Powerful Sales Techniques for Face-to-Face and Online Selling
September 03, 2017 - DOM BARNARD
At the forefront of every business lies the desire to turn over profit, that's how businesses grow and flourish. But how exactly is this achieved? Sales is the answer. The ultimate goal of every business, whether large or small, international or independent, is to make sales and make a profit.
In this article, we cover some of the most powerful sales techniques and tips, tried and tested. Of course, every business and product requires a different approach, that's why a variety of techniques and tips are covered, so you can find what works for you, your business and your sales growth.
Your customers and communication
Customers are essentially the answer to sales: attract the right attention to your products and a sale is in your hands. But it doesn't always work this way, even if you attract customers, how can you guarantee a sale will be made? This section of the article talks through some tips and selling techniques you can implement to reach your target market, retain attention and generate sales through creating a personable experience.
- Listen to your customers. Customers are human after all, and like every other human on the planet, they have emotional needs. By listening, you build trust, mutual understanding and will realise your customers' needs.
- Build rapport through open questions and body language. Once you have listened to your customer and taken the time to understand their needs, you can then move on to questioning. Questioning customers in a non-interrogative kind of way is fundamental to making sales. Learn more about that customer, from their budget to their favourite scent, if necessary. It all goes a long way.
- Use language that focuses on your customer. By doing this you are showing that you have listened attentively and have your customers' best interests at heart. Try using terms such as 'You'll find', 'You'll like' etc rather than 'I think', 'Let me tell you about'.
- Upsell the product(s) based on your research. You've taken the time to listen, question and build rapport with your customer, now is the important part of the exchange: to make a sale. Use your research to upsell products that meet your customers' needs. You can do this by suggesting features of a product that will appeal to the problems likely experienced by your customer and even eventually add other products into the conversation to ultimately make more than one sale.
Demonstrating a product
There is a reason why when you're shopping in the supermarket you may get offered a small piece of bread to try or a cube of cheese, and that reason is sales. By allowing potential customers to try a product or see a product's features in action for themselves, you are much more likely to create a sale.
Potential customers trying the Oculus Rift VR headset - hugely increases the probability of a sale.
People like to try things and see the effects where possible. The more of this you can do, the better. We're not suggesting you go overboard and hand out everything you have for free, but do take the time to read the sales tips below on how you can effectively demonstrate your product.
- Use social media to your advantage. In this day and age, social media is a great way to market your products and services. Almost every business that exists does this. Why? Because people love to see and connect with things, whether that be a photo or a short video; rich media makes everything seem a lot more real. By posting photos of your products in a relatable sense onto social networks, you are allowing your potential customers to visualise how it would work for them, the same goes for videos.
- Demonstrate your product in store with the customer if possible. Taking the time to do this offers a great advantage; it shows you care and don't just want your customer to make a purchase without even trying what they are buying, whether this be a hand cream, household paint or frying pan.
- Close a sale through demonstrating. Once you have your customers' attention and they are actively engaged with the demonstration, it is much easier to make a sale. Talk to them about how your product works for them; for example, 'I can see that this hand cream is really moisturising your skin, you'll definitely benefit from regular use of this product'. The key to this is not just demonstrating without relating it to the customer, it's ensuring that the product and your method of doing so relate to the customer and their specific needs, desires and pain points.
Read about 8 Of The Best Product Demos And Why They're So Effective.
The elevator pitch technique
The elevator pitch technique is an old, tried and tested technique that actually proves that sometimes less is much more. By using this technique you are more likely to communicate comprehensively and ensure your sales pitch is attention grabbing. Even though in a sales transaction communication is key, more often than not we can over talk, oversell and lose our customer's interest.
The concept of this technique is to imagine you have just the time it takes to travel in an elevator with your potential buyer, just a few minutes to introduce and sell yourself and your product/service. We've outlined how to nail this technique below:
- Open your sales pitch confidently. Take a look at yourself. Are you communicating confidently, not only with your words? Remember, only 7% of communication is verbal, the other 93% is down to your body language. Practise open body language, eye contact and smiling.
- Why should the potential buyer listen to you? Talk about your experience if necessary, make yourself relatable to the buyer yet professional.
- Be brief and to the point. Don't get lost in ramblings and lose your point, choose perhaps 3 reasons why you think this product/service is brilliant. Slip them into your pitch naturally and relate this back to the buyer. Connect the dots, make a connection.
- Call to action. Elevator pitch almost over with, move forward naturally into the questioning part of the transaction. You are now one step closer to making that sale.
For additional tips on how to write and deliver an elevator pitch, read the following:
Use the VirtualSpeech VR app to practice your elevator and sales pitch in a realistic environment.
Closing a sale with a customer
From selling a car to selling a packet of biscuits, the ultimate goal is to close and make the sale. You've gone through the effort of learning about your customer, demonstrating the product/service, now how do you close the sale? You'll find out below.
- Identify the decision maker. Who is the decision maker here? Are you facing a group of people, two perhaps, or more? Identify which one is the decision maker and focus your attention and tactics towards that individual.
- Create a sense of urgency tactfully. Everything sells at some point, but if you are able to give your potential buyer the impression that they really must take the item now before someone else does, so much the better. Creating a sense of urgency really does help, and you can do this in a non-pushy way by saying things such as 'These products are in high demand at the moment, I can't guarantee they will be here in a few days' or 'We've had a lot of interest in this, I'm sure it'll sell very quickly'.
- Why is your product better than your competitor's? Can your potential customer find this product down the road at the other homeware store? What does your product have that the other one doesn't? Upsell these points: this may be the price, the quality, the quantity, stretch your imagination tactfully.
- Storytelling. Tell your potential buyer about how thrilled a previous customer was with this product and how they keep coming back for more. By showing examples of how a product or service has improved a customer's results, you are more likely to close that sale.
Sales presentations or any presentation can be daunting even for the most experienced presenters. What should you include in your presentation? How can you make sure your presentation stands out? We've outlined a few sales tips to follow below:
- Don't overdo it. Always choose quality over quantity. Limit yourself to 8-10 informative and engaging slides.
- Make sure your speech complements what is being seen. You don't need to read everything like a script, humans are not robotic. Make sure your presence is adding something to the presentation, ask questions to engage the viewers in what they are seeing and reading.
- Include tactful visuals. We are naturally visual beings, by including images into what you are presenting this makes your presentation instantly more engaging, interesting and relatable. Photos of happy customers work extremely well.
- Before-after-bridge. Show your viewers how their life is now and how it will be after they use your product/service. Emphasise that happiness.
- Use data where you can. Your audience will appreciate graphs and statistics to back what you are really saying.
For more tips on giving a presentation, read our Business Presentation Guide.
The next part...
Now we've covered the in-person, face-to-face aspect of creating sales it's time to move on to an equally important aspect of sales techniques and that is the online world. It may have been a colourful advert popping up in your browser or an email offering a free e-book, but in one way or another, you have been a recipient of digital marketing.
This next section offers sales techniques which cover how you can improve your lead generation, sales software and landing page tips.
Improve your lead generation
You have your loyal customers but don't you want more? Follow the sales tips below to collect leads on your website and attain more customer interest.
Neil Patel uses a variety of lead generation techniques, usually offering free content in return for your email address and other data.
- Make use of the lead collection services available: plugins and contact forms for websites which prompt your visitor to enter their data in return for receiving newsletters or regular offers and product updates. Retaining such details will help when you need to market new arrivals or launch a campaign, as well as simply to keep in touch with your customer base.
- Are you optimising your online presence? Can you offer your customer something more? Perhaps consider delivering a webinar or monthly free e-book. Such perks always keep a customer or potential customer interested in your products and services.
- Use social media. Drive your audience to your sales landing pages through the use of social media. By sharing content and using it to your advantage you are much more likely to reach a wider audience and, of course, create more sales.
- Attend and deliver conferences and networking events. This speaks for itself, but as the old saying goes, it's not what you know but rather who you know. Network and get your product known, your business cards, brochures and leaflets handed out and your word too.
Popular lead generation tools include:
Read more about them here, here and here.
Rethink your sales web page
A sales web page needs to be convincing. Here are some techniques on how to get that covered.
An example of the HubSpot sales page, note the professional look, testimonials, live chat and calls to action.
- Make sure it looks professional. Take the time to make sure your website design is on point, user-friendly and free of broken links and grammatical mistakes. Nobody is going to buy from a company that doesn't seem professional online.
- Customer testimonials. Reading about other customers' experiences is extremely convincing and isn't that what you are trying to do? Convince people through storytelling that they need this product in their life. Encourage users to give feedback perhaps by offering a discount on their next order. You can also feature your feedback from other review sites online. Read this link for further information on using customer testimonials to generate more revenue.
- Emphasise your USPs. Make it clear both visually and verbally as to why your product is amazing. Lead with the benefits, demonstrate value for money, show discount offers, feature videos and rich imagery that sell the product, and ensure you include plenty of detail or FAQs so customers have all the information they need.