth is one of the most costly. First, a salesperson that believes price was the biggest reason someone didn’t buy results in lost sales for the wrong reason. Second, salespeople that believe this myth often offer unnecessary discounts in order to get a sale. Both cost the business money. Although price can be a factor, it’s rarely the biggest factor in a buying decision. Let’s look at an example: ‘Product A’ costs $20 and is exactly what you are looking for. ‘Product B’ costs $15 and is mostly what you’re looking for. Which do you buy? Does the fact that ‘Product A’ costs $5 more matter? The answer is probably, “It depends.” Usually it depends on what you’re giving up for the savings of $5. If what you’re giving up doesn’t really matter to you, then you might go with the cheaper product. But, if the features missing in ‘Product B’ are ones that are really important to you, you’re likely going to spend the extra money with little thought. That is unless you can only afford the $15. This example shows that price is only an objection when it’s out of the range of what they buyer can afford. If they can afford the price, it is more about the value and how it meshes with what they need. So, when a customer says that the price is too high, what they are really saying is that they don’t see the value. So, rather than offering a lower price, or walking away thinking there’s nothing you could do, instead show them the value and how it aligns with what they need.
Myth #3 – When a Customer Says No the Sale is Dead
Many salespeople dread the “no”. Many more move on as quickly as possible when they get a one. Although it’s not the ideal response you want from a buyer, getting a “no” doesn’t mean that the deal is dead. Those that think a “no” is the end are leaving sales on the table. Instead, take “no” as “not now”. They’re not going to buy at this moment, but they may in the future. Shifting your thinking call allow you to shift your focus with the buyer. Rather than focusing your energy on trying to close the deal, instead focus on trying to understand why they’re not buying. Ask them questions to figure out what’s holding them back. This can be very challenging to do without coming off as pushy and someone just trying to close the sale. Here are a couple of ways you can avoid this:
Myth #4 – The Goal of a Salesperson is to Make the Sale No Matter What it Takes
There are many salespeople that believe the goal is to get the sale no matter what. This is a big reason that sales is often looked at negatively. Part of the issue is that for many sales positions compensation is directly tied to sales results and most sales positions are evaluated and rewarded on sales numbers. This is why many salespeople do whatever it takes, and numerous sales trainings teach high pressur and aggressive sales tactics. Although these tactics can work, the best salespeople understand that longer term success in sales comes from creating loyal buyers that keep coming back. You only do this by making the right sales to the right people, not by selling something to someone that they don’t really need or that doesn’t solve a problem for them; this only typically leaves the buyer with buyer’s remorse. And although they may not return the item, if they’re even able to, they’re unlikely to return. In sales, it’s important to think beyond the quick sale and instead try to really understand what will help your buyer. If you do this, you may make fewer sales immediately in that moment, but you will make many more sales over the longer term.
Myth #5 – People Buy Based on the Product Not the Salesperson
Although the product obviously impacts sales, many sales are made, or not made because of the salesperson. Most people have experienced this with either a good or bad salesperson. You go to a store with the intention of only looking around, but end up speaking to a salesperson and ultimately end up buying something. Or maybe you’ve experienced the opposite; you went to a store with a clear intention of buying something, but after speaking with a salesperson ended up not buying it. Although we may not have made the connection at the time, the salesperson played a significant role in our decision to buy or not buy. Think about salespeople you’ve experienced, good and bad; you probably bought from those that were ‘good’ and didn’t from those that were ‘bad’. So what makes a salesperson ‘good’ or ‘bad’? It all comes down to like and trust. People buy from people they like and people they trust. If they like you and trust you, they’ll probably buy; if they don’t like you or don’t trust you, they probably won’t. More times than not, it’s not the product that led to the sale or non-sale, it’s the buyer’s like and trust of you. So, if you want to make more sales, it’s important to know how to get a buyer to like and trust you.
Building Like & Trust
If you want people to buy from you, the most important skill to learn is how to get people to like you and trust you. So how do you build like and trust when you have very limited time to do so in a selling situation?
How to Build Like
Like is a gut feeling that typically comes from a first impression. Most people make a
judgement about someone else within the first few seconds of meeting them. So
everything that impacts their first perceptions of you affects their like. Here are some
keys to giving off a positive first impression and building like:
Be Friendly – when you first meet someone smile, shake their hand, and ask them how
they are doing.
Be Polite – display manners and use appropriate language.
Dress Appropriately – dress well for the situation. Your attire will impact their
perception before you even have a chance to speak to them.
Carry Yourself Well – stand up straight, speak clearly, and look people in the eyes when
you speak to them.
Show Interest in Them – ask them questions to build rapport. People like talking about
themselves and what’s going on in their world. People feel good when others show
interest in them.
Be Genuine – it’s important to be yourself. If you try to fake some of these things at
some point it will come across as fake.
How to Build Trust
Trust comes down to 3 things: character, competence, and common sense of purpose.
Displaying these 3 elements to a buyer will build trust with them.
Character – refers to what they think of you as a person. Many of the elements above in
‘building like’ will impact what someone thinks of your character.
Competence – refers to whether or not they feel you are skilled and knowledgeable.
You can display competence by being able to answer questions effectively and by
showing knowledge of the product. You can also increase your competence by sharing
your background and experience in the field with someone.
Common Sense of Purpose – refers to the fact that you both have the same goals in
mind. The buyer believes you want to help them find what they are looking for and
not sell them something they don’t need. You can show you have common sense of
purpose with a buyer by asking questions to understand what is important to them
and help guide them towards products that fit their needs and away from products
that don’t fit their needs.
The biggest challenge to building like and trust is that you have very limited time to do it. It’s definitely a skill that takes practice. It’s important that as you work on your ability to build like and trust that you self-evaluate each interaction with a buyer. Did they buy from you? Do you think they liked you? Why or why not? Do you think they trusted you? Why or why not? If not, was it an issue with your character, your competence, or your common sense of purpose? Evaluating in this way can help you become an expert in building like and trust quickly.
Selling is one of the most challenging skills, but one of the most important in business. It’s a skill that is used in many areas of a business, not just marketing and sales, but also in hiring and recruiting, and even the leading of the business. The above 5 myths should show that selling is not about completing transactions, but rather about helping others find what they need. It’s about helping people find things that solve problems for them. It should also show that the salesperson has a big impact on whether or not a sale occurs. Even, when the product is right, it’s often the salesperson that will ultimately determine whether or not the buyer ends up with the product they need. Does the buyer like you? Does the buyer trust you? If you work on developing your skill in building like and trust, and go out there and help people solve their problems, you will sell more than you ever have before!
Launch365 specializes in training, coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs through business startup and on core business skills. We provide training and coaching on selling, including building like and trust with people. If you would like to discuss how we could help you with your business or on these skills, contact us at: www.launch365.ca/contact-us. To download our guide to starting a business successfully “Startup Success Blueprint” for free go to: www.launch365.ca/startup-success.