By a show of hands, how many of you love being sold to by a pushy salesman? Ok, now how many of you like being sold to, period? Really? That’s not surprising.
Now let’s flip the question. How many of you like selling? Right. If you don’t like selling, how do you make any money? All of those are valid questions to ask, especially if you’re running a business. No doubt if you have your own business, you don’t like fielding calls from solicitors trying to get you to buy their fancy new widget that will revolutionize your operation. You also don’t like forcing your wares on people, but know that they’re responsible for your livelihood. Quite a conundrum you’re in.
What if I told you that there’s a way that you can sell where it doesn’t seem like you’re selling? Cue the angelic trumpeters. Read on to learn more.
Sales, as you’re well aware, comes down to a few basic principles:
- Knowing your customer.
- Providing a product or service that satisfies a need they have (solves a problem).
- Getting the customer to pay for said service or product.
The sales process starts with having a conversation with a potential customer. You get to know them by asking open-ended questions to identify what their particular needs are. As they start answering your questions, you’ll start to get an understanding about how your particular product or service solves a need they have. Notice how you’re not being pushy, but you’re being more curious. In Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, you’re able to build a rapport by being interested as opposed to being interesting.
Showing a genuine interest in your customer and their needs helps cement the relationship and affirms their belief that they can trust you and what you’re peddling.
The next step in the process is to show how your product or service satisfies a need they have. By understanding what their pain points are, or the problems they have, you can demonstrate how you can solve their problems by offering a solution that has features that satisfies their need.
As I mentioned earlier, the key to understanding your customer and their issues is to ask open-ended questions. What’s an open-ended question? Questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer. Questions that begin with Who, What, Why, When, Where, or How are good starting points.
So what are some examples of open-ended questions you can ask a customer? Here are some examples:
If you’re a lawnmower salesman, you might ask:
- How large is your yard?
- Who will be using the lawnmower?
- Do you want to use the lawnmower for more than just cutting the grass?
- What kind of terrain or obstacles does your yard have? Is it flat or hilly?
What if you’re in marketing? You might ask these questions:
- Who is your target consumer?
- How much do you have budgeted for your marketing endeavors?
- Where do you currently market?
- What marketing initiatives have had success?
- What marketing initiatives haven't worked for you in the past?
- What pain points do you have that marketing could help remedy?
Naturally, you want to tailor the questions to the product or service you’re selling.
Using open-ended questions to get to know your customer and their needs will help you sell more, because they help you position your product or service as the best solution to your customer's problem.
So how about you? Do you have any sales tips you’d like to share? Let’s discuss in the comments!