How do I sell something to someone
Salespeople have to have an important prerequisite for being successful in their job: a good deal of persuasiveness.
How often has it happened that a potential customer, with whom you have never exchanged a word before, stood in front of your door and raved: “I love your service and your products are exactly the right thing for my company. Where can I sign? ”Probably never!
That is why it is so important that you first convince your potential customers of your offer. Of course, some deals are easy to close with little effort, but others are challenging and require a certain amount of persuasion - even if both buyers and sellers know your offer is the best choice.
But it's easier said than done to convince someone of something. Because if it were easy, far more than just a third of all sellers would certainly achieve their quota. Hopefully, our useful tips in this blog article can help you be more compelling in the future - and close more sales.
Important NOTE: Sellers should only sell products and services to potential customers if they are absolutely certain that the product or service will also be of benefit to the buyer. Convincing someone so that they both benefit from a degree is one thing. Lies, in turn, are quite another. Make sure you don't confuse these two things.
Quick tips for every day: These measures will make you look more convincing in no time at all
The following four tips will show you how you can quickly and easily strengthen your self-confidence and gain persuasiveness.
1. Find the right level of eye contact
Eyes are the mirror of the soul. This saying doesn't exist without a reason. Eye contact unconsciously creates a feeling of togetherness. In a study by Cornell University, researchers showed their test subjects several, almost identical packages of the Trix breakfast cereal. They changed the eyes of the comic rabbit, the company's mascot, on each pack. Participants should then choose packaging. Most often, the choice fell on the box with the rabbit, which looked the test subject directly in the eyes.
But how much eye contact is appropriate? Carol Kinsey Gorman is a well-respected body language expert and recommends direct eye contact for 30-60% of the conversation.
2. Smiling on the phone works wonders
You don't always have the opportunity to meet prospects in person. It is therefore all the more important to pay attention to your own tone of voice when making calls. One study has even shown that audio recordings alone can distinguish different forms of smiles.
Smiling during a phone call will make you appear more engaging and friendlier - and prospects will be more than happy to talk to you.
Already knew? Nestlé even puts a mirror in each salesperson's workplace. This way, employees don't forget to put on a smiling face when making a phone call.
Those who smile have been shown to raise their own spirits. Researchers have found that even a forced smile reduces stress and makes you happier. So smile for what it takes! It is good for you and the other person will react positively to your enthusiasm and good mood - we promise!
3. Boost your self-confidence with the help of "power poses"
Surely you know this advice: "With mock self-confidence you get real self-confidence"? But is this also how you achieve your goals?
The psychologist Amy Cuddy claims in her TED Talk "Your body language determines who you are" that this thesis is true! Cuddy carried out a study in which she asked the participants to take a so-called high-power pose (high self-confidence) or a low-power pose (low self-confidence) for two minutes.
Saliva tests showed that participants in the high-power pose had testosterone levels increased by 20% - and this hormone is often associated with self-confidence. In addition, levels of cortisol - a hormone that determines stress levels - decreased by 25%. In the other group in the low-power pose, however, testosterone levels fell by 10%, while the stress-inducing cortisol level rose by 15%.
If you exude self-confidence, you are also more likely to make the other person trust you. Potential customers don't want to listen to hesitant salespeople who have difficulty getting to the point and appear insecure. They want someone who exudes authority and guides them through the confusing buying process.
So the next time you want to instill confidence in your counterpart, pay attention to your posture. For example, stand straight with your hands on your hips, lean back in your chair and put your feet on the desk, or sit down with your legs apart. Thanks to these and other poses, you will look much more convincing. With a hunched back or sunk deep in your chair, however, you tend to achieve the opposite.
You can find more power poses in this TED talk by Amy Cuddy from minute 10:40.
4. Nod to your prospect
Just like smiling, people associate nodding with approval - which can have a significant impact on opinion formation. A study shows that people who nod while listening to a radio show are more likely to agree with the content of that show. Conversely, approval is not as high among people who shake their heads or do not move their head while listening.
Since people naturally imitate one another, your nod is contagious and convinces your potential customer to say “Yes!” To your offer.
Communication Tips: What To Say And How To Say It
Every single word in a sales pitch can help - or not - win a deal. So choose your words wisely. The following tactics will help you communicate properly.
5. Address your potential customer by name
"For every person his name is the most beautiful and meaningful word in his vocabulary" - Dale Carnegie
It is important to know the names of all potential customers, as well as the names of the companies involved. If you haven't got it, now is the time! (You don't like learning by heart? Try the free CRM from HubSpot. With this practical tool, you always have all potential customers and current deals on screen.)
Knowing (and using) your prospect's name isn't just a matter of courtesy, however. This is also a subtle way of strengthening the relationship and showing that person that you appreciate them. You perceive your counterpart as people and not as part of your business. This is also the reason why the personalized salutation "Hello [recipient name]" has almost become standard in e-mail marketing.
6. Cleverly ask your questions in a specific strategic order
Do you want to convince someone of something? Then make them believe your idea came from them. Knowing your prospect's strengths and weaknesses as well or even better than they do and adapting your questions to reflect that knowledge will help you present your solution more convincingly.
To do this, start with questions that you know for sure that the answer is yes. In this way, you strengthen the prospect's belief that you understand their needs - and they will get used to agreeing with you. This also allows you to set out your concerns step-by-step without having to raise objections every five minutes.
Formulate your questions in such a way that it automatically becomes clear that your product is the best choice. Instead of asking, “What is the best way to optimize [X part of your business]?” Emphasize the added value of your product. For example, you might ask, "If you took [X action made possible by your product] and had the result [Y positive business results], would your team benefit?"
Here's another popular advice among lawyers: Once you are past the initial stages of the sales process, avoid questions that you don't know the answers to. Instead, do your homework so that you know everything you need to know beforehand and can easily remove any doubts.
7. Apply the mirror technique to your potential customers
It is very natural that we imitate the behavior and language patterns of the people we spend most of our time with. Why is that? It gives us points of sympathy with others.
In one study, participants were more likely to have positive feelings towards people who mimicked their behavior. In addition, participants behaved generally more politely after the mirroring - even towards people who were not involved in the initial conversation.
But please refrain from clumsy and overly obvious imitation. Rather, pay attention to the behavior of your potential customer and tailor your behavior accordingly. If the person you are talking to is reserved, don't intimidate them with your self-esteem. The reverse is of course also true.
8. Take your prospect's concerns and questions seriously
There are no dumb questions! If your potential customer objects or dig deeper, answer as follows: “I know what you're getting at” or “That's a very good question”. In this way, you convey to your counterpart that they are heard and respected.
9. Don't force your potential customers into a defensive stance - with the Ransberger Pivot
If a potential customer should misinterpret the information you have provided or raise objections, you have two options: Either you answer with "You are wrong" and put the person in a defensive position, or you resort to the Ransberger Pivot.
(Little tip: try the pivot.)
This 3-step technique was developed in 1982 by Ray Ransberger and Marshall Fritz. It enables you to address disagreements in a positive way.
- Listen to the objections of your interlocutor.
- Understand the objections or keep asking until you understand them.
- Try to find a common goal in the objections of your counterpart. Also, convince them that your solution is best suited to accomplish this goal.
For example, if a potential customer expresses doubts about your time-consuming implementation process - because they are impatient and want it to be done quickly - understand their desire to see results as soon as possible. Then point out that while you fully support this goal, the customer will achieve their desired results better if they get to know every single facet of your product at the beginning.
Timeless Advice: How to Win Deals and Influence Potential Customers
As early as 1938, Dale Carnegie wrote his current classic "How to Make Friends". In this section, we're going to share some of Carnegie's best tips and how to use them in the sales world.
10. Appeal to the "better me"
Your prospects may want to earn enough money to hire additional staff and then be promoted themselves. Or they want to look good in front of the boss. And your offer can help with just that.
But you won't get very far if you focus only on raises or promotions throughout the sales process. Even if you convince your contact - you don't have the decision-makers on board if the emphasis is always on the advantages a product or service has for an individual.
"Most people do something for two reasons: a real and an idealized reason," writes Carnegie. “But since we are all idealists at heart, we prefer noble motifs. Therefore you have to appeal to the nobler motives in people if you want to influence them. "
So find out what motivation is really behind the purchase (or the non-purchase) and use this knowledge skillfully for your argumentation.
11. Make your ideas come alive
Basically, winning a completed deal is nothing more than the exchange of money in exchange for a product or service.
Sounds pretty boring, doesn't it? But of course you know that a sale is much more than that! A promise for a better result - for you and for your customer. That explanation sounds much more inspiring and worth striving for.
At some point you have to bring the conversation to the business level, that is obvious. But it shouldn't just be about euros and cents. Instead, show your potential customers what their company could look like - and how your product helps them achieve this ideal state.
12. Create a need
According to Carnegie, the main way to win people over is to appeal to their wishes. It is the wrong way to put yourself at the center of the buying decision.
Instead, take a trip into the customer's world and try to understand their motivations. When you do this, you give your prospects a little bit of power and a sense of self-determination.
As Carnegie puts it, "Customers love the feeling of buying something, not getting something sold."
Psychological tricks: Use scientific knowledge to your advantage
An infographic from Everreach served as inspiration for the following strategies.
13. Do your prospect a favor
Why? There's a better chance he'll do you a favor too.
Let's take a look at the results of a study on tipping behavior: waiters who bring their guests a free candy receive 3% more tips. If you have two pieces of candy, the tip increases by 14%. And if the waiter brings a piece of candy and then puts down another piece of candy with the addition "There are two pieces of candy for particularly nice guests", the tip increases by as much as 23%.
This phenomenon is called the principle of reciprocity in psychology. If you are particularly committed to your potential customers - coupled with a little acting - they will be happy to help you in return.
14. Emphasize the urgency
Above all, people want things that are slowly becoming scarce. If you give a discount or have something limited on offer, be sure to let your potential customers know! Also, make sure prospects are aware that if they wait too long they will miss out.
15. Make yourself an expert
It's pretty simple: people mostly trust people who know what they're talking about. So signal to your potential customers that either you or your company (ideally both) are extremely knowledgeable about your industry.
16. Retain your potential customers right from the start
Anyone who has said “yes” once, is very likely to say “yes” again. This is why so many technology companies are offering free trials. If you retain potential customers right from the start, you will achieve your actual goal more quickly: signing the contract.
Everreach recommends first “obtaining a voluntary, active and public commitment in writing” before convincing. This way you have your potential customers hooked, making the final decision seem like a natural and obvious conclusion.
17. Make your prospects like you
Nobody wants to help someone they don't like. In one study, two groups of MBA students were asked to enter into a sham deal. A group should leave out all kindness and courtesy. In the other group, each student should find a resemblance to their business partner. In the first group (where you got straight to the point) 55% of the bogus deals were successfully concluded. In the second group, however, it was an astonishing 90%. Because there the students took the time to find a common denominator.
Always remember: we are all people with feelings and emotions. Build a relationship with your prospect outside of the sale and your deal will be more likely to close.
18. Use consistency to your advantage
We're not lemmings ... but sometimes we act like them.People look at other people's behavior and learn what is socially acceptable and how they should behave.
You can use this property to your advantage. Use testimonials and case studies from happy and satisfied customers in your sales material. You can even refer to the total number of your customers or followers on social media to reinforce the reach of your business.
But what if you only have one customer? In such a case, consult reviews or tests from industry experts. If this number is similarly low, it's best to avoid it altogether.
Persuasion is really a tricky thing. It is certainly not easy to change a person's mind. But the right mix of the above tactics will bring you at least one step (and maybe many steps) closer to your goal: convincing potential customers that you are the seller they should sign with.
Originally published December 19, 2016, updated 10 May 2021
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