Today’s guest post is by Marc Wayshak, author of Game Plan Selling: The Definitive Rulebook for Closing the Sale in the Age of the Well-Informed Prospect and Breaking All Barriers: Insider Secrets to a Limitless Life.
When seeking to develop a football team, only amateur coaches spend all their time trying to improve the offense. This leaves the defense and special teams lacking and vulnerable. In much the same way, only an amateur will focus exclusively on acquiring more customers when looking to develop sales at an organization. This is just one of three important ways to increase sales, and it leaves much to be desired. An organization can increase sales also by closing bigger sales and selling more to existing customers. Companies that focus on all three of these areas will dramatically increase sales. Even minimal growth in each of these spaces can lead to a significant rise in sales.
Here are five tips to help you acquire new customers, close bigger sales, and sell more to existing customers so your sales will spike:
- Be distinct: Just saying that you're different from your competition doesn’t make you so. It's time to start actually behaving differently. Understand that your competitors are out there trying to persuasively and enthusiastically pitch their products and services. Your prospects expect this old-school selling tactic, so don't do it! Instead, be truly distinct by being genuine and following the steps below.
- Seek to understand: Most salespeople spend the majority of their time in selling situations talking about how great their company, products, and services are. This is the oldest trick in the book. If you want to acquire new customers while closing bigger sales and becoming a long-term strategic advisor to customers, then spend more time asking your prospects questions about their challenges and goals. Think of it this way: your customers aren't buying products or services from you, they're investing in solutions to their challenges in order to achieve specific outcomes.
- Disqualify: Most salespeople’s pipelines are full of junk, which means that the business they expect to close in the near future is often not likely to close at all. This is because many salespeople are trying to persuade prospects to do business with them. The problem with persuasion is that it assumes that every prospect is a good fit for what you have to offer. In reality, at least 50 percent of prospects are not a match. Rather than ask, “How do I persuade this prospect?” ask, “Is this prospect qualified for what I have to offer?” Change your mind-set, and you will begin spending more time with only qualified prospects.
- Create value: Salespeople often complain that they're getting beaten down on price. This happens for one simple reason: prospects don’t see real value in what the salespeople are selling. When a conversation is all about price, it's a sign that you're not creating value in your sales conversation. How do you create value? Focus on what the prospect cares about: solving challenges and achieving outcomes. Say you discover that a challenge is keeping your prospect’s organization from earning an additional $3 million. If you can explain to your prospect that you have a specific solution to that problem that will translate into an extra $3 million in revenue, do you think your prospect will try to beat you down on price? No way!
- Sell higher: We are more comfortable selling to people who are not decision makers. Selling to the higher levels in an organization takes most salespeople out of their comfort zone. But the problem with selling to people other than decision makers is that they can’t tell you yes. All they can do is tell you no. The most effective salespeople are selling at the highest reasonable levels within an organization. This could mean selling to presidents and CEOs or to VPs and directors; it all depends on who the best decision maker is for what you sell. Remember that it takes just as much time to sell to someone with the title of president as it does to sell to someone with the title of buyer; however, the more consistently you sell at high levels, the bigger the sales will be, because high-level decision makers choose solutions based on value, not price.
By following these five tips, you will close more sales, and the sales you close will be larger. These types of transactions will frame you as a strategic advisor, which means that prospects will buy from you far more frequently. Don’t be the football coach who focuses only on the team’s offense. Instead, lay out your strategy to improve all three areas of sales growth, and reap the rewards of bigger sales with more people, more frequently.
Do you have tips for closing bigger sales? Share your thoughts in the comments section.