If I’m cooking pasta, you’ll likely find me, glass of red wine in hand, swaying to a smooth, sexy jam from my girl Sade. Who doesn’t want to be a freakin’ smooth operator?!
Today, we’re going to talk about sales strategies. Wait- don’t run away! Sales can be FUN! It doesn’t have to be slimy, sleazy, or cheap. Thanks to bad car salesman and pushy telemarketers, sales has gotten a bad rep. The fact of the matter is, if you’re selling something, you need to be a smooth operator when it comes to your sales game. There’s just no getting around it. Want to master the art of sales, in a way that will make clients flock to you like teeny boppers to a Justin Bieber underwear ad? Of coarse you do!
Over the summer, I bought a new car (yay!), and the process was a freakin’ nightmare, because of the 17 terrible, no good, lousy salesmen I had to deal with. Their sales strategies were terrible, and sometimes downright uncomfortable.
We had to stop at a bar halfway through the ordeal because I just couldn’t stand going to another dealership without a wine and bread pudding break.
When people think of sales, they often think of sleaze balls. They think about when they used to tell telemarketers their parents were dead during dinner time, so they would stop getting those pesky phone calls. Thoughts of walking into a store and being harassed by the helicopter sales associate might come to mind.
Today, drop any preconceived notions you have about sales. I want to turn you into a smooth operator, by giving you swoon-worthy sales tactics that will help land you more clients.
KNOW YOUR OFFERINGS
I know, you THINK you know what you’re selling. You created the products/services, you’ve been offering them since the dawn of time, so you assume you know them like the back of your hand. Wrong-o! Knowing your offerings is so much more than knowing what you’re selling and how much you’re selling it for. It’s knowing who could benefit most from each product/service. It’s knowing what type of problem it will solve for your ideal clients. If you don’t know how to communicate these things clearly, chances are your clients aren’t fully understanding your pitch. When you confuse a potential client, you lose them! Mixed signals, conflicting statements, wishy-washy answers, they will cause your conversation to flatline, fast.
When I was car shopping, sales guys that didn’t know their stuff drove me crazy, but not as crazy as the guys that clearly weren’t listening to my needs, and were just showing me whatever their hearts desired! My two non-negotiable features were heated seats and an 8″ screen with built in navigation. It drove me INSANE that one sales guy kept showing me cars with no navigation. Wasn’t he listening to me?! Ugh!
Make sure you know your offerings inside and out, so that you can pinpoint which ones are best for your clients, and successfully explain to them why what you’re selling is perfect for them.
HAVE A PLAN
When you talk with someone that is interested in working with you or purchasing one of your products, having a sales strategy already in mind is key.
Scripted pitches feel stuffy, so I’m not encouraging that, but having an outline to follow will help you close the deal time and time again. If you run a service based business, consider requiring people let you know the reason they’re contacting you, so that you have a rough idea of how to steer the conversation before you jump into a conversation. Depending on your services, you could also have potential clients fill out a short survey, so you can really get a feel for what they need and how you can help them.
For the most part, make all your pitches flow the same way. When you have points you know to touch on in each call, it makes you seem like more of an expert, and it will prevent you from hanging up and thinking “Crap! I forgot to tell them X”.
If most of your conversations are done via email, consider creating canned responses that you can easily tweak and send off so that you’re always consistent and aren’t leaving anything out!
TALK LESS, LISTEN MORE
Often, when we’re chatting it up with a potential client, we’re so busy trying to sell ourselves that we talk ourselves right out of the sale. Worst sales strategy ever. We miss the little cues the person we’re trying to win over is giving us, and we don’t really listen to what they’re saying, and we fail to show them how we can solve their problems.
Aim to talk only about 20% of the time when you’re talking with a prospective client. I know, that seems counterproductive, since the whole point is to land the sale, but trust me, it works! By listening, not only do you show the person you genuinely care about what they’re saying, you’ll be able to really fit your “pitch” around their needs. This shows them you’ve been listening, and makes them feel comfortable. When you engage people, you build trust, and that’s one of the keys to successful sales!
FRIENDLY FOLLOW UP
It’s SO important to follow up with each person you chat with!
This can be as simple as shooting them a quick email thanking them for taking the time to talk with you, and providing something of value that you think would specifically help them, based on your conversation.
This shows that you were listening, and makes them feel like you sincerely want to help them. Perhaps they mentioned that they recently started working out, and you love finding healthy meals to whip up. Send a link to your favorite recipe blog! Or they mention that they hate Instagram, because they are so bad at remembering to take pictures, and when they do, they never seem share-worthy! Send them this video, they’ll surely get a laugh out of it (and you will too!).
I take notes whenever I talk to someone about working together, and write down the personal tidbits they share with me just as much as the business related ones. If we don’t end up working together, I keep their sheet in a file, and when I see something I think they’d like, or I notice that their birthday is coming up, I drop them a line. Not because I have a secret agenda, but because I like surprising people with little things I think they’d enjoy. BUT, often that does lead to a sale!
With these tips, you’re sure to be a smooth operator the next time you chat with a prospective client! Just remember, sales is all about trust. Demonstrating that you care will go a long way.
Coast to coast, LA to Chicago; across the north and south, to Key Largo, you’ve got this, girl!
Is there a particular part of the sales process where you feel yourself crashing and burning, time and time again? Shout out your struggles in the comments and I’ll give you some ideas for sales strategies that feel natural!
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