What is your opinion of sales? Is it something that you love? Is it something that you know is necessary, but would prefer to avoid? Better yet, what is your opinion of salespeople?
Do you personally want to learn how to sell? Do you see yourself in the business or profession of sales at some point? Is this something that you’d like to avoid all together? Do you see yourself instead as a professional, an executive, a practitioner or a service provider, rather than someone who sells?
Whatever your career goals or aspirations are, the “art of sales” is a very important skill to learn. We sell everyday, in many different capacities, whether we are aware of it or not. We sell our ideas and our products. We sell our values. We sell the causes that we care about. We are social beings, and our lives are full of interaction with each other. As such, we can all benefit from learning and applying certain effective sales techniques in our day-to-day interactions.
Highly successful sales people know that effective selling techniques are really about effective questioning, effectively understanding the needs of another, the ability to show empathy, be present, and look for value added solutions to problems, much more than they are about pushy “closing techniques” and “tricks”. A master sales person is a master relationship builder, a master listener, and a master problem solver.
Whatever your career goals are, by incorporating the following effective selling techniques as daily habits you will experience more success. You will be more effective in building value driven relationships, you will be more influential in spreading your ideas, and you will more consistently earn the trust of those around you.
Here are four effective selling techniques that everyone should know and use:
- Try to understand the perspective and needs of those you interact with. Stephen Covey’s sage advice from The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People of “seek first to understand, then to be understood” is timeless in its application, especially in sales. Effective salespeople can masterfully understand the perspective and needs of others, and they don’t present solutions until they understand needs. By incorporating this habit in your life you build emotional bridges of trust for others. This is critical in gaining influence.
- Show empathy and practice being “present” with people. Our world of constant connectedness is also a world of constant distraction, and a lack of attention to the present moment. As a result, people who consistently are present in their personal interactions stand out. They are enjoyable to be around. When you are with them you feel like they really care about what you’re saying. This makes you feel great, and it is hard not to like a person who is present when they are with you. This is what great salespeople do. They show empathy and practice being present.
- Identify core problems that you can provide solutions to. A highly successful salesperson will focus on being present, will effectively listen, and get to the core of what a need is – a problem that can be solved. This in essence is the sales process broken down to its most essential parts: first understand the need or problem to be solved, and then find an applicable solution. By practicing effective listening, restating, and drilling down to the core problems in our interactions, even if we operate outside of selling, we place ourselves in a position to add massive value by providing an applicable solution.
- Create value while providing a solution to the problem. This is the last step in the process of a highly successful salesperson – create value by providing a solution to a real problem. When this happens a salesperson has a satisfied customer that can turn into a lifetime of referrals and new customers. We create the same goodwill with those we interact with, regardless of our profession, when we present effective solutions that add real value. In order to be in a position to create this value we have to first understand, and then properly execute, the sales process.