Do we have something to sell?
11 sales strategies that will help you sell almost anything
When someone can sell even the most inconspicuous things, that's called sales talent. But the art of selling is not about telling people something they don't need. It lies in showing them that their decision is the right one. Conviction instead of manipulation.
A simple pen is often used as an example. Because a pen doesn't have to look extraordinary, it doesn't have to have any special functions. Basically, he doesn't have to do more than write. And that's exactly why a pen is so difficult to sell.
I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hellJay-Z
I am a hustler baby, I'll sell water to a well
Anyone who masters this can become a "damn good salesman," according to Ian Adams. Here are the best selling strategies for selling pretty much anything.
FAB (Features - Advantages - Benefits)
The well-known FAB technique (in German: functions - advantages - benefits) consists of three successive steps that are intended to give sales talks a clear structure. First, state the functions and characteristics of your company or product. Then the advantages, what the functions actually do, then the benefits - the positive effects of the functions on your customers.
This technique targets a common misconception among salespeople. To be too sure that functions automatically translate into benefits for the customer.
They disregard the individual needs of customers and overestimate their knowledge of the product on offer. Ultimately, you present them with product features without the resulting positive consequences for the customer. As a result, they think: “Great! Why exactly do I need this? "
Here is a practical example of the FAB technique. To name the features of our own live chat software could look like this:
1. "Our software is optimized for mobile devices."
This function sounds good, but does not specifically address a customer's problem or offer a solution to it. It does not encourage buying. Therefore, FAB does with the Benefits further:
2. “Many of your customers are surfing mobile when they come to your site. Talk to them via a chat window that has been optimized for this purpose. "
Finally, explain which one Use give your potential customer these advantages:
3. "Offer your customer service, no matter where your customers are or what device they are using, and thus boost your sales."
By sticking to the FAB structure, you will prevent useless feature boasting and make your product more understandable to your customers. They get a good reason to buy your product.
The “I'm on your side” technique
With this technique from Robert Cialdini's book Influence pretend to ally yourself with the customer against your own company ..
In Cialdini's example, the salesperson tells the customer that he would like to negotiate a deal for him, but that he must first convince his manager of it. So he lets the customer wait a few minutes while he supposedly talks to his boss in another room. Then he comes back, visibly exhausted, but happy that he got the deal through for the customer. The supposed fraternization with the sales person creates trust with the customer - fertile ground for future sales.
Of course, you don't need to be physically in the same place as your customer. Whether you're talking to your customer on the phone or via live chat, you can make it look like you're on their side.
The favor in advance
The concept of reciprocity describes our intrinsic tendency to return favors other people do us in the same way. This tendency remains surprisingly stable, even when the favor has more symbolic value or no real benefit.
Many experiments have shown that a seemingly selfless favor gives the recipient a strong feeling of wanting to return it. Free cans of cola, candy or Christmas cards reliably created reciprocity.
As this appeal for donations by a health organization has proven over a decade, the system even works if a transaction between two parties is only subsequently presented as a favor.
Take advantage of the principle of reciprocity by starting your sales pitch with a favor. Think of the myriad of things that inevitably make you smile and you will get a good impression of how versatile this technique is. Free product samples, other gifts, or exceptional content written with dedication, like that of the SEO wizards at Moz, are extremely reliable methods.
We do not despise any source that pays us benevolent attention.Mark Twain
As Grant et al. A 2010 study showed that immaterial attentions generate approval from the recipient by increasing their affection. In your next sales pitch, have a few nice words.
The “Because ...” reason
As the psychologist Ellen's experiment on queues in front of copy machines showed, the likelihood that a request for a favor will be granted increases significantly if a reason for the request is given. Langer found that even ridiculous reasons like "I have to print because I have to print" served as solid reasons for getting in line.
So when you speak to a lead, justify your request with the keyword “because” and you are one step further. From there, you can then use the next sales strategy to close the deal.
For example, imagine reaching out to a potential customer - who has probably never heard of you - to sell them your software. The first goal in this case would be to have the opportunity to present your product to them. Request this opportunity with the following reason: "I think you will be very interested to learn more about our software, because we have many of your competitors as customers ”or“ May I introduce you to our product? because we just have a special offer that you can take advantage of until tomorrow. "
Among the “because” reasons, scarcity is one of the strongest. If you've always wondered why the carpet shop around the corner has been calling its “final” clearance sale for years but never disappearing, read this post from Nir Eyal. Customers are more tempted to buy your product if they think availability is decreasing or may be decreasing.
But don't swing the sledgehammer straight away saying that this is the very last item. Instead, casually mention that your inventory is likely to run out or attract another customer's interest. Play the scarcity card in a subtle way.
Collect - answer - deliver - complete
This four-step technique, devised by Ian Adams, is about using information to guide you successfully through any sales pitch.
- collect informations
- Reply to information
- Provide information
- Asking for something, the conclusion
In relation to the example with the pen, Adam's holistic approach looks like this:
- Find out how the customer last used the pen (gather information)
- Emphasize the importance of the activity in which the pen was last used (respond to the information)
- Sell something bigger than the pen itself, like a frame of mind (deliver information)
- Ask about the purchase (complete)
Questioning the status quo
One way to implement steps two and three of Adam's technique is to question the status quo. Think of this technique as a counterpart to the Weil reasoning. It is ideal when you lack information about your counterpart and you are looking for a common ground. It protects you from the worst curse that uninterested buyers use to hide a seller: "No, I don't need it."
The Weil justification suggests simply giving any reason when asking for a favor. Questioning the status quo is a sharper weapon and therefore requires special care. Your reason for offering the product to the potential customer is that their current situation could be improved.
Wouldn't you agree that signing these new customer contracts is an important event for your company? (* nods his head *) Shouldn't it be treated as such? What I am telling you is that you are signing new customer contracts here, an important and memorable event. All while using a totally interchangeable pen.
If you take another look at Ian Adam's example of selling a pen, you will see that he used that same sales strategy. His prospective buyer has so far successfully signed contracts with normal pens. He could put his name on the contract with just about any pen without ever worrying about the item in his hand.
But Adams found room for improvement here: memorable events, like signing a contract with a new customer, require a memorable pen.
Before challenging the status quo, Adams uses an argument that anyone would probably agree, an essentially almost indisputable statement, to create consensus with prospective buyers. Who can't help but agree when Adams claims that another pen is necessary - one like the one he has with him (what a coincidence).
The "But It's Your Choice" Technique (AEIIE)
Proven in 42 psychological studies with a total of more than 22,000 participants, this sales strategy (“But you are free” in the English original) is not lacking in empirical confirmation. Jeremy Dean describes it in his blog post as "the only (really simple) persuasion technique that everyone should know."
Of course, an article like this would be pointless if I agreed. Even so, I think there are some great advantages to this technique, most notably its simplicity and sophistication.
In order to achieve agreement with the customer, AEIIE suggests ending your sales pitch with reminding your customers of freedom of choice.
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The AEIIE technique is so effective because it makes the recipient feel that he has not been persuaded but is given additional information to make an independent decision. A very rare condition in a sales pitch.
After handing him the pen, Ian Adams tells the interested customer, “Try it out. If you are not happy with it I will personally come back and pick it up in the next few weeks. And it won't cost you a penny. " In this example, Adams' "if you are not happy" is the practical implementation of the AEIIE technique. The customer now knows that the final decision-making power lies with him.
In the course of the above studies, the researchers found that the exact wording doesn't matter. Anything from “but it is of course your choice” to “your decision” or “if you are not happy you can of course return the product for free” should work.
The “lowball” technique
This technique, best reproduced by Robert Cialdini, consists of two steps when applied to distribution:
- Offer a product for an unbeatable price that is below what is actually intended
- Increase the price afterwards
The psychological concept behind this is that of obligation. First of all, they achieve a loose agreement through the low price. Then contact the prospect with the actual, now higher offer. Once the tempting idea of the great deal and owning the product settles in the buyer's mind, it is more likely that they will accept the higher price. Your customers will not be able to let go of the good feeling that the original price created.
A practical example: Imagine you want to sell your checkbooked JEEP, which usually goes for € 7,000 on the market. You meet with a potential buyer and offer him the car for € 6,500, despite its real value. The guy will be a little baffled, but happy to get such a great bargain. They arrange to meet the next day to sign the contract.
But when you meet again, your offer is already € 7,000. You explain the higher price with the excellent condition of the car and the heated market, maybe you also say that a friend recently sold the exact same model for no less than 8 grand. After pondering for a few minutes, your prospective buyer will finally take a deep breath and grudgingly accept the offer.
The first offer is just a bait to make your customer believe that they are getting a real bargain. But it shouldn't lead him to suspect that you don't know the value of the product or that there is a catch. Your starting price should therefore be very attractive, but not ridiculously low. In order for the “lowball” tactic to work, the buyer must not become suspicious.
Again, the second offer shouldn't be too high or it'll hit the buyer like a slap in the face and screw up the deal for you. A good way to prevent this is to minimize the overcharge.
The door-in-face technique
This sales strategy follows the same principle as the previous one (“Lowball”), only that the steps are reversed here. Professor Cialdini's study showed that when people first reject an extreme demand, they are then more likely to agree to a lower demand.
First, set the price for your product or service so high that you elicit a definite “no way” from the prospective buyer. Then you come back with a lower price that inevitably looks totally fair against the background of the first demand.
The idea behind it is the principle of making a concession, Cialdini describes this in Influence . When you make a concession, the other party automatically feels an obligation to do the same. You will encounter this system in bazaars in the Orient, face to face with local traders. But it also works over the phone. But when opportunities for direct feedback are limited, as in live chat, you risk losing the customer.
The foot-in-the-door technique
Did you know that if you want to rent your neighbor's car, you'd better ask him beforehand if you can rent his bike? The foot-in-the-door technique suggests just that.
This sales strategy is also similar to the “lowball”: first you make a low demand, followed by a higher one. The difference here is that the first requirement is not replaced by adapted requirements, but instead paves the way for them by being accepted.
The same goes for selling. Put your foot in the door with a tempting price tag. Then you open the door millimeter by millimeter by making higher demands of a comparable nature. This is an effective sales strategy, especially for upselling.
This technique, which was first confirmed to be effective in 1966 by Freedman and Fraser, works on the principle of consistency. This explains our psychological need to be in harmony with our own previous behavior and attitudes. Higher second and third requests are accepted because and as long as they are similar in nature to the previous one.
Sometimes people just don't want to buy anything. But instead of going below the pain threshold or going home empty-handed, experienced salespeople often take advantage of the customer's natural tendency to make a concession. Instead of buying, they ask the customer about the second best thing: a recommendation. The contact details of friends who may be interested in the product are especially valuable for future sales.
When talking to the next prospect, drop the name of the friend who recommended it to you: "Jim told me you were interested in our product." That creates closeness and trust. From here on, it's a lot easier to land a degree.
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