Selling skills have become more important and more relevant today than ever before.

The world is filled with competition – with many businesses fighting for the same sale – competition is here to stay and likely to keep increasing.

Many of us find ourselves selling similar products or services. Our businesses can look very similar from the outside in.

Customers are more demanding and educated and we all need a point of difference.

Here are 5 tip tips to help you sell successfully:-

1. Sell the Results

Don’t simply try to sell products or services. Sell the RESULTS or what they will DO.

The customer who walks into a DIY store and asks for a quarter inch drill doesn’t really want one. What they want is a quarter inch hole.

A professional salesperson is a problem solver. Nearly every sale solves a problem.

Also be aware that whenever you are presenting or demonstrating any product, your hand movements affect its perceived value.

Be it a brochure, a piece of equipment or the product itself, everything you handle should be handled as if you are holding a valuable piece of antique porcelain: with respect, feeling and upmost care.

2. Don’t knock the competition

Don’t knock them to your prospect. But it’s equally important that you don’t fear them, If you show concern about the competition, your client will be concerned as well, will lose confidence in your – and will want to research what you have to offer in more depth.

When asking about them, you may say, “Very good operation; quite good products” or “Been in business for year; a bit old fashioned nowadays but nice people.”

The uber impressive CEO of Asda did just this, praising Tesco in today’s Daily Telegraph, that Tesco is still a “world class retailer” despite its well-documented problems, adding: “I am pretty sure that at some point they will recover and bounce back.”

In some sales situations, your presentation will be just one of many that the client has organised, they are looking to see what’s on offer and you’ll be proposing against a competitor. Don’t fear it! Ask in the politest way possible about the other companies your client may be seeing. Then using your industry knowledge, steal the thunder from your competition: explain your competitors’ USPs, because they will if you won’t. Then when your competitor labours his USPs, it will all appear a little stale and dated. If you know your prospective customer will be having a series of meetings with your competitors to make a comparison prior to making a decision, always try to get yourself into the position of going in again at the end of the meeting schedule:-

“My Buyer, may I ask that prior to making any decisions, you allow me to visit you when you have seen the proposals and had a chance to consider them? As you know, I want to secure your business. May I fix a time, when it would be most convenient to pop in and see you again at that stage?”

3. Listen

This is course common sense.

Yet very sadly, very few salespeople really listen. They think they’re listening but what they’re really doing is thinking about what they’re going to say next. We have two ears and one mouth and that’s the ratio in which to use them.

You’ll learn far more by listening that you ever will by talking. Listen attentively to what is said and what is NOT being said as well! An enquiry about price is a buying signal. An enquiry about a delivery date is a buying signal. An enquiry about colour or style is a buying signal. Listen out for these problems or worries that your prospect might have. It’s essential while you’re listening you’re not tempted to interrupt and immediately offer or provide solutions.

These can come later. A professional salesperson is a problem-solver and every sale solves a problem.

4. Ask the right questions

The single most important skill in successful selling is the ability to ask the right questions.

In asking the questions, remember you can only sell to people – and no two people are identical. The interests of a managing director may be very different to those of a sales director, an HR manager a housewife or a professional buyer.

Ask questions that lead toward your unique selling points (Tip 7), to a positive response. Use your questions to identify you prospect’s prime desire. To sell the solution, you have to first identify the requirement. Find out as much as you can about budgets, how much money they have. Never be afraid of talking about money before the end of your presentation.

Use open questions (who, what, why, when, where, how). Preface these with lead-ins such as:-

– “Do you mind me asking?”

– “May I ask?..”

– “Can I find out?”…

5. Know your USPs

Every business, product or se4rvice has something that is unique.

To be a great sales person, you need to know exactly what your unique selling points are. Identify your USPs in the 3 key areas:- – My product or service – My company – Myself By asking the right questions, you can find out whether your USPs are of interest to the prospective customer.

Ask questions that lead your prospect towards your unique sales points.

For example:-

– “Would it be important for you to deal with somebody who offers you a no-quibble, money- back guarantee?”

– “Would it be important for you to make your purchase and then deal with one person who will always be available to handle any problems that may arise in the future?”

– “Would it be important to you to deal with a company with over 10 years’ experience and track record of working in your industry sector?”

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