No matter how many hats you may wear in your company (and sometimes, it’s a lot!) one role you’ll always come back to is sales person. We sell ourselves, our vision, our culture, our values, and we sell our products. But it isn't always easy. Consumers are busy, perplexed by a multitude of options, and they’re reluctant to part with their hard-earned money.
There are times when it’s not enough just to know your stuff.
You need a little sales magic – a technique that you know will serve you well and help you close the deal. Since I’ve always been fascinated by the psychology of sales, I’ve played with a number of strategies, and here is one of my favorites.
1. Make your pitch. Nothing fancy here, folks. You know your features, your benefits, your points of difference. Lay everything out and demonstrate why your prospect needs what you’re selling.
2. Ask for questions. Before you move on, you must make absolutely sure you’ve been clear. If your prospects are confused or unsure about what you’re offering, then eliminate that confusion. You don’t want to get all the way to the last step and find out your prospect doesn’t understand exactly what’s on the table.
3. Ask them to rate their interest. I make this pretty simple by asking, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you in working with my company?” 1 indicates zero interest, and 10 means they’re ready to sign on the dotted line. Ask for their number.
4. If they answer 5 or less (which is uncommon,) then you haven’t pitched your product properly. You need to find a way to connect what you’re selling to their specific needs. Once you understand your prospect’s objections, you’ll be able to overcome them.
5. Most people rate their interest around 6-9. When they give you their number, no matter what that number is, you should act surprised. Tell them you figured they’d come in one number lower. So if they rate their interest at an 8, you’re puzzled because you thought they’d be a 7. Whatever they answer, from 6-10, you ask them why they came in so high.
6. And then the magic happens. You listen. You’ve asked your prospect why they rated their interest so high, and they’re going to tell you. They’re going to list the reasons why your offering is so appealing. Why? Because they’re justifying their answer. And while you’re listening (try not to grin while they’re singing your praises,) they’re listening, too. They hear themselves making your pitch, and odds are good they’re going to convince themselves.
7. Close the deal. After you’ve let your prospects tell you how wonderful your company is, then you ask for the sale! Explain how you understand why they feel the way they do, and ask if they’re ready to move forward.
Most of the time, by the time I get to the seventh step, I have my sale. Now, of course I’m not going to tell you this method will work 100% of the time, but I have found it to be amazingly effective. Why? Because I get my prospects talking, and what’s more, I get them talking about all the reasons why they should say “yes!” In turning the tables, you’re helping prospects to see why you genuinely are the best option. It’s a beautiful thing.
Mike Michalowicz (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts and no savings he systematically bootstrapped a multi-million dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is MSNBC’s business make-over expert; is a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and is the author of the cult classic book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan has already been called “the next E-myth!”