How many times have you been told the trick to closing more sales is to schedule all your calls for Wednesday afternoons? Or that all you need to do to convert more leads is to believe in yourself and smile more?
Are your Wednesdays jam-packed and your cheeks hurting from smiling, but you’re still not seeing many signed deals?
Sales “techniques” like these are all over the internet… and they tend to deliver very few results.
The truth is, sales reps seem to be tight-lipped about the techniques that really work for them. While there is something to be said about connecting with your leads at the right time or being friendly, there often isn’t a simple solution to closing more deals.
Unfortunately, you can’t power-pose your way to increased sales. To truly get results from your sales techniques, you need to implement processes that help you build stronger relationships with your leads and prospects.
Getting to know your prospects, as well as their goals and challenges, can allow you to close more deals through offering specific recommendations and advice. When you’re trying to help your prospects solve a real problem––not just push a product to meet quota––they’ll view you as a helpful resource and want to purchase from you.
1. Let your prospect do the selling.
One of the most powerful sales techniques is to help your prospect come to the conclusion you want on their own. Through asking questions that prompt your prospect to verbalize the solution they’re looking for, you can essentially get them to do the heavy lifting.
It also puts the prospect––not your product or service––at the center of the conversation. You’re allowing your prospect to take the lead while you offer the support they need to find a solution that works for them.
This is known as “SPIN Selling.” The SPIN sales technique helps you better understand your prospect by using four types of questions:
SPIN selling is a four-step process that builds off the phase before, helping a prospect discover their situation, problem, implication, and needs.
Here’s how it works.
Assess the situation.
The first thing you’ll want to know about a lead is whether or not your products or services fit their needs. “Situation” questions should act as a sales prospecting exercise to help determine which of your leads might become customers.
Pro-tip: To make your sales prospecting process more efficient, check out our 5 Ways for Sales to Prospect More Effectively webinar.
They should center around the product or service you offer, but also be strictly discovery-based.
“Situation” questions you might ask include:
- “How are you currently organizing your customer communication?”
- “What is your decision-making process for purchasing new software?”
- “What email automation tool are you currently using?”
Discover the problem.
Now that you know a bit about the lead’s current situation, you want to help them verbalize a problem. At this stage, you want to be careful not to tell them what problems they are experiencing.
Instead, let them answer. Here are some “problem” questions you might ask:
- “What is your biggest challenge with keeping customer communication organized?”
- “Where is your current software holding you back from being successful?”
- “What features or capabilities do you wish your email automation tool included?”
Make the implication.
Questions at this stage should magnify the negative impact of the problem and create some urgency. You should get leads thinking about what will happen if they don’t solve the issue they just mentioned.
Potential “implication” questions to ask include:
- “If you don’t solve your organization challenges soon, how will this affect your customer relationships?”
- “How is using the wrong software costing your company money?”
- “What goals aren’t you accomplishing because your email automation tool is lacking those features?”
Create a need.
Now that the negative impact of their problem is fresh in their mind, you want to get your prospect thinking about potential solutions and the benefits they could bring. At the final step of the process, you want to ask questions that encourage the lead to explain the payoff themselves.
Here are a few examples of “need/payoff” questions:
- “How would improving customer communication organization improve your number of repeat customers?”
- “In what ways would implementing new software increase your bottom line?”
- “If you used a comprehensive email automation tool, how would that impact your business?”
At the end of the SPIN selling process, your lead has drawn their own conclusions about the problems they’re experiencing, how they’re hurting their business, and what positive impact a solution would have.
All you need to do is present the best option for them.
This process also allows you to establish yourself as a helpful expert. Because you’re waiting until the prospect understands their problem and the solution they need, it doesn’t feel like you’re just trying to push a product. Instead, you’re building a long-term relationship where your prospect can continue to come back for help.
Seal the deal.
Learn how to close sales efficiently, from overcoming objections to persuading prospects to take action, with this free handbook.
2. Save an objection until the end.
When a prospect voices their objections to your product or service, you usually want to jump in with rebuttals or solutions as quickly as possible.
While it’s good to show that you’re listening to their needs and concerns, a successful sales technique is to take those objections one by one and tackle the underlying belief associated with each. Then, hold onto one final objection until you’re close to closing the deal.
There are five types of sales objections:
- pain, and
Taking the process slow shows that you’re not just spitting out numbers and talking points. Instead, you’re able to present a true solution to each challenge. However, waiting to solve every problem keeps you in control of the conversation.
Let’s walk through an example.
Say a prospect tells you their major concerns with your solution include security, features, and price. Rather than jumping to quickly prove you’re capable of meeting their needs, here’s how you can respond:
“I understand the three things holding you back are security, features, and price. Let’s walk through each of these. First, security…”
Repeating the concerns back to the lead and including the numerical value can make them seem more manageable—there are only three hurdles they need to get over.
You can then dive into the first few concerns, asking questions that address the underlying belief that the objection stems from.
When you have one final concern left, you’ll want to say something like this:
“You told me security, features, and price were the only concerns you still had. We covered security and features. If I’m able to meet you on the price, is there anything else stopping you from using this solution?”
At this point, you’re essentially asking your prospect if they’d be ready to buy if you can solve this one last problem. This pushes your prospects to truly think about if they’d make a purchase or not, rather than just immediately shut your offer down.
Your prospect could give one of two responses.
First, your prospect might come back and say that yes, they do have some additional concerns. Before you begin to tackle that original final issue (in this case, pricing), you’ll want to flesh out any other concerns they still have.
When you’ve walked them through those problems, you can reframe the question and ask again if there is anything standing in their way from buying.
The second (and ideal) outcome of this sales technique would be that they agree to purchase after you solve that last issue. If that’s the case, it’s up to you as a salesperson to sell them on this final point.
This sales technique presents you as a problem-solver. Instead of listing benefits or features of your products or services, you’re showing how prospects can overcome their unique challenges. You’re establishing trust and authority so when the prospect runs into new problems, they’ll come to you for help.
However, it’s important to remember that sometimes you’re just not the right solution. If a prospect presents a concern or objective that you can’t solve, don’t try to force a rebuttal that just doesn’t work. Know when it’s time to let a prospect go.
3. End each meeting with an action.
How many times have you ended a meeting with, “I’ll be in touch?” How many times did you struggle to nail down another meeting?
The problem with ending a meeting on a promise––not an action––is that people can get busy. Your prospect’s schedule fills up with other meetings and calls, and soon, so much time has passed that you need to take a few steps back in the sales process.
Not only is it frustrating for you to cover old materials, but it also prolongs the sales process. A simple sales technique to combat this is to end each meeting with a definitive action that brings the lead to the next phase of the sales funnel.
The most obvious way to do this is to schedule the next call while you’re still on the phone. Get something on your calendars while you’re still talking, even if that needs to change later.
However, another call might not be the logical next step. Maybe you’ve promised to deliver certain materials or your prospect is going to give you feedback or questions.
You should set a clear date and time for when this should happen. Rather than saying you’ll send over that use case or get them that pricing list within the next few days, let them know it’s coming their way immediately following the call.
Make it a goal to end each and every meeting––no matter how seemingly insignificant––with an actionable plan. Everyone should know exactly what the next step is, what they can expect from you, or what they should be doing.
Use “we” language when determining next steps. Rather than saying “I will do this…” or “You should do that…” create actions that make you seem like a part of a team. For example, set your next step as “We will talk about…”
Collaborative language is 10x more likely to be used among top sales performers.
Staying proactive can keep you top-of-mind for the lead. This keeps them moving through the sales funnel at a pace you’re in control of. (More tips on managing a sales funnel here.)
Remember to always be aware of being too pushy. While some leads just need a little nudging, others don’t want to be bothered. Don’t insist on scheduling a follow-up meeting if they aren’t receptive.
Instead, give them some space to think things through. It’s always better to reconnect than to ruin your relationship with a lead because you got overly eager.
A power pose won’t close a deal, but a solid sales technique can.
Despite what you read online, no one is making a sale because they sent an email at 9am on a Tuesday. Real sales techniques are based on building a relationship with your leads, not trying to crack a code.
Having a few strong sales techniques under your belt can help you get to know your lead, the challenges their facing, and what you can do to help in an efficient way. While these are just three of the many sales techniques out there, they can get you off to a great start.
Give one––or all––of these sales techniques a shot. Switch it up when it feels comfortable or add steps if your leads need some additional nurturing. When you listen to what your potential buyers are asking for, creating a successful sales technique of your own gets easier and easier.