12 essential sales techniques you need to be using

If you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same results. Which is great if those results are fantastic sales, but not so good if your figures are flat-lining.

Sometimes a small change to your sales technique can make a big difference to your results. Whether that means reviewing the way you deliver information or establishing yourself someone your clients can trust, the best sales techniques are not always the most complicated…

  1. Do you really know what’s going on?

What’s the biggest issue currently affecting companies in your client’s sector?

If you don’t know, it’s time to do some research. Understanding what matters to your client means that you can address their concerns and help them find a solution.

Using a platform such as Artesian means that you get real time updates on your chosen businesses and sectors so will always have the latest information at your fingertips.

  1. Be a problem solving expert

If you know what issues are impacting on your client you can start to work out ways that your product can solve them. But that’s only part of the story. Don’t try to solve all of their problems with your product; sometimes advice or a referral to another business is the best solution.

It may sound counter intuitive, but if you can’t help, but know someone who can, their details are going to be valuable to your client – don’t be afraid to share useful information, even if it doesn’t directly lead to a sale.

  1. Listen, can you sell something?

There’s a lot to be said for listening – many experts suggest that you should listen for 70% of the conversation and only talk for 30% of it.

Don’t assume that if you’re not talking you’re not selling; remember, if you’re not talking, you’re listening to your client and learning more about them.

Remember, no one wants to be talked at; they want to be talked to. Don’t miss the opportunity to help a client (and make a sale) because you weren’t listening to what they wanted.

James Pittick – Canon UK’s Head of Sales, Strategic & Enterprise Business – believes that sales people who fully embrace the potential offered by social selling have a massive advantage in today’s marketplace:

“They are not simply pushing content, they are watching, listening and contributing to the right discussions and debates, enabling them to become subject matter experts. This in turn enables them to become the ‘problem solvers’, ‘value adders’ or ‘trusted advisers’ to their prospects, turning them into Customer Makers.”

  1. Are you relevant?
  • Does your website explain what you offer and what you can do for a client?
  • Does your blog showcase your understanding of your clients and their sector?
  • Do your Tweets link to interesting – and relevant – articles that clients will find useful?

If not, it’s time to consider your content. Make sure that people can easily understand what you do and why you should be their supplier of choice.

If your blog contains useful information, clients have got a reason to revisit it and, by default, return to your website, which helps keep you front of mind when they make decisions.

Chris Spurvey – KPMG’s Vice President of Business Development for Atlantic Canada – says:

“The internet with its ever increasing rich content is providing an avenue for buyers to educate themselves on their own terms – online reviews, webinars, e-books, podcasts, blogs, social networks.”

Don’t be afraid to tweet or post links to other articles that will be relevant to your client base. It’s not only good practice; it shows that you’re genuinely interested in their sector.

  1. Ask for recommendations

Research shows that whilst most customers (91%) would be happy to recommend or refer a supplier, hardly any sales people (11%) ever ask them to.

Are you missing out on one of the most valuable forms of advertising – word of mouth – by being afraid to ask?

If your client is happy, it makes sense to ask them to spread the word.

  1. Don’t assume you’re pitch perfect – practice

Err, when was, um, the last time you thought, err, about your presentation?

You may well have been presenting to clients for years, so much so you could do it in your sleep. And that could actually be a problem.

Film yourself doing your presentation, watch it back and evaluate your performance. The best way to change is to ask other people to watch it too. It is nail-bitingly awkward to ask someone to watch a practice presentation and evaluate it for you but they will spot things that you won’t which can only help you get better.

Spot any annoying habits? Work on getting rid of them. Stumbling on stats? Spend more time learning them and thinking about what they mean.

Remember, if you are delivering information automatically, it lacks passion.

Tailoring each presentation to the specific client means more than putting their logo on the front of your PowerPoint presentation; it means talking about them, their situation and what you can do specifically for them.

  1. Don’t assume your pitch is enough

Even when you’ve perfected your presentation, remember that it may take more than that to seal the deal.

Slickly delivered information is impressive up to a point, but you need to help the client discover how you can help them, not just tell them.

Tell, don’t sell – it is not enough to say your business is great, show them why.

  1. Be ready for anything!

Even if you have perfected your pitch, scrubbed up your presentation and done your homework on the customer it doesn’t always go to plan. You may only get 30 minutes when you thought you had 60 or the projector might not work.

Be prepared to be able to communicate your message to the customer in a number of ways with a view of your most wanted action in mind. I have been to meetings that I have spent weeks working on the slide deck for to then not even open my laptop as the meeting became a conversation not a show and tell.

Being audible ready helps add to your credibility in front of a customer as it shows you know your stuff without having to read from a script.

  1. Integrity – Deliver what you said you would, when you said you would

If you said you would call the client at 9.15am on Friday, do it.

Whatever you promise you need to deliver. If you don’t, not only will you give them a reason not to trust you, you’re giving them a reason to go elsewhere.

  1. Ask the right questions

Don’t ask the client what they know about your business or product; ask them what’s going on in their business.

Not only will you find out useful information, it can be a great way to start a conversation that could help you spot an opportunity.

Asking people when they joined the company and who recruited them will tell you lots about their position and standing within the organisation.

  1. Be persistent not pushy

There is a fine line between keeping the channels of communication open and calling a client so much they start to avoid you.

If you’re going to get in touch have a reason to do so – an email congratulating a client on a big business win is better than a cold call. Put yourself in their shoes, how do you feel when sellers are in contacts too much?

Even if it’s not a sales call, communication should be regular but not annoyingly frequent.

  1. Be honest

You can’t always answer every question you’re asked.

You can’t always deliver an order when you said you would.

But what you can do when things go wrong is be honest about it.

Don’t try to bluff – if you don’t know something, admit it and offer to look into it. If things won’t happen when they should, let the client know and keep them informed about when they can expect things to be back on track.

For more insight on how to improve your sales technique, check out our essential guide – “The Seven Habits of Social Sellers“.

Follow this link for further information on how Artesian Solutions can help New Business Sellers.