Article By: April Dodson
Sales is all about relationship building and approach.
Plan your approach: In the same way you need to properly select ingredients and carefully follow a recipe for a dish to turn out favorably, you need to diligently plan your sales approach. Think about how the conversation might go beforehand. Be ready with rebuttals. Don’t approach your target with a one-size-fits-all sales approach. Tailor your sale to the specific needs of your target. Prepare your approach to make sure you get your foot in the door.
Types of approaches: You want to be both persuasive and informative. Don’t solely rely on one or the other; find a balance. Include standard information about what you are selling, it’s purpose, and the differences between you and your competitors. Teach your customer about what you have to offer. Be persuasive (but not pushy) by letting them know WHY they need what you are selling. Don’t be afraid to leave them reminders after your initial approach.
Making the approach: When you make your actual approach, your goal is to generate interest in what you have to offer.
How do you plan your approach to target your customer’s needs?
You wouldn’t buy something from someone you don’t trust, right? In order to have an effective approach, you need to get your target to trust you. Be open and real with your target. Answer their questions honestly.
If you don’t make a sale right away, don’t give up. Be persuasive (but not pushy). Readjust your sales plan if needed. Re-plan your approach and try again at a later date with the same target. Or learn where you went wrong on a failed approach and improve those aspects of your next sales approach. Always be learning from your mistakes and bettering yourself. This is your livelihood, so you can’t just give up. You have to make it happen; no one else is going to make it happen for you.
I have learned over the years that people who trust in their own knowledge, professionalism, and in their product or services are successful. People who have doubts do not succeed. If you approach a target with preconceived doubts in your head, you are setting yourself up for failure. I have seen it happen over and over again. Confidence is key.
There are several different effective types of sales approaches:
The Buddy: Many people feel better about buying from someone they like. The Buddy approach involves being warm and friendly, asking questions, and showing interest in your customer. You want to try to connect with your target on an emotional level. But avoid faking it, because people can often tell. Try this approach if you are a genuinely sociable and extroverted person.
The Guru: For those who prefer a more logical sell, the Guru is an excellent sales approach. If you are highly knowledgeable in your field or an expert within your industry, and appear as such to targets, they will be more likely to trust your suggestions when it comes to your products and services. You want to have answers for your customers and be a strong resource for them.
The Consultant: Also known as “solution selling.” As the Consultant, your goal is to sell your service or product as a solution to a problem. Whether you are approaching an individual with a solution to a specific need, or are approaching a company with a solution to an organizational problem, you need to make your approach by asking questions that are relevant to your target and listening to your customer.
The Soft VS Hard Sell: The Soft Sell approach involves simply offering guidance to a customer when they are deciding on a selection. You want to use gentle persuasion or suggestions to convince your target. The Hard Sell (which isn’t always well-received by customers) involves convincing your target that they need your product or service, or that your product or service won’t be available for very long so they need to make a purchasing decision NOW.
After your first approach, make another appointment if needed. Making another appointment after your initial approach is a good idea if you want to bring your product, services, or ideas to a different decision-maker within your target company. It is also a good idea if, for whatever reason, the person you initially spoke to doesn’t like you. Making a second appointment can give you an opportunity to send in someone else from your company to speak to them and hopefully increase your chances of making the sale.
Don’t just end your planning at your sales approach; plan for your entire sales cycle. You need to have a plan on hand for immediate business, for business in one month from now, six months from now, and even two years from now. Create a plan that will help you close deals from last year. Learn how to re-approach targets who you left prices with but never heard back from.
Always follow up at least once. Be pleasantly persistent after your initial approach. Remind your targets of what you have to offer as well as of the prices you offered them.
What is your best follow up or go-to for closing deals after your approach?
It is important to know what your target experiences and feels. Understand what it is like being on the receiving end of a sale to offer them the best possible approach.
Consider interviewing someone who has bought something from you. Documenting their feedback and think about the feedback given.
Remember, successful sales relationships are built on trust, communication, and a genuine desire to help your clients succeed. By focusing on these elements, you can create lasting partnerships that go beyond individual transactions.