Every sales rep excels in certain sales techniques.
Some reps are great on the phone, while others have fantastic in-person rapport. Some have a knack for remembering everything about customers.
No one is born a great salesperson. They must learn the skills and best practices to become great.
Every salesperson can learn new sales skills and improve their knowledge. Training, education, and practice are the keys.
The best salespeople don’t rely on one approach. They use all the tools and strategies, and know when to use them.
The most effective sales techniques are time-tested and backed by scientific research. They might have different labels, but they apply to every industry, no matter what distribution techniques they use.
An example of such a technique would be using Chili Piper and the round robin meeting method, a technique for efficiently distributing sales leads and accelerating lead response time.
The following sales techniques should be part of every salesperson’s toolkit.
1. Find and Research Your Ideal Prospects
A lot of work happens before you pick up the phone or send an email. It involves finding prospects to sell to and doing research on the buyer and their company.
There are many ways to find prospects, but they fall into two categories:
You go looking for them
They come looking for you
Being an effective salesperson involves finding prospective buyers. While focusing sales efforts on targeted markets tends to be more effective than a “spray and pray” approach, it’s still a numbers game.
Having more prospects to sell to often means more sales. So you must look for ways to find more prospects.
This involves growing your pipeline.
Many pipeline growth methods involve the entire organization, such as increasing spending on digital demand generation activities. However, individual sales reps can help the cause (e.g., prospect on LinkedIn, network, attend virtual events).
Chili Piper lets sales reps schedule private coffee chats, online meetups, or webinars as a way to engage and convert prospects.
Do the Research
Don’t go into a sales meeting unprepared. Talking to prospects without knowing about them and their business is a recipe for failure.
Research will tell you a lot about potential buyers, such as their size, who their customers are, the tools they use, and what problems they might have.
You should also research the contact person. The company website and social media (especially LinkedIn) should tell you a lot about their role, responsibilities, interests, and motivators.
Research will also tell you if they’re a bad fit for your solutions. This will save you from wasting time that could be spent on more promising leads.
Researching a prospect will help you create a buyer persona. You can categorize the prospect by familiar factors (e.g., age, education, role, geographic location), and then target their motivators and pain points when making your sales pitch.
2. Build a Relationship
You’ve probably heard the expression, “Don’t propose marriage on the first date.”
The credo applies to sales. Don’t ask for the sale when you first meet. Build the relationship.
People tend to buy from people they know. Sure, they will buy from strangers or people they’ve just met. But they won’t repeatedly buy from salespeople they don’t know or trust.
Great salespeople build rapport. Relationship building is effective yet time-consuming.
Building a relationship is more than a sales function. It involves getting to know the prospect as a person, and allowing them to learn about you in return. They get to know you as a person, not just a salesperson.
Salespeople build relationships with customers in different ways. However, rapport often develops through common interests.
Here’s a tip: When a prospect asks about you (after you’ve asked about them), share something real. Talk about what has happened in your life, with your family, around your interests, or even what happened that day.
This is the art of being a human. People develop relationships with people, not companies. And they also buy from people.
Take the time to build a relationship. Focus on prospects as people. You’ll have a better chance of turning them into customers.
Build Relationships by Email
A lot of relationship-building happens by phone (or video conference). This is especially true when you cannot meet in person.
You can build on the relationship through email. You’re going to stay in touch via email over the length of the relationship, as it doesn’t always make sense to talk on the phone or by video.
How do you build rapport over email? With personalization.
Record the prospect’s information in your CRM. Then use it to personalize your email messages.
Always refer to the prospect by name (not their position)
Mention a fact you read on their company website or social media page
Discuss topics you heard about in the news that they would care about
Bring up previous discussions to show you were paying attention
When you send the first email, make sure it’s personalized. It sets the foundation for the relationship.
Chili Piper allows you to automatically schedule a meeting if a prospect meets your criteria for a worthwhile lead. It also helps with the personalization aspect — automating your meetings ultimately saves you a lot of time that can be better spent on customized, effective messaging.
3. Qualify the Prospect
You should have qualified the prospect (to a degree) before engaging on the call. You’ve researched the company to learn who they are, their needs, their competition, and whatever information you need to determine if they’re a fit.
However, don’t jump right into a sales discussion. You’ll need to pull out some information to see whether they are a fit for an offer.
Don’t just start asking questions. That can annoy the prospect, as you could come off as too pushy or inquisitive.
Explain why you’re going to ask these questions. Get their permission or consent to ask the pre-planned questions and explain the value of the conversation.
Your goal should be to identify the prospect’s needs, so you can offer a solution that fits. But you also want them to understand the value of the process.
Have your standard questions ready to go. These questions are not for selling but for gathering information. You want to understand their problems, motivations, and needs so that you can determine how you can help them.
Asking the Right Types of Questions
You already know to avoid “Yes / No” questions or questions that would lead to short answers. Open-ended questions are better than closed questions.
Aim for questions with potentially long answers. The more you get the prospect to talk, the greater the likelihood you’ll move to the next stage in the relationship and close the deal.
Ask questions that start, “Can you explain why…”, “Can you tell me about…”, “Can you help me understand…”, etc.
Act like an expert by asking intelligent questions to show you understand the subject matter. This demonstrates your interest in the prospect’s business, as well as your professionalism.
Ask questions that follow up on your prospect’s statements. This enables you to dig deeper into the topic, rather than moving on to something else.
4. Present Your Offer
You’ve done the research, asked qualifying questions, and identified the prospect’s needs. Now it’s time to present your offer.
There are dozens of sales methodologies you could use, which would have started when you were qualifying the prospect. The method you choose will depend on numerous factors, but should focus on what works best for you.
Some popular sales methodologies include:
SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff)
MEDDIC (Metrics, Economic buyer, Decision criteria, Decision process, Identify pain, Champion)
CHAMP (Challenges, Authority, Money, Prioritization)
NEAT (Need, Economic impact, Access to authority, Timeline)
TAS (Target Account Selling)
Straight Line Persuasion
Chili Piper enables you to qualify leads in real-time and automatically send them to the right rep in a specific meeting queue.
Pick an approach that works best for your sales team. Make sure each sales rep is fully trained and comfortable using this method so they consistently apply it with every prospect.
Tips on Presenting Your Offer
Whatever sales methodology you use, follow these tips to improve your results:
Be positive. Smile when speaking with prospects, whether in person or over the phone. A positive attitude will affect the person you’re speaking with.
Be excited. Show you care about their success. This will prove you are invested and will encourage the prospect to work with you.
Be honest. Tell the truth about the offer and how you can help. Don’t lie or try to manipulate the situation.
Be confident. Demonstrate confidence in your solution and your ability to help. Your confidence will make the prospect believe in your solution and give them confidence.
5. Address the Prospect’s Objections
Objection handling is an integral part of sales. In almost every situation, the prospect will have some sort of objection to the offer.
Ideally, you should have identified potential objections when asking questions and qualifying the prospect. You should have addressed them with your offer.
Offense is best when dealing with objections. State and address potential objections before the prospect does.
Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. State their potential concern as if you were on their side of the table (e.g., “If you’re like me, then you probably feel that…”). Show that you understand their point of view.
Selling is not a competition. Don’t try to win by just looking for ways to overcome the prospect’s objections.
You’re developing a relationship with the prospect. You’re on the same side, so work together to help find the right solution to achieve their goal.
When dealing with objections, you will have to find ways to convince the prospect to see your side. Learning and applying different persuasion techniques will help you to change the prospect’s mind.
Some effective persuasion techniques include:
Make it all about the customer
Turn objections into selling points
Put the customer in the driver’s seat
Base discussions on the prospect’s motivations
Don’t overwhelm them with too many choices
Use reflective listening
Create a sense of urgency
Develop goodwill through reciprocity
Chili Piper offers a free guide that teaches businesses about the importance of speed to lead time, which is a nice way to show goodwill and start a relationship.
6. Close the Deal
In the end, sales is all about closing the deal. When you close the deal, you help the prospect (who is now a customer) solve their problem, and you help your company grow its revenue.
This is where many relationships blossom… as well as where some end. Sometimes, the prospect decides not to move forward or the sales rep does something (or fails to do something) to make the prospect walk away.
Closing the deal relies on the following factors:
The sales rep has properly addressed all pain points and handled potential objections
The prospect realizes they have a need
The prospect determines you have the solution
The timing is right to make the deal
Sign the Contract
The deal closes when the prospect signs the contract. Ideally, it should happen as soon as possible after the prospect has said “Yes” to the deal.
If the prospect does not sign right away, don’t fret and think they’ve lost interest or backed out. There could be professional and/or personal reasons for the delay.
It’s also possible you didn’t cover a main factor required for closing the deal.
The only way to know for sure is to ask. Follow up politely to show you’re invested and you care about the deal.
Find out what’s happening on the prospect’s side before pushing to close the deal or offering more value. Something beyond their control might have delayed the closing.
Be patient but persistent. Stay in touch until a decision has been made or the deal closes.