The secret to success in sales is that there is no secret; the same applies to being persuasive. A sales person never stops working on their sales persuasion techniques. Every lead, every prospect, and every client is different, and smart sales people know that there isn’t a one size fits all approach to selling success. David Freedman, Director of Sales, at sales and negotiation specialists, Huthwaite International, the team behind world famous SPIN Selling, outlays these six tips that will help any sales person improve the number of successful deals struck and set your business on the road to record sales.
1. Send the right message
You might have the best product on the market and use all the latest industry jargon to sell, but if you don’t look the part, your sales are likely going to stagnate. Prospects want to do business with a professional, and one’s interpretation of ‘professional’ includes the look. Dishevelled clothing, poorly prepared notes and other indicators of a salesperson in a rush can mean that even the most effective sales persuasion techniques are ignored. Acting desperate and like you need this sale will automatically put you on the back foot and give your buyer the upper hand to strike a better deal. In successful SPIN Selling, it’s also worth noting that high-pressure tactics don’t work nearly as well for long term sales, than a more considered approach that builds on your core values and is centred on trust.
2. Focus on building a rapport
While we are on the topic of trust, it’s essential that you are mindful of the age-old sales saying - ‘people don’t buy products, they buy a person’. Trust is the cornerstone of sales in any market, and the bedrock of all successful sales persuasion techniques - including SPIN Selling. By building a rapport with your prospects and clients, sales are sure to follow. Nurture leads so if they feel you’re listening to their needs and are willing to make a contribution to their business – in turn they will invest in you as a person.
3. Point out the differentiators
All sales people looking for new persuasion techniques have heard that it’s the sizzle, not the steak, that leads to a deal. The key is understanding that the sizzle is in the differentiators, what makes a product or service better, faster, more desirable than its competition's? Your task is to identify these ‘sizzles’ and sell based on how this will build and positively impact your prospect’s business.
Looking at what and how you can improve the client’s current service and product and how it will impact on their bottom line is a sure way to secure that deal.
4. Build a sense of urgency
Urgency is one of the most important SPIN Selling techniques because it works. However, sales persuasion techniques based on urgency don’t need to involve pressure and clear-cut deadlines to be effective; even implying that a deal that closes before you leave a pitch could somehow be better than a deal that closes next week can build the urgency needed to make sales in record time without being viewed as pushy, or as referenced earlier ‘desperate’.
5. Lead prospects to a sale
Many sales people use the wrong approach, telling prospects what the sales person believes the prospect wants to hear. Asking persuasive questions is a key technique in SPIN selling, as it makes the prospect decide on a purchase on their own. Questions like ‘Do you need a product that works quickly or a product that takes time?’ or ‘would you like to use monthly payments or annual financing?’ are known as double binds, and can be very effective sales persuasion techniques.
Listening to the client talk about the product and identifying needs and areas of focus is vastly underrated. This information can then be used to help persuade the client that your product will help their business.
6. Ask for the business
Even for top sales people, direct sales persuasion techniques are difficult to master. Psychologically, it is difficult to come out and ask, ‘so when will you take delivery?’ or ‘can I count on your signature?’ Yet a sales person who doesn’t ask these questions when appropriate will see sales slipping through their fingers at the last minute. Master the art of asking for the business, and you will see your sales numbers improve almost overnight.
IF you're thinking about SPIN Selling for your business, download our guide to learn more about how SPIN Selling has been successfully implemented across 7 different companies.