When it comes to sales techniques, some companies may try to use direct persuasion to get a customer to buy their product. (This is typically done by employing a seasoned salesperson or implementing a slick marketing campaign.)
But that tactic may be less effective now that customers are becoming so well-educated on solutions. Customers are doing internet research before they ever meet a sales representative, and have already assembled a list of reasons why they will or won't buy a product. As such, companies and salespeople tend to run directly into these objections and spend much of their interaction with the prospect trying to overcome them.
Instead of using the hard sell, businesses may want to start using sales techniques like self-persuasion. This technique helps customers convince themselves to buy a company product. Harry Mills, CEO of Aha! Advantage, believes that this method can help eliminate buyer resistance more quickly and grow overall company sales.
"Sales is not about selling," Mills says, "it's about helping clients succeed."
The Direct Persuasion vs. the Self-Persuasion Sales Process
In a direct persuasion model, the salesperson or marketing campaign needs to convince the customer to buy their product. Many customers see this as a hard sell and tune out during the process. In addition, many salespeople don't like the rejection that comes with this method and may shy away from approaching so many prospects over time. It can become a numbers game for the company where they pitch their product to many people and only a few buy.
Typically a salesperson discovers the customer's needs and matches them to the features and benefits of their product. But risk-averse buyers will then ask to see a direct proof between that which is promised in the sales process and what is actually delivered. Sometimes, it becomes a matters of wills where the salesperson has to break down the buyer's resistance and objections.
With a self-persuasion model, the customer can convince themselves to buy the product and they have no one to argue with!
The salesperson helps the buyer uncover their reasons for wanting to purchase the product. For example, they may ask the prospect what it costs them to not solve the problem. The salesperson can also use stories and customer case studies to relate the benefits of their product.
As far as sales techniques go, this one can work because many people learn best through hearing a story. They can picture what it may be like once they buy the product, too. The listener then can relate this story to other decision makers instead of having to remember all sorts of product features and benefits.
An important part of self-persuasion sales techniques is to form a personal bond with the prospect. People typically buy from someone they know, like and trust. This can be done by getting interested in the prospect and following up when they have significant events in their life. You can also form a social bond outside of work by going to lunch or other events with the prospect.
Sometimes decisions are made from emotion and may not be rational in nature. Buying resistance can fade if the prospect knows and can relate to the person they are dealing with. As a result, they really end up buying from the salesperson, instead of directly from the company or exclusively buying just the product.
Finally, with the self-persuasion method, a single yes or no choice should never be offered. Instead, consider asking the prospect to choose between three different, but equivalent offers. Many times single choices are seen as ultimatums and can be much easier to decline. By offering many things for the buyer to choose from, it can help raise the odds of closing a sale by giving them more control of the outcome.
Remember, only interested people can actually practice self-persuasion. If a prospect simply is not interested in what the company is selling, it's time to move on to someone else.
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