Slideshow 10 ways to tip the sales scales in your favor

  • July 23 2012, 4:35pm EDT
10 Images Total

10. Present the proposal last

Too many salespeople rush to get a proposal in front of buyers. It’s a bad move because it detracts from getting the customer involved in a dialogue and halts a salesperson’s learning process.

Make your proposal an extension of your conversation so that it becomes the result of your conversations. That way your proposal is really coming from the customer.

9. Think for a change

Those in sales tend to be “doers, not thinkers.” And most are burdened with too much activity that’s less than productive. Thinking makes the difference.

That’s what middle school students have discovered in the poorest area of Brooklyn. Their school is a chess powerhouse, “a legend in the chess world,” states the New York Times. “You do a lot of thinking about how you think, especially about how you make decisions,” says Elizabeth Spiegel, the full-time chess teacher. Making good decisions is the backbone of sales and that takes thinking as well as doing.

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8. Stay with the facts

Using exaggerated claims and inaccurate information are “the kiss of death” for today’s salesperson. With better-informed customers, uncovering such information only takes a few seconds, thus damaging credibility.

In today’s totally transparent world, “messing with the facts” can be fatal, whether in business (over-sized claims) or on a personal level (doctored resumes).

7. Doubt yourself

Salespeople often take pride in their ability to “read” people and situations, relying on their “gut instincts” or intuition.

They view it a “built-in” radar, guiding their decisions. Although experience can play a significant role, famed psychologist, Dr. Daniel Kahneman, points out the danger of depending on intuition. It can lead to what he calls “automatic thinking” that ignores relevant information, which can spell trouble in sales.

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6. Using 'big data' for better results

There is no reason to waste time bird-dogging dead-end leads; yet, that’s what salespeople assume to be part of the job. Not any longer, says Graham. And that’s the value of “big data,” or information that exists outside of your company, but is now available, he adds.

Intuit (QuickBooks, Quicken and Turbo Tax) has transactional, behavioral, user-generated data (from its products) and social data drawn from social networks and Twitter. And it’s easily accessible for large or small companies.

5. Be there at the right time

A printing sales executive locks the competition out with his electronic ticker system that tells him when jobs are coming up. His customers and prospects are impressed that he makes contact with them at just the right moment.

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4. Use the 'big question' to build a relationship with prospects

“What would you like to accomplish that you haven’t already?” This is the question that opens windows into customers’ minds to understand what dominates their thinking and what they care about passionately.

3. Every sale involves a relationship

One salesperson couldn’t figure out why a prospect didn’t want to buy, until he said, “Frankly, I just don’t understand why we can’t seem to move forward.” It turned out that the customer was afraid the salesperson would disappear. “I like picking your brain,” he commented.

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2. Make the customer experience interactive

The primary sales task is to get customers talking. Most already have information and expect to participate and they’re turned off when they don’t have a chance to do so.

Ask questions that engage the customer, that create a dialogue, says Graham. There’s nothing a salesperson can say that’s more important than that.

1. Start exciting customers and stop trying to entice them

Spending time figuring out a customer’s hot buttons is out of sync with the times, says Graham. One of the most important things you can do to tip the scales in your favor is to excite them with your knowledge, helpful ideas and your willingness to be there after they sign.