In many senses, sales can be the most important part of a business. If you continually bring in prospects and customers through quality targeted marketing campaigns and provide them with exceptional customer service, but can’t close the deal—then your efforts were a waste of costly resources. If there’s no sale, there’s no business.
Getting from open to close requires polished presentation chops, top-notch negotiation skills, and strong sales acumen. But it also requires knowing your client and possessing keen inter-communication and people reading skills.
From research to pre-suasion, to negotiation to close, here are tips for each stage of the sales process from proven sales and negotiation experts.
Do your research
Before even picking up the phone or meeting with a client, Ken Sterling, EVP of BigSpeak, iterates the necessity of doing your research. “Take three minutes, find them on LinkedIn, and look up the company on Google News. Understand what their company does, who they are, what their role is, how long they’ve been in that role and their most recent two positions, this builds amazing rapport before getting into the business side of the dialogue” recommends Sterling.
Once you get face-to-face, before any negotiation takes place, prime your counterpart with a little bit of Pre-Suasion. Dr. Robert Cialdini, bestselling author, and noted psychologist in the fields of influence, persuasion, and negotiation, outlines skills for priming the receptor to receive the message in the affirmative before it is even sent.
First put the receiver in “a frame of mind that fits with the forthcoming message, thereby intensifying the impact of the message when encountered,” says Dr. Cialdini.
“Establishing trust is critical,” he notes, and this “can be done instantly by mentioning a weakness or being transparent about any drawbacks of conflicts that might apply.” When you do this right away, “a wall of distrust comes down and the prospect is more likely to believe what you say next.”
Use simple language
Predictable Revenue author and sales expert Aaron Ross recommends, “When pitching and selling, be as clear and concise as possible.” Your messaging is very important. Just because you understand the industry jargon, doesn’t mean your client does. “You should be able to explain what you do and what you’re selling to a 10-year-old,” says Ross.
Keep them guessing
During negotiations, NYC real estate broker mogul and “Million Dollar Listing” TV star Fredrik Eklund says you want to keep your counterpart guessing and unprepared. To do this, Eklund suggests sending out mixed signals. He might say something positive and then drastically change his mind, throwing the other party off guard. For example, Eklund says:
I enter the room with great energy and I make the other side feel at ease with me, thinking, ‘This guy is so pleasant. I’m sure I can control him—this will be easy.’ But they are in for a big surprise. All of a sudden, I let the energy fall to a bad place.
According to Eklund, the point of this is to get the other side to think the deal is dead, which then gives him the power in the negotiation. “I always tell my team that negotiating is a game of upside downs,” says Eklund.
Make them wait
When he’s on a listings pitch, Eklund says he never gives his clients the price right away. “One because I want to go home and really do my research, and two, I don’t want to be drawn into any excitement in the moment.”
According to Eklund, making clients wait a few hours to get the price of a property gets them a little frustrated, making them want what he’s selling even more, and puts him in control. He then sends a price or offer in writing which makes it seem more substantial and final. The wait also makes them feel as though Fredrik has put a lot of time and thought into the offer. But he leaves one caveat: “As long as the waiting is whetting the appetite and not starving them to death, it strengthens your position.”
Know when and how to stop selling
“Life is a series of pitches. You are always pitching,” says Daymond John, FUBU clothing founder and Shark Tank Shark. Yet at the same time, it’s important to know when and how to stop selling. John says, “In terms of closing remarks, the biggest problem is when the entrepreneur or salesperson tries to hide certain facts.”
“Be forthright” in your close he says. “It’s always best to volunteer info and take responsibility” by offering to answer any questions. And then stop selling, John cautions. When you continue to push the sale or the negotiation for a better offer or faster close, it can sometimes have the reverse effect and push the buyer away.
These are just a sampling of sales tips to employ throughout the sales process. To learn more about sales from the experts, book a sales speaker for your next event. Sales experts and sales training speakers have the professional insight and experience to help improve critical sales skills in all industries. Contact BigSpeak at info@BigSpeak.com
The content writers at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau are Experts on the Experts. They hold doctoral, masters, and bachelors’ degrees in business, writing, literature, and education. Their business thought pieces are published regularly in leading business publications. Working in close association with the top business, entrepreneur, and motivational speakers, BigSpeak content writers are at the forefront of industry trends and research.