Increasing your sales isn’t all about selling. Instead you should focus your energy on helping your customers to make a buying decision. Customers are more in control of their buying decisions than ever before. They have a wealth of alternatives and information available online, and interactive access to sources they trust via social media. They don’t want to be pushed into a sale, but they are happy to be pulled in by what is important to them.
If you want to help your customers to buy, you need to spend more time understanding what motivates their buying decisions. This means understanding the buying process.
The buying process begins with customers understanding that they have a need for a product or service. The stimulation for that need may have come from the obsolescence of an existing product or service or perhaps a desire to acquire a significant one off, high value, purchase. At this stage, two groups are responsible for attracting these potential customers – the marketers (who raise awareness of your products / services) and the people involved in the previous sale (who generate recommendations from existing customers).
The next phase of the buying process involves your sales team directly. Customers seek people they can trust. Trust is enabled by the provision of a referral from an existing customer who has had a good experience; the presence of a strong, reputable brand; or the level of service received from a business.
In terms of your sales team, having conversations with customers helps to develop rapport. Asking open question which cannot be answered with a yes or no engenders trust. The opposite, closed questions, when strangers first meet, sound like and feel like an interrogation and should be avoided. Good sales people know how to start a conversation and build rapport with clients. If your sales team can’t seem to do this, perhaps they need some training.
The final phase is where the traditional sales approach kicks in. At this stage, the buyer is looking to determine the value of your product or service offering. Your sales process needs to demonstrate this value to the potential customer. Customers who have developed trust in your firm and / or your sales people will place an unconscious premium on the relationship when it comes to considering perceived price versus perceived value. Once you can demonstrate value to your customer you should be able to help them to close a deal.