Question: Why is it difficult to sell your products or services?
If you are like most small business owner, you will complain that you do not have a competitive advantage…your product or service is commoditise…you run is a small company…your business is in a small town…your business is in a big town…etcetera…etcetera…etcetera.
What is the objective of selling?
The objective of selling is to persuade the buyer that your product or service is the best value for his money.
In order to achieve the object of persuading the buyer that your product or service is the best value for his money, you have to demonstrate the value to him.
How to you demonstrate the value of your product or service to a buyer?
It done by doing an effective demonstration of your product.
How do you effectively present your product or service to a buyer to be able to convince them that they will derive value from it?
The rest of this article will walk you through the process of effectively presenting your product in such a way that it will persuade any prospect to immediately accept your offer.
The main thing that kills 99.9% of sale is presentation of your product or service early in a selling situation. For decades sales professionals have been taught that the most effective way of selling is to overcome buyer’s objections.
However, numerous research conducted by seasoned sales professionals have shown that causing the buy to have an objection is the worst thing that can happen to any sales person in a selling situation.
You might be thinking to yourself, it is not possible to persuade someone to buy a product or service without any objection.
I am telling you it is possible.
The way to do that is through consultative selling. What is consultative selling?
Just think for a moment what happens when you visit your doctor, does your doctor start telling you what he thinks is wrong with you and prescribe a treatment for you?
A doctor who does that will not survive the medical profession for a day.
So why do sales people think they can visit a buyer for the first time and decide their product or service is the right prescription for the individual?
This is the main reason many small businesses struggle to attract customers. They go into their sales and marketing situation as if they already know the problems the buyer is facing without even asking the buyer.
Decades ago, science was centred around universalities. However, many scientists have realised that in the new dispensation, universalities are incorrect. The new dispensation is about variability…each individual is different.
This is not to say every business or individual you try to sell to will be completely different.
Well yes they are different…yes they do have some commonalities. But we cannot use the notion of commonalities as the basis of our sales strategies. We need to approach every selling situation with the understanding that we dealing with a unique situation.
According to Peter Drukker, the guy who invented modern management, “…the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
He also said that “The aim of marketing is to make selling unnecessary.”
You cannot go into a selling situation with the mind-set that you are going to close the buyer. Your aim in a selling situation needs to be to help the buyer understand how your product or service will help them achieve their objectives.
Effective selling is a six step process:
Step One: Uncover their core problem
The first step in the process is to present an analysis of the buyer’s problem that you are hoping your product or service will solve.
It is a fatal sales assumption to assume that the moment you present your solution (product or service) to the buyer he will automatically translates the acquisition of your solution to the bottom line benefit he will derive from using it.
It is equally fatal to assume that because you have a very generous offer, anyone will fall in love with your solution. It is more difficult to sell win, win situation than to sell win lose. The more attractive the win, the more you raise scepticism.
This is why it is imperative that you do not start your sales presentation with your solution, the most effective way of starting a sales conversation is with the problems of the buyer.
This in essence is rapport building. Many businesses still use the old rapport building strategies: giving gift or taking the buyer out for lunch. Those old school tactics will provide you temporary reprieve but they are not long-term sales strategies.
Long-term sales strategy is about walking the buyer through his problem and making him to reach his own conclusion that your solution is what he needs.
You do this by presenting the analysis of the buyer’s problems. To do that effectively, you need to answer the following questions:
Why should they take the action to resolve their problem?
What will be the result of taking action?
Why do you claim the action will solve their problems?
By helping the buyer understand and verbalize their problems, they view you as someone who understands them. This is the most effective way of rapport building than taking them to lunch.
Step Two: Setting the direction of the solution
After you have analysed their problem, the next step is to set the stage for the solution. The easiest way of doing this is making a declaration that show to the buyer that you are willing to put your money where your mouth is.
Let me use our situation to illustrate this point. As a marketing consulting firm, we offer our clients pay-per-performance marketing. What that says to a buyer wanting hire us: we can be trusted.
One of the key to selling is trust. Buyers have heard so many promises and have been let down. Our willingness to take responsibility for our results sets us apart from our competitors.
Your pay-for-performance marketing offer will be the key to your success. This is how you set the direction of your solution.
Step Three: Present your solution
Presenting your solution in this instant does not mean that you are going to bore them with the features and benefits of your solution. They really do not care about your solution. What they care about is how your solution will help them solve their problems.
So your solution presentation at this point needs to take the form of drawing the connection between their problem and your solution…explaining to them the impact your solution will have on their bottom line.
Step Four: Overcome scepticism
Presenting a great offer and explaining the benefit of the offer to the buyer does not necessarily mean the buyer is now going to jump at your offer. The natural reaction of the buyer at this stage is: what is the catch?
I visit a prospect and tell him that you do not have to pay us anything for your marketing until we produce result. Do you think the average person is going to say OK go ahead start my marketing today.
What they are going to ask is: what are the terms? If I said there is no catch, do you think they will believe me?
However, when I outline our terms that make them know that we are not doing it out of the good of our heart, it now makes sense to them.
You should never be afraid to outline the negative of your solution. If you don’t, they will not believe you.
The goal here is to get the buyer to accept your solution, however, in order to do that effectively, you need to remove any feeling of negativity.
Step Five: Effective sales closing strategies
This is where the majority of sales break down. Small businesses and sales people think the fact that they have gone through the first four steps with the buyer, there is no other reason why the buyer should not buy their solutions.
Well there are two other reasons. The first one is internal obstacle within the buyer’s organisation. We consultants understand this situation better than anyone else. You make a sales call to a prospect, give them every reason under the sun why your consulting service will make them profitable and they agree with you. At the end of the presentation they do not buy because they do not have the money.
Resources and internal policies are two of the things that kill many sales. Even if the buyer wanted to buy your solution, if he cannot afford it, there is no way you will get him to buy it.
Step Six: How to overcome obstacles blocking the sales
When you have reached the final stage with your buyer and he informs you of internal obstacles that might prevent the transaction from taking place, instead of lecturing him on what to do, you need to ask for his opinion.
It is his company, he will know things that you do not know. So by asking his opinion you provide him the opportunity to show you how to sell to him.
They might be over resourced in some parts of the business. By going through this process with him, he will be able to come up with ways f sourcing the resources.
Effective selling is about empathy. It is about showing someone that you understand them and it is about building rapport.
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