If you are finding it tough to think of new ways to sell or prospect, let me share some powerful sales techniques you probably haven’t tried before. They might just give you an edge on your competition.
1) Learn how to speak so that people want to listen
Leading sound and communications expert Julian Treasure performed a TED Talk on “how to speak so that people want to listen”. His in-depth psychological research on speech and voice tone are pretty insightful and, I believe, should be adopted in the business world as a powerful sales technique.
Getting someone to want to listen to you isn’t just about what you say, it’s also about how you say it. The voice is an incredible instrument, and yet people rarely explore its dynamics to understand the power of speech.
When speaking to a potential customer, consider:
- Voice register – Research has found that the pitch of the human voice can strongly influence how people are perceived. It revealed that people are more likely to vote for politicians with lower voices, regardless of whether the speaker was male or female. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, for example, had vocal coaching to lower the pitch of her voice. Psychologists say we associate deeper voices with power, authority and trustworthiness. So instead of speaking from the throat, add some weight by speaking from the chest.
- Voice Prosody – This is the musical sequence in our sentences. Speaking without prosody means that you are speaking all-on-one-note and therefore, very hard to listen to. The word ‘monotonous’ even comes from the word ‘monotone’, and therefore a very clear indication that sales people should avoid this.
- Pace – Instead of getting a prospect on the phone and blurting out a sales pitch really quickly and excitedly, try slowing it right down to emphasize your point. Of course, this also means that what you say needs to be of value from the beginning of the conversation. If you get straight to the point of why you are calling, and do so at a calm pace, you are likely to come across as confident in what you are offering and more likely to be listened to.
2) Ask – “What could be improved with your current supplier?”
If you prefer to skip the small talk at the beginning of a cold call, try opening with a question. Ask what the buyer wants and what they would like improved with their current supplier. Basically, you’re getting the prospect to start thinking about what they dislike. A top sales professional will pull out the pain points that the prospect is experiencing.
Of course, not every buyer will want to badmouth their long-term supplier to a stranger over the phone. Work around that by discussing issues in a more generalized way. Tell them that you have researched a specific problem (the one you’re prospect is facing) across their industry and you’ve discovered there’s a widespread problem. Then follow up with: “What’s your experience been of that?” Use the word ‘experience’ not ‘problem’ so it doesn’t place any blame on them.
Add some more weight to this issue by asking them what the long-term consequences would be on your company if this problem continued. Ask how quickly they would need it resolved to prevent lasting damage. By sowing seeds of doubt and urgency in the prospects mind, it will make them more willing to listen to the solution you are offering – which you can now customize to their needs, having discovered what they’re really looking for.
3) Equip yourself with data
The infinite supply of information in the internet age means that today’s buyers are experts in the field. According to CMO.com, 72% of millennial consumers research their options online before even setting foot in the store. By the time a sales person even reaches a potential customer, you can bet they already have an idea of what they want to buy, how much they’re willing to pay, and where else they can go to get a better deal. This applies to B2B buyers also.
This unlimited access to information influences the entire selling process. A Sales rep can no longer get away with empty promises or false examples of success stories your product/service had with somebody else. Today’s informed customer values proof.
Today’s sales professionals need to convince their prospects with cold hard facts. Come equipped with data that proves your point. Skeptical buyers can’t argue with the facts. Numbers don’t lie. A frantic sales pitch will cause more harm than good, but supporting numbers and facts build credibility and trust between salesperson and the customer.
4) Leverage your losses
Take a moment to reflect on the last few deals you didn’t get. Ask yourself why you didn’t get them. Do you know why? If not, take some time to figure out what the buyers didn’t go for. Good things come from analyzing your losses:
- You’ll become a better seller. If a prospect chose your competitor over you, take the time to research what they offered that was better, or different. Take this into consideration so you have a better chance to win the next deal. Rainmakers aim to constantly improve through feedback. Equip yourself with all the knowledge you can to ensure your next deal has a better outcome.
- You’ll resurrect the deal. The timing might have been off last time, or maybe there was one prospect who nixed the sale and three others who were ready to buy. It’s beneficial for you to find out what happened and perhaps you can turn things around.
- You’ll generate referrals. Perhaps the corporate powers that be decided it wasn’t such a good idea anyway. In most cases, your contact at the company really wanted to move forward – and to do so with you. This puts you in the perfect position to ask “Who else in your network can you think of that could use some help with…?
5) Take note of event attendees
Maybe you’re company is looking to sell to medical device manufacturers. If so, then find the event that they will be attending. Event pages are easily found on social media, and the great part is that it will display the whole list of attendees. So get your interns to copy and paste the trade-show leads into a spreadsheet or your CRM to get you kicked off. And the best part is, you won’t even have to attend the event.
6) Organize a formal lunch for CEOs
This is a tough one to pull off, but can be extremely advantageous if executed properly. People enjoy being around people who are like them or aspire to be like. If you invite a CEO to a regular seminar, don’t hold your breath expecting a reply.
However, invite that same CEO to an exclusive, invitation-only CEO luncheon where they get to rub shoulders with other fellow CEOs, you are more likely to get an amicable phone call from their executive assistant.
In order for this to work, make sure that:
- It is a small, carefully chosen group of senior players
- It sounds, feels, and is exclusive
- It combines a meal with a “big question”.
This sales technique may be a little slow going in terms of sales prospecting. You’re not bombarding CEOs with a sales pitch, you’re allowing them to network while at the same time getting to know you. Not only will your attendees be conversing with the big dogs, but you will be too. You get to listen first-hand about the issues that CEOs face in a room full of them. The importance of this luncheon lies in the great opportunity to make connections and build relationships, as well as letting them know you are available when these contacts need your service or product – and they usually will eventually.
So there are a few useful sales techniques you might not have tried before. They might just give you an edge on your competitors who are still using the most mandatory and common sales techniques used everyday.