You may have heard that sale is more of an art than a science. And while it’s true that some people have a natural ability, research shows that making the perfect pitch doesn’t just depend on intuition and luck. These 12 books will guide you to ignore unproven hearsay in favor of an evidence-based approach to sales. With these books, you’ll learn the patterns behind your decision-making process and how to hone your sales strategy to be more convincing.
Armed with these fantastic methods from the books presented here, you’ll be ready to make your next pitch a winner.
Succeeding in sales is about developing the right attitude and fostering solid and friendly relationships based on trust with your customers. By being an honest friend and genuinely discovering what your customers want and need, you’ll have created a life-long revenue stream.
Next time you receive a customer complaint, smile! Customer complaints aren’t nuisances that you have to take care of but opportunities for more sales. Every customer complaint is a chance for you to solve another customer’s need and become a problem solver in your customer’s eyes.
Most people opening their own business know it will be challenging. Being an entrepreneur is a full-time job between creating the best product, maximizing efficiency, and serving customers. However, most people don’t know that the real challenges lie beneath your primary business responsibilities: becoming a successful entrepreneur also means conquering your fears, defining your priorities, and following your dreams.
Define your number one priority and stick to it.
At the start of every day, take a moment to consider the tasks you expect to accomplish. From these, choose one top priority for the day and put everything else aside. Concentrating on your goal and not starting anything else until you’ve attained it will accomplish more and feel better.
Though the traditional approach to sales is well-established, it must be recognized that making more extensive sales requires a more innovative strategy. Center your process around investigating the needs of your prospective customer to achieve a winning sales career.
Be a problem-solver.
Before calling a client, ask yourself what problem you’d like to solve for him. Actively prepare this first step by writing down at least three potential issues that he might be facing and that your product or service could solve.
You negotiate more often than you think and should learn to do it well. The outcome of any negotiation primarily depends on the power, time, and information each side has at its disposal. Though some negotiators aim to win at all costs, it is entirely possible to negotiate for mutual satisfaction.
- Most things in the world can be negotiated, so you should learn to do it well.
- Avoid Soviet-style negotiators – they mistake negotiations for battlefields.
- Collaborative win-win negotiations are possible when everyone’s needs are identified and harmonized.
- Successful negotiation means tapping into the many sources of power at your disposal.
- Make it hard for the other side to say no, but guard yourself against this same tactic.
- The distribution and sharing of information can significantly affect your negotiation success.
- Deadlines can influence negotiations but don’t consider them absolute.
- When you negotiate, make it personal – but in a good way.
Whether selling products, negotiating with colleagues, teaching children, or pitching ideas, the art of moving people is becoming an ever-increasing part of our lives. To do this effectively, you must embrace the new ABCs of selling (Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity) and master the tools of the trade: pitching, improvising, and serving.
- Selling – or at least moving others – is part of almost every job today.
- Honesty and service are the new tenets of sales.
- Attunement: Understand others’ perspectives to move them effectively.
- Buoyancy: Overcome rejection before, during, and after it happens.
- Clarity: Move others by helping them see their problems and solutions more clearly.
- Modern pitches need to be short and engaging.
- Borrow techniques from improvisational theatre to use in your sales.
- To successfully move people, make your efforts personal and purposeful.
A scientific approach to marketing – from calculated psychological tactics to increasing demand to draw in your customers with sensory experiences – can take your sales to the next level. But, of course, as a customer, you’ll have to watch your back, whether shopping in a store or online!
Body language impacts how well you sell – and how likely you are to buy.
You've got it wrong if you thought body language was something you could forget about after your job interview. On the contrary, it’s essential in retail.
Wide stances or hands-on-hips create high-power poses and may evoke self-confidence, competence, or aggression. Compare this to low-power poses: folded arms or crossed legs. These poses are more relaxed but can also seem incompetent or dismissive – not great for sales staff!
Posture can significantly impact your decisions as a customer, but would you have guessed that the way you’re made to bend your arms in stores can change your buying choices, too?
Over our lifetimes, we learn to associate bending our arms, or arm flexion, with a desire to acquire, while arm extension is linked with rejection. Think about how you’d welcome your best friend – by flexing your arm to hug him. Or what about when someone you don’t like comes too close – you’d extend your arm to push her away.
Because of this, companies should place products on lower shelves, so customers don’t have to reach out their arms to grab what they want. Arm extension just feels counter-intuitive in this context! Even supplying shopping baskets instead of trolleys, which make people bend their arms rather than extend them, can encourage customers to pick up more items from the shelves.
Word-of-mouth recommendation is the best way to grow your business. And here’s the good news – if you plan thoughtfully, it’s free! Crafting a talk trigger that fits your brand’s core values and inspires customers to talk about you can help you stand out in a crowd. And that can make all the difference.
Take a cue from your competitors.
Analyzing social media is key to success. However, many businesses forget that it’s just as important to look at customers’ opinions of other companies as it is to find out how they view their own company. So, here’s a helpful tip: look at what people are saying about rival brands you admire. You’ll quickly get a sense of what works and can apply those lessons to crafting your unique talk triggers.
Marketing services can be challenging, but it's vital in today's economy. The heart of any service marketing effort is the service itself and its focus and position, as these empower things like branding and reputation. As services are not tangible, they are best promoted through clear and consistent messages that tell a compelling story about the company.
Work on making your service great before you start anything else.
Service quality is crucial to service marketing. It is hard to promote or advertise a service lacking in quality.
Ask yourself whether your service is something people would want to buy or would say good things about. If this is not the case, you will have trouble marketing it. Customers don't flock to businesses that offer poor-quality service, nor do they say good things about these businesses to others.
Narrow down your focus to define a strong position.
Focus is how you view and present your company. The position is how customers perceive your company. You can't possibly do everything at once with your service, nor can you promote everything about your business at once. If you try to stress your quality, prices, speed, and efficiency all at once, you will not find yourself in a strong position. Instead, focus on one thing and on doing and promoting that one thing very well. Your position will naturally stem from this focus, as customers associate you with it.
Turn your service into a brand.
Brands are powerful things. Most people choose trusted brands over their unfamiliar competitors because brands promise consistency and quality. So first, craft your brand using a good, memorable name and visual elements that fit your company's image. These can be logos, letterheads, or even your office design. Then, back up your brand with quality and integrity. This will take time, but it is well worth the effort.
Sale isn’t just about goods and services. Sooner or later, we all have to sell ideas, projects, even points of view. By flipping the script, controlling the conversation, and establishing your credibility, you can present your ideas in a way that buyers perceive as natural and even inevitable.
The typical salesperson can be represented with five different archetypes. See if any of these sound familiar.
She starts as your best friend. “Great to see you! Where are you from? Oh, wow! I have family there!” Next, she’ll shift into huckster mode, bombarding you with every last detail about the beautiful product she’s offering. If that’s not enough to win you over, she becomes a miracle worker, producing completely unverifiable claims that her product will change your life. “You’ll never look at french fries the same way!” The trial close is floated by a perfectly submissive angel who will do anything and everything to get you to buy. But when you still have doubts, the angel turns into a wolf, swatting aside your objections as utterly irrelevant. By the end of the encounter, you don’t know who you’re dealing with!
Savvy buyers can see through the most prominent sales tactics, especially when you’re constantly switching personas. It keeps them guarded and forces them to question your integrity. There are two things that buyers respond to consistently: authenticity and expertise. People will know when you’re trying to put one over on them, so be yourself. And when you really, honestly believe in your idea, product, or service, that comes through. Whatever you’re trying to sell, no one knows it better than you.
You are the expert, so draw confidence from that. Your belief in what you’re selling will inspire confidence in the people you’re selling it to. But if that confidence wavers, stick to your guns. Indecision can be seen as a sign of weakness. Buyers will respect you if you say, “I may not always be right, but I’m never in doubt.”
By showcasing who you are and holding firm to your core beliefs, values, and principles, you can present a compelling case for any idea you want to put across.
Developing a high-performance sales culture is critical to a sales team's success. Sales managers must prioritize high-value tasks, prepare and value their team and work strategically to achieve goals.
The final advice is for every manager to get out into the field. No manager can effectively lead a sales team from their desk. So get out there and see the real challenges your team faces first hand.
Being at your team’s side in the field will strengthen relationships with your team and your key customers.
If you want to close sales consistently, you need to follow a repeatable process every time. Before initiating contact with your prospects, make sure you’re proactive about who you’re getting in touch with and put in the work to find out their wants and needs. By approaching the sales process from your customers’ point of view, you’ll be equipped with what it takes to close the deal.
Use a trial close to redirect a customer’s objection.
Once you’ve handled a customer’s objection and discovered its reasons, use a “trial close” to see whether you can win the customer back by eliminating those reasons. For instance, if your customer’s objection is the proposed schedule, use a trial close by offering: "But once we adjust our schedule, you’ll be interested, right?"
Sales shouldn’t just be a game of trial and error. Decades of research into psychological and social science have revealed effective strategies for making pitches more reliable and effective. An intelligent salesperson should focus on creating positive feelings, demonstrating the value of their products or services, and asking powerful questions to understand their clients’ needs and desires truly. Applying these insights to your practice can improve your abilities and get better results.
Hire intrinsically motivated salespeople. Good salespeople are motivated to close a deal. However, great salespeople are also inspired by their personal desire to hone their abilities and do their best. So, when hiring sales staff, look for workers who desire to improve their skills continuously. These internally motivated individuals are destined to be top performers in the long run.
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