Becoming an Influential Sales Person
Your Guide to Enhancing Your Skills
Influence and persuasion are two skills used within selling that make a salesperson not only stand out in their area but also allows them the opportunity to become the only salesperson worth buying from within that sector or for that particular product/service.
There are many factors involved in becoming an influential sales person from knowing your customer to knowing your product to knowing when to talk and knowing when to listen!!
Yes, you may know your product inside out, what it does, it’s benefits and its features, but this does not mean that this product will sell solely based on your background knowledge of it.
Let’s say you pitch your perfect product to your customer but you do not take the adequate time and measurements required to build rapport with them, connect with them, or take their needs or desires on board – then it is highly likely your product is not going to meet the market buyer or even spark their curiosity.
And Vice Versa, let’s consider that you have built a strong rapport with your customer, you have sought out their desires, needs and even their budget and they then ask you a question about your product and you have no information to provide them with in relation to it and come across to them as clearly unprepared or unsure of the product benefits. The sale will most likely not reach a successful completion as the trust aspect of the rapport you had previously built will come falling through.
Being influential in sales requires an equilibrium between knowing your product and knowing your customer.
Let’s look at techniques you can incorporate into your everyday sales in order to become more influential in your selling techniques and thus increase profit, revenue and unit sales with confidence.
Benefit vs Feature – Knowing the Difference
Understanding the difference between Benefits and Features of a product prior to trying to pitch it is a vital part of turning a possible sale into a successfully completed sale.
By knowing the difference of these two aspects you are not only providing the high quality and relevant information that the customer needs to make a purchase decision but you can also incorporate a message around it to further drive the desire and need that the customer has for the product.
Let us look at an example:
Imagine you are selling a ‘reusable and refillable insulated water bottle’ which will reduce your single use plastic water bottles while keeping your drinks cold for up to 8 hours
What are the features of this item and what are its benefits. Well the quick answer is;
Features are aspects of your product, which could be technical or descriptive – reusable/ refillable/ insulated
Benefits are why that feature matters for your customers. In other words, how that feature makes their life better – reduce single use plastic/ keeps drinks cold for up to 8 hours
By knowing the difference between these then you are not only going to be confident and influential in your selling techniques but you will also be able to create a message around the product that your customer can relate to, ie:
single use plastic reduction = safer for the environment which can elicit an emotional response, which in turn is very effective for creating purchase commitment.
Ambiverts VS Introverts/Extroverts
Ambiverts have been repeatedly seen to be successful sales people as they can alternate between introvert and extroverted personality traits seamlessly. As an ambivert sales person you’ll have the best of both worlds:
You are not too excitable and talkative the way an extrovert may come across. Taking over the conversation and its natural flow, leading to a one-sided conversation, can leave the customer feeling confused or even frustrated.
Also, you are not too timid or reserved in making your pitch to a customer in the way an introvert may be. Leading with this style of quiet communication can cause a lack in the urgency needed to successfully drive a sale of the product and its benefits may in turn fall flat.
An Ambivert reaches the balance of not being overly talkative and not being shy. They find the strategic equilibrium between talking and listening and when each one is appropriate allowing them to adapt to the customer and their needs throughout the discussion. This puts the customer at ease as they will feel listened to, respected and it will build a strong rapport while also creating the urgency of locking in a sale.
Encourage and use customer feedback to its full potential
Customer feedback is simply asking for information based off the product or service or even all-round purchasing experience your customer had with your business.
Customer feedback is a crucial part of the success of any business and has the potential for you to understand your customers on a deeper level which is key for when you want to increase your sales.
By asking for feedback, you can learn a whole lot about what your customers want/need and desire and gives you the opportunity to provide this for them.
Of course, you would prefer to receive only positive feedback every time, however this is unrealistic even for the most well-known products and companies. You should not fear feedback that is not as shining as you hoped, as this is also an opportunity to adapt and overcome and learn from your customer.
Taking on this kind of feedback, addressing it and putting action into place to rectify this shows that you not only appreciate your customers but you value their feedback and the time it took to provide it which you can now build on a better your services or product from.
Don’t talk bad about the competition
Negative talk, especially in front of a customer can be a reflection not only on you and your professionalism but also on your business and its ethos.
For example, if you are quick to jump into negative talk about your competitors without hesitation, be it about how they conduct themselves or their product versus yours and why theirs doesn’t compare, this can come across as a sign of weakness and intimidation from competitors and do the opposite of what your goal is – push the customer toward to competitors’ market.
It is also important to remember that it is a small world out there and negative talk can get back to your competitors or reach the ears of other customers! Whatever you do or say can impact the reputation of your company.
Stay positive, stay confident and let your product and sales techniques speak for themselves.
(Objections are not Rejections)
Overcoming sales objections can be a challenge but it is important to realise that
Objections are not Rejections
Take these sales objections as an opportunity to reframe them and enhance your selling skills and techniques. So, what is reframing and how is it used in sales objections, Let’s look at an example:
You have built your rapport and made your pitch and your customer has been very receptive to everything you have had to say. They have asked their questions and enquired further into your service/product showing clear interest but when it comes to the closing of the sale you are met with:
‘I cannot afford to spend that much; my budget won’t allow for it!’
This can be disheartening of course but it is important to remember this is not a rejection and it is your next move that can change the outcome of this interaction. Reframe the concerns and remind the customer that –
- Price is relative to the value of the service/product
- From having this service/product it will save money for them in the long term, be it in time, revenue or overall efficiency
- Focus on the products strengths and how it will be advantageous for the customer, hence concreting the value of the product
Taking the time to listen to objections, see them as opportunities to adapt your sales skills and in turn potentially completing a sale is the way to overcome these obstacles in sales. There is no room for defensive approaches in this scenario as it can further push the customer away turning a simple objection into an outright rejection which you cannot come back from.
So, take the time to listen to your customer, taking on their worries or concerns – reiterate the features and benefits of your service/product showing them how it will be advantageous for them – take this experience on as a positive learning experience in sales and adapt your techniques to close sales through reframing.