Business Skills

Sales Skills: 20+ Most Useful Sales Tips & Techniques

Sales skills

1. Your first competitor is indifference.


2. Say one thing.


3. After you say one thing, repeat it again and again.


4. Don't use adjectives. Use stories.


5. Attack your first weakness: the stereotype the prospect has about you.


6. Create the evidence of your product/service quality. Then communicate it. Seeing is believing. Example: even when people know the tricks used by the grocery industry to make ripe oranges appear orange, they still are buy fruit with the most orange-looking peel exterior. Check your peel.


(Source: 'Selling the invisible', by Harry Beckwith)


7. Start to think like a customer. Look at each situation via the customers eyes. Approach each prospect with no expectations or preconceived notions. Think about the real problem and educate your prospects about the real issues. 'Do not sell the captain of the Titanic more champagne, when he really needs more lifeboats. '


8. People like specials: It sounds more fun.


9. The First Member Trap: No one wants to be the first. So, create the impression that you already have members


10. The Lineup: Create the impression people are lining up / waiting to buy - it creates an aura of popularity / exclusiveness. You do not want to make it too easy to get your product / service. Some restaurant 'pay people' to create the impression of a line outside.


11. The Three Boxes: When you offer 3 choices, it is not about charging too much, it is about giving the customer choice - and marketing is about choice. If you only have one choice, then it is yes or no. Nothing else to think about so you always focus on price. With two choices, you usually take the small because, (a) save money, (b) play it safe. With three choices, you start at the large because it is dazzling, beautiful and huge, but perhaps too expensive.


12. Give samples, let the prospect experience your produce / service. It reduces the amount of time and effort you need to explain the product. By giving free things that have value you break the sales-pitch-bunker (where people go out of there way to avoid advertising). Discounts / coupons do not count because they are associated with a sale.


13. Your main focus is to help your customers prosper: For example, you may be selling basketballs, but you are actually in the business of helping those in basketball succeed. So, how do you help basketball players? Software for coaches, uniforms, start building basketball courts, sell videos. Now, if you don't know how to service your customers then learn or partner with someone that does.


14. Don't let brochures limit you: Create a marketing blueprint instead - customer type, selling right stuff to them, giving free valuable stuff, a marketing process that starts with getting awareness for your offering, and so on.


15. Do 'big' stuff: Have a context, a new product, a special program. Just do something, and make it BIG.


16. Focus on 'perceived value': People pay for the Starbucks experience (environment, beautiful decor, leather couches), not the coffee. Otherwise, it is just a $5 coffee.


17. Educational marketing: Give customers' problem a name, have them complete a self-assessment and do some educational marketing. This marketing is about concepts related to your business. Include key concepts only (like why is it efficient to have a financial plan prior to making large financial decisions), and refrain so the nitty/gritty.


18. Focus on your best customers: A gourmet meal is a small number of high quality customers. You offer end-end products or services at high margins. So create something new to cater to the individual needs and wishes of your best customers. Decide which one to be (high-end gourmet or low-end fast food), but do not linger in the middle.


19. Get your prospects to open their wallets before asking for the big sale: Turn prospects into customers by getting them to buy small, to be more open to spending large later. Customers need to get into the habit of opening their wallet. E.g. $50 starter kit.


20. Workshops instead of presentations: Before the presentation send a questionnaire for your audience to answer about their business. You no longer do presentations, you do workshops. Ask them a ton a questions about their business. Give them exercises to complete like a worksheet to explain their goals, challenges and future plans. Be a coach not a salesperson.


21. Tailor your instructions to match the level of your audience: First recognize/applaud what was done right before giving advice. Show the prospect how they are half way up the mountain (this pertains to an allegory of climbing Mount Everest - most people can do the first half without must help, but its the second half that is the really difficult part). The prospect will see that you acknowledge their work and will see where to go next (know as the growth edge).


22. Treat it like a date: So it has to sound exciting. Repackage your first visit with the client as a special event (i.e. help buyers clean their houses better instead of simply 'hey, we want to sell you vacuum cleaners') and at the event bring in field experts to explain in detail how something (relevant) works. Develop trust, intimacy, communication and time.


23. The market is like a forest: Trees actually grow exponentially. The problem is that it starts with the roots (a problem because you cannot see the growth, you have to believe it). And, in the beginning there is a need for a lot of care. If you go too quickly you will not have worked out all of your systems and processes and it can be a huge bomb. Tend to your seedlings, give it time to grow and do not cloud your vision with the disbelief of others.


(Source: 'How to sell a lobster' by Bill Bishop)


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