Sales is about good communication, but it is also a way of being
Breakdown of what makes an impression during first contact
- Body language: 55%
- Tone of Voice: 38%
- Contents of words: 7%
There’s very little time to create a positive first impression
- The 1st visual contact
- The handshake
- The first words exchanged
To effectively engage with someone:
- Don’t be blind to non-verbal communication.
- People often express their objections through gestures of disbelief.
- Pay attention to the rhythm of their voice, to the differences of intonation, and to their body movements.
To convince someone:
- First convince yourself
- Get in synch with the person in front of you and value them as a person.
A sales meeting is like a funnel sequence. Start general and target the details that are going to convince the client
You must set the scene
- Be warm and open
- Introduce yourself briefly
- Remind them of the purpose of the meeting
- Confirm the length of time you both have available
- Confirm their position in the company
- Suggest that they introduce themselves
- Alternatively, that they present their company
In a meeting there are 3 principle stages.
- The discovery
- Rephrasing, persuading, and dealing with any objections
- The closing
2 The Discovery
The discovery is the part of the meeting where you must listen to the client. You have to find their needs, their brakes, their accelerators, their pressure points, but at the same time confirm the decision-making path (as in an organigram), their
real power, and their budget.
You have to pose very open questions and let them speak (20% salesman and 80% client). If you discover an important detail, do not hesitate to reword so that he will confirm it with a clear YES, especially if it is something which
could act as a constraint.
- Pose open questions
- Employ neutral or positive affirmations
- Know how to use the silence, which is also a sales technique
- Reword points they make to summarize, clarify, confirm, or even play them up
What attitude do you need to have?
- ACTIVE LISTENING= Repeat some of the clients words to show them that you are listening
- EMPATHY= Return to the points which seem important to them
- CURIOSITY= If you don’t understand them then ask them questions.
- METHOD= Structure the discovery phase like a funnel.
You mustn’t try to persuade your client in this phase of the sale.
Principles of the discovery phase
- You cannot convince someone if you do not know the reasons which could convince him.
- Before presenting a sales pitch you need to discover the needs of the client, his expectations, his reservations, his constraints, and his preconceived notions about acquiring your solution or product.
- You must always start in broad terms and then home in on the details.
- You must discover the sales levers: these are the points for improvement that the client has raised and which become an impetus for their final decision.
- A sales lever represents to the client an improvement or a key desire to be validated by you.
How do you find the sales levers:
- The preferred conversational subject of every human being is themselves
- So you must use questions which allow the person you are speaking with to open up.
- The more he speaks the more he will become susceptible to giving you useful information
- Reword and confirm each Sales levers you discover.
- The best levers are the constraints or pressure points of the client, play them up before validating them.
- In general 3 levers are necessary to convince the person in front of you.
- Be careful not to speak too much or you will dig yourself into a hole.
3- Rewording the deal and persuasion
- Is to confirm with the client what he has said to you: the levers you have discovered.
- Is to actively use your sense of empathy- to say to the client what he wants to hear, reemploy his own expressions , play up to his constraints, understand his decisions, his organisation.
- Is to confirm that you have not forgotten anything.
- Are there other points you would like to return to?
- The argument you employ: this is the lever which is all at once the smallest, the broadest, the strongest, and the most precise.
- You must choose your arguments according to the levers you have found.
- Your arguments should respond to a question, an expectation, or something they find reassuring.
- Don’t just recite a list of arguments, you must concentrate on a couple of precise arguments that the client is waiting for.
To successfully employ your arguments:
Present the arguments in terms of their advantage to the client.
- An advantage is something which benefits the client.
- An advantage must be personalised for the client.
- An advantage is a solution or product which benefits the user.
- An advantage is something which benefits the company as a whole for a decision-maker.
Use different kinds of argument which will carry more and more weight for your prospective client
- Arguments regarding my company’s status (size, age, type of clients, organisational structure etc.)
- Arguments regarding the skillset of my company (expertise, certification, our success story, quality etc.)
- Arguments regarding the proposed solution (advantages for the client, set up, flexibility etc.)
- The arguments regarding the client themselves (resolving a problem he has already faced for instance)
4- Dealing with objections
Deal with an objection fairly
This how the closing phase begins. For it is here that an uncertain client can try to ‘escape’.
Therefore, while responding you must ensure that the client cannot contest it again.
And for resolving this objection the client should give you something in return. ‘If we find a solution, how can we reach a deal together?’
It is also a question of knowing how to stop the objections ‘Do you have a final question I can answer for you?’
Because generally you should not deal with 3 or 4 objections in a row.
The different types of objections
Insincere and unfounded (provocation)
- Deal with these quickly
- Favour non-verbal communication
- Don’t deal with them fully, just kick them into touch
Sincere but unfounded (incomprehension)
- Deal with these slowly
- Rephrase proposal thoroughly
- Explain your proposal
Sincere and well-founded (a factual objection)
- Spend a medium amount of time on these
- Refocus back on the advantages for the client
- Convince them
5 – Negotiation and Closing.
How do I know if I am in competition for a client?
- If the meeting is during a cycle of consultation or negotiation.
- If my prospective client uses vocabulary which is unusually precise, maybe even technical.
- If they give me too many specifics on the solution and try to cut the meeting short.
- If they ask me quickly about pricing or insist particularly on the subject.
How do I deal with the competitor’s bid?
- The client will steer me towards the solution of my competitor—this is an attempt to undermine me.
- Generally it is not a good idea to weigh up or comment upon a solution when we are not in command of the facts.
- Return to the points we’ve made that the client has shown interest in.
Rules of Negotiation
A negotiation is always give and take
There is always a trade-off:
- The client shouldn’t get anything for free
- If he asks you for something, he should give you something in return.
- This is known as a ‘win-win relationship’
Like this both parties will be satisfied and happy to have done business with each other.
If you cannot manage to get a negotiation started with the client you need to ask him what he wants.
Always play by the technique I like to call ‘baby steps’
- When negotiating, never make them a proposal better than the preceding one.
- Never offer a discount more than 3 times in a row.
- For instance: If you make an initial reduction of 15% and the client asks you for a gesture of good will, you should not go higher than 15%
- Or after 2 reductions of 20% then 10%, offer him payment options, a shorter installation period or a gift to be thrown into the bundle free of charge. You could even offer them a coffee or to take them to lunch to show your prospective
that the negotiations are drawing to a close.
It’s at this moment that the several different closing methods for wrapping up of the deal should come into play.
The definition of ‘closing’
- Is not to leave your client an escape route.
- Is to confirm that you have addressed all your client’s needs and that he has given you a commitment and a deadline for the signing of the contract.
- That deadline could be straight away (this is the highest goal.)
The closing can be used for other purposes than just making a sale:
- To make the client enter into a pre-sales process
- To obtain the authorisation to use your contact to gain a meeting with someone else
(Could I call him on your behalf?)
- To gain a referencing as a priority supplier
- Sign straight away without having to pass through an intermediary or another larger supplier/contractor
- To keep an existing client.
Pay attention to:
- Your empathy and your professionalism will make all the difference
- Personalise your sale: your client should feel unique
- Gifts and free services can motivate a client but be careful to always justify your presents.
- A little skit with your boss (for instance a pre-planned phone call)
- New client=new fees
- New offer to test something freely for a limited time
- Junior position
Is not a phase of the meeting with your client
It is a state of mind
It’s a permanent exercise which allows you to reduce your deadlines and improve your sales figures
The closing is only effective if all the sales techniques were followed in the previous stages.