This week, Clay had all of the business coaches read a fantastic book by Jerry Vass called Soft Selling in a Hard World – Plain Talk on the Art of Persuasion – An Essential Handbook for Professionals & Small Business Owners. In this book, Vass breaks down in detail exactly what to do and exactly what not to do when selling. He explains how sales have become this direct front-facing attack of buyers from sellers. Step by step he explains how to ask your buyers probing questions, bring benefits to them, and how to close the sale. It is such a phenomenal book if you are trying to write a script, sales pitch, or simply selling anything.
When selling a product or service, listen to exactly what your prospect has to say. Don’t interrupt them, don’t assume you know their needs before they tell you, and don’t feed features of your product straight to them. Buyers want you to listen to them. So often we are trying to sell something we think the buyer needs when they would rather have their problem solved. Step one is simply listening to their needs.
Often we like to spill all of our extensive knowledge onto the buyer simply because we have it and we think they want it. Most of the time, we overwhelm the buyer with so much content, they tune us out. The buyer has no interest and frankly doesn’t even care about your product. They don’t care about the features and they don’t care about how great it is. The buyer simply knows they have a problem and they need someone to fix it. We have to probe those needs out of them by asking question after question. Step two is to ask questions instead of telling features and information.
The buyer simply knows they have a problem and they need someone to fix it.
Once we have gathered all of the buyer’s needs we need to show them how we can solve their needs and how we have solved the needs of many others like them. We do this by offering benefits to them and their company. This might mean they can lower company downtime and be more productive by using your product. It could mean that you can provide a product for them to upsell to benefit their customers. It all comes back to the fact that the buyer only cares about their needs and therefore we should only care about how we can solve their needs. Step three is solving needs and not selling benefits.
Some great probing questions to gain clarity on their needs would be “How are decisions in your company regarding shipping made?” as opposed to “Who handles shipping at your company?”. One probe is very direct and one flanks the buyer and is very indirect. Buyers have trained themselves to shut down frontal questions and to immediately say “No!” as soon as possible. We have to seem as though we are not selling and take the soft approach. Step four is to probe and stop pitching.
The last step and the one most of us get wrong is close. It is much easier to avoid confrontation and to leave the conversation open-ended. You have to come to a point of closure with your prospect by setting a date, making an order, or signing a deal. Your entire conversation with the buyer should be aimed at closing the sale. When you assume the sale and make the decision in your mind that the buyer will buy when you are finished talking to them, it is much easier to close the deal. When a buyer rejects you, that is simply a trial rejection and provides you with another opportunity to find their needs, bring benefits to solve their problem and go for the close again. Some conversations have multiple trials closes and where most people get it wrong is giving up at the first “No” they get. You must keep trying and believe that your product can fulfill their needs. Close the deal every time.