Much like the fabled Don Corleone, the best sales professionals have a water-tight deal that leaves little room for the buyer to say no. But, since you probably don’t want to resort to breaking kneecaps in order to make your sales, there are a few simple things you can be doing to increase your numbers and make your customers feel valued. The benefit? Better customer relationship management, and more profit without having to worry about the coppers infiltrating your hideout.
Never Sell Features – Always Sell Benefits
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a bad pitch, you instantly know how boring feature-selling can be. Regardless of the topic or difficulty, the average person’s decisions are made based on 20% logic and 80% emotion, according to research from the University of Southern California. This means that the most effective sales pitches must engage with a prospect personally, by showing how the product can personally change their lives for the better. Then, you are more than a salesperson: you are a collaborator in helping them fulfill their personal goals.
A perfect case study for this benefit-selling attitude is the Apple juggernaut, the iPod. When it was first released, the marketing team didn’t focus on how many gigabytes of storage the iPod offered. Instead, they framed their product around the benefit to customer. The resulting success launched a rebirth of Apple’s popularity, making them one of the most profitable brands in the world.
Know Who You are Pitching and Minimize Their Perceived Risk.
In a recent study by the McKinsey group, the honesty of a company is the number one factor that influences how a customer perceives a brand. That means that facing perceived risks up-front is one of the most important tools for gaining a prospect’s trust and eventually making the sale.
Still, you can’t assuage a prospect’s fear without knowing exactly who you are dealing with and what their perceived risk is. That’s why it is vital to ask questions and provide time for the prospect to share their concerns. When you really stop and listen to what your prospects are saying, you’ll see that their conversation is riddled with perceived risk.
Comment: I’ve purchased this type of item before and it didn’t work.
Solution: Show how your product is different and more effective than competitors. Highlight design, warranty information, and customer satisfaction.
Comment: That product is out of our budget right now.
Solution: Show tangible value from the product. If it saves time, show how that equates to dollars. If it brings in business, show how the quickly and easily the investment can be retrieved.
Comment: I don’t think that product is right for me.
Solution: Highlight the social and psychological benefits of the product. How will it make the prospects personal life and perception of his world better?
Don’t Forget The Testimonials
One of the best ways to overcome perceived risk is through a well-placed testimonial. Research has shown that people will change their behavior to adhere to a proven social model. This phenomenon, called social proof or informational social influence, is the phenomenon that drives customers to be swayed by testimonials. And, since sales professionals often don’t prepare to share previous buyers’ experiences, having a library of good testimonials makes you stand out from the crowd.
On the other hand, a bad testimonial can backfire, leaving a lasting negative impression on the prospect. In order to have the most effective testimonials to support your sales presentation, you must remember the cardinal rules of good testimonials:
- Honesty: Don’t add, subtract, delete, or fabricate. If you can’t present it as-is, don’t present it at all.
- Permission: Make sure the subject of the testimonial allows you to present their words to other prospects in writing.
- Benefits: A comment like, “This is a great product,” is nice, but doesn’t offer anything to a future buyer.
- Relatability: Gather comments from all types of clients, so that you always have a testimonial that is personal for prospects.
- Comparative: The most effective testimonials compare your product to others like it and highlight why yours is the best.
What Do You Think?
Benefit-selling and minimizing perceived risks through tactics like testimonials have one thing in common: they focus on the customer first. By making your customers’ perceptions the core of your sales process, you will be able to convert more prospects into long-term relationships and have much better CRM.
What tools or concepts do you use to close the most sales? Share your ideas with us in the comments below. And, if you’re interested in other ways to increase your sales numbers, check out 6 Tasks Top Sales Agents Delegate and How to Craft the Perfect Email Subject Line.