In a recent column Vanessa Nornberg – owner of Metal Mafia and a member of our Board of Experts – tackled a common sales training problem that many businesses have, especially with new, unseasoned salespeople. It might even be called a human issue, because in a nutshell it’s the “wanting to be liked” phenomenon. If your sales trainer isn’t addressing this issue, it could be costing you sales.
Vanessa points out that many salespeople think that in order to close on a sale, they have to be loved by the customer. The problem is that this notion can lead to your salespeople focusing on the wrong metric: price.
“Being the best friend of your customer, the way most sales reps define it, will mean forsaking the needs of your company, rather than finding a way for both your client and your business to get what they need.”
When a sales rep is centering their sales approach around the price, they have a tendency to “offer the sun, the moon, and the stars,” haggling away profits and possibly even under-focusing on matching the customer’s needs to the product you sell. That’s not to say a salesperson has to be inflexible. Rather, there’s a better way to sell that allows a sales rep to meet both their customer’s and their company’s needs. Vanessa offer a few sales training tips on how to do this.
1. Establish Value Through the Eyes of the Customer – Go beyond the usual selling points and ensure that your sales team understands the value of your product or service from the customer’s perspective. Knowing the key attributes of a product is good. Knowing HOW those attributes create value and benefit the customer is even better, and can keep your sales reps from straying into haggling territory.
2. Know Your Competitors and How You’re Different – Make sure that your team has a thorough understanding of your competitors and how your product is unique. Be assured that in today’s plugged in world, your customer knows who they are. Vanessa doesn’t even shy away from mentioning competitors, noting that discussing them and their differences from your product can help to inform the customer on how your product better fits their needs.
3. Understand That the Price Is Not the Problem – Vanessa notes that “discounts, promotions, and sales are unnecessary when the customer sees the value in your product or service.” If your sales team too often feels that they need to negotiate on the price, then go back to Step 1, and focus on how to communicate value to the customer.
4. Believe in What You’re Selling – One of the best ways to instill confidence in your customers is to have the conviction that your product can change their lives, or at least improve it.
5. Create a Sense of Urgency – Not by coming off like the proverbial used car salesman, but by simply asking each prospect to make their purchase today. According to Vanessa, if your sales rep has gone through the first 4 steps, then “literally ask if they can help the customer start making the most of your product by assisting the prospect in purchasing it today.”
Arming your sales team with the best tools and the knowledge of how to use them is the key to amplifying your sales to maximum levels. As Vanessa says:
“Salespeople do the best when they understand that their customers will love them for listening carefully, for being knowledgeable, for telling the truth, and for helping their customer to make the right decision.”
You can read Vanessa’s article in its original form at Inc. Magazine’s website.