There’s just no denying the fact that the words ‘salesman’ or ‘sales consultant’ immediately turns off most people. These words conjure up images of slick and sleazy guys such as used car salesmen who resort to flashing insincere smiles and deploying sneaky subterfuges just to close the sale.
The general impression is that salespeople will sell their mother just to meet their target and the only thing straight about them is their hair.
The question now is… “Why?”
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Why do salespeople have such a negative reputation? Why is the sight of an insurance agent or an Amway representative enough to send most people running for the hills?
The answer quite simply boils down to ‘poor sales skills.’ People love to buy. It makes them feel good and they want to do it… BUT they hate being sold to. Herein lies the problem.
The experienced salesperson knows exactly how to approach his potential customer and convince them that their life will be incomplete without the product he is selling. He doesn’t need to hard sell anyone because he’s a master at communication.
The inexperienced salesman, however, is totally focused on making the sale at the expense of everything else. They do not communicate properly because they’re trying to rush the sale. As a result, they exude an air of desperation that is picked up subconsciously by the prospective customer and it repels them.
The inexperienced sales person only appears to be in it for themselves and starts to look sleazy. The sad truth is that most salespeople are in this category when all they need is a little education and EQ on how to approach a potential customer and what to focus on.
In this article, we’ll look at 7 ways for you to sell without appearing sleazy or desperate. While the tips below may seem like common sense, rest assured that when one is faced with the pressure of meeting sales targets or generating a specific income, all common sense goes out the window and emotions take over. In times like these, it’s especially crucial that you adhere to the tips below.
1 – Create a Customer Avatar
A customer avatar is a fictional person that represents your ideal customer. You know exactly what their wants and needs are. You know exactly how your product is perfect for them.
All the best salespeople have a very good understanding of who their product is perfect for. While many of the prospects you meet may not fit in perfectly with your customer avatar, if they display some of the needs and wants that your avatar has, you’ll be able to hone in on these needs and be more convincing in your pitches.
A customer avatar will roughly allow you to anticipate what objections you can expect to hear. This will allow you time to prepare and overcome these objections so that you’re ready when you face them.
For example, if you’re selling gym memberships, one common objection that you may receive is that it’s too ‘expensive.’ So, what will you do? Will you tell them that they can’t put a price on their health? While that may sound good, it probably won’t work on all people.
If you have a customer avatar of a young man who wants to get a fit body to attract the ladies, you could probably tell him that the gym membership will pay for itself many times over when he looks ripped and turns ladies’ heads wherever he goes.
Of you could tell a lady that with a gym membership, she has access to all the equipment she needs to get in shape so that she’ll look good in anything she wears. She just won’t be able to get that by exercising at home. She probably could… but your goal is to sell her the gym membership and not a fitness DVD.
You can have several different customer avatars for the same product. The avatar is just a tool to help you understand your prospect and be prepared to sell to in a way that resonates with them. You MUST be on the same ‘frequency’ as your prospect.
2 – Sell Only What You Believe In
You can’t convince others if you’re not convinced yourself. You absolutely must believe in what you’re selling. Not only will your pitch be more convincing, but you’ll also feel a sense of satisfaction. You’ll be more driven and have more desire to tell the world just how great the product you’re selling is.
If you stepped into a Lamborghini dealership, you can bet that every salesperson there will totally love the cars they’re selling. They’ll probably be fanatic about fast cars and know all the specifications and will be able to give you a hundred reasons as to why their car is the best in the world. They’re passionate about their product and the passion rubs off on the prospect.
Avoid promoting or selling something that you don’t believe in just because you want the money. This happens online and offline too. Every day, tons of online marketers mail their list promoting products that they’ve never tried or had no interest in. They just want the commissions.
Over time, they lose credibility and their list of subscribers stop believing them… and once this happens, it’s almost game over. If someone does not believe you, they’ll NOT buy from you.
Believe in your product and your prospect will believe in you and your chances of getting the sale will skyrocket.
3 – Listen and Empathize
This is key to succeeding with sales. It’s all about listening to the customer and understanding their needs. In fact, the best salespeople don’t even mention their product for the first 15 to 20 minutes. They’re more concerned with what the prospect needs.
By having a listening ear and showing empathy, you’re building a relationship with a customer. If we used the same gym membership example above, you’ll discover the emotional reasons why people are considering joining the gym.
By talking to your prospect, you may notice that maybe they lack confidence because they’re overweight and they hope to shed the pounds. Or maybe they had a life-threatening health issue and now they want to turn their lives around. It could be a mother who wants to be healthy to see her kids grow up.
It could be a wife who wants her husband to take notice of her again. It could be anything… but you’ll only find out if you listen and show that you have their best interests at heart. Doing this alone is enough to show that you’re NOT just another sleazy salesperson.
Over and above all, be genuine. People can discern if you truly care or if you’re just going through the motions. Like Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.”
4 – Know What You’re Selling
This is of paramount importance. You must know your product. Selling a car? You need to know the specifications, the price, what are the benefits, the safety features… the everything.
Make it a point to know as much as you possibly can about your product. Anticipate any questions potential prospects might have.
You need to know all the features of your product like the back of your hand and when you’re talking to your prospect, you’ll mention these features but dress them up as benefits and show how these will put an end to your prospect’s problems.
E.g. (Features) The gym has a variety of cardio machines ranging from treadmills to stair climbers to rowing machines. There’re enough machines so that there’s always equipment free for the client to use.
(Benefits) They’ll not need to wait for the machines and this saves them time… and with cardio, they’ll lose weight much more successfully.
5 – Consistency and Follow Up
This is crucial to improving your sales. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling digital goods, physical goods or memberships. Not everyone you encounter is going to buy on the first pitch.
Always get their contact number or address or email, depending on the way you sell. If you’re an online marketer, you can send follow up emails at intervals and let them know of deals or just remind them about your product.
The same applies in the real world where you can mail your prospect brochures or promotional material informing them of discounts or special deals. It’s all about not letting them forget you.
Even if you’ve successfully made a sale, try and stay in contact with your customer and check in on them every now and then to see if they’re using what they purchased.
Of course, do exercise common sense here. If someone forked out a few thousand dollars for a car, it would be wise to stay in touch with them because it might generate repeat sales or recommendations through word of mouth. The same wouldn’t apply if they bought a potato peeler for five dollars. You’re a sales person and not a stalker.
6 – Be Prepared for the Competition
It’s inevitable for there to be competition in any profitable industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling cars, clothes, copiers or Coca-Cola. There will always be others selling similar products.
The goal here is to know why your product is better. You need to know the unique selling point of your product. Does it last longer? Is it more affordable? Does it taste better or look better?
What makes a Lamborghini better than a Porsche or a Ferrari? We most likely don’t know the answer, but you can bet that the sales people at the Lamborghini dealership have 10 reasons why.
You don’t need to knock down or bad-mouth your competition and you shouldn’t… BUT you must be prepared to highlight why your product is more suitable for the client’s needs. It’s all about reframing the offer and painting it in the best possible light so that it seems like the best choice.
7 – Exude Confidence and Avoid Hyperbole
You must communicate with your prospect from a place of confidence. Do not make it look like you’ll be out of a job if they don’t buy your product. Nothing reeks of sleaziness more than a desperate salesperson.
You need to appear like what you’re selling is an excellent product with lots of potential buyers waiting in the wings. By having confidence, the prospect will believe that it’s their loss if they do not make the purchase.
Confident salespeople do NOT beg for the sale and they do not pull a long face or ‘show attitude’ if the prospect says no. If they say no, do ask them why and see what their objections are. Address these and highlight the benefits and make them see why your product will solve their problems.
Once you do this, the ball will be in their court and it’s their game. There is no need to resort to hyperbole to get the sale or keep pressing them till they cave in.
It’s very common online to hype products up with bold, unrealistic claims just to get the sale. In almost all cases, the product never lives up to the hype and is a disappointment.
Believe in your product and communicate with confidence. If you can do that, that’s more than half the battle won.
If you adopt these 7 tips and practice them, you’ll be head and shoulders over most of your peers. Becoming good at sales requires practice and an understanding of human nature. Once you figure it out, you’ll excel at sales and meet your targets without appearing sleazy or desperate to others.
“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect.” – W. Clement Stone