Have you ever had to buy something, like a car or kitchen appliance, but were dreading it because you didn’t want to deal with a heavy-handed sales pitch? Sure enough, when you finally go in to buy something, you somehow end up walking out not with the value-priced item you went in for, but for your wish-list item with all the bells and whistles. How did the salesperson do that?
Well, some salespeople are just that good—and you can be, too. Here are their eight most-effective tricks for you to try out:
1. Dump wishy-washy prospects. The best salespeople know that sales is a numbers game and a time game. The goal is to sort through prospects as quickly as possible to find a few great prospects. Instead of trying to persuade every prospect to do business with them, top salespeople get weak prospects to weed themselves out quickly, so they can spend the time on the best prospects.
2. Understand that you don't have to make everyone happy. The best salespeople know the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of their commission comes from 20 percent of their clients. So they pay a lot of attention to their best clients. Smaller clients are transferred to someone else, or aren’t served as well. The small guy may be unhappy, but that's how the best salespeople roll.
3. Always stay one step ahead of your client. The best salespeople understand their best clients inside and out. They do their research, and dig down deep, on the client and the industry. Their goal is to find problems and opportunities for their clients before the client is even aware of it.
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4. Under promise and over deliver. They know that if they set customer expectations low, when the product or service is delivered, the customer will be blown away with the experience. And that's exactly how you want to be positioned for the next call with that client.
5. Let the customers sell themselves. Pushy salespeople try to convince the customer to buy, buy, buy. But the best salespeople know that the most persuasive person is the customer herself. Their job is to ask the right questions and lead the customers to convince themselves they want the product.
6. Mimic your customers—in a nice way. Just because something may be great, it doesn’t mean that's how the customer describes it. Some customers may use the word fantastic, while others use efficient or financially wise. Some even use the word gnarly. The best salespeople identify the adjectives that clients and prospects use to describe things, then use those same words to invoke the desired emotions in the buyer.
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7. Adjust your seat height. The world’s best salespeople take charge of sales meetings by adjusting their chair’s seat height. They begin meetings with their chair adjusted slightly below their customer’s, which subliminally signals that the customer is in a dominant position. As the meeting goes on, the salesperson will slowly elevate his or her chair in order to sit slightly higher than the prospect—putting them in a dominant position. The slow transition subliminally stages the prospect to be more receptive to suggestions from the salesperson. And if they can’t adjust the chair, they simply change their posture to achieve the same effect.
8. Get your clients to say no. While all the sales training in the world says you need to get prospects in the mode of saying "yes" repeatedly, the world’s best salespeople actually get prospects to say “no.” Repeatedly saying yes dilutes the significance and confidence of each yes. But if a prospect says no to multiple options, when they finally say yes to the right option, they are highly inclined to stick with it. This is the exact reason why the best real estate agents show bad houses first, so when the customer sees the right one, they jump on it.
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Mike Michalowicz is the author of The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. He is a nationally recognized speaker on entrepreneurial topics and is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consultancy that helps companies whose growth has plateaued to move forward again.
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