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Lessons we can ALL learn from retailers this Christmas

10th December 2015

5 tips to help you sell successfully

It was interesting to read reports about Black Friday and how UK retailers suffered a drop in sales in November as record take-up of online shopping and a late Black Friday boost failed to make up for slow trade in the rest of the month.

Retailers are now all hoping that Christmas food and gift shopping will turn things around after sales in stores and online were down 0.4% in like-for-like terms in November when compared with a year earlier, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Selling skills, be they in retail or any other sector, have become more relevant today than ever before. I think we can all learn from annual events like Christmas. But let’s face it, the world is filled with competition – with many businesses fighting for the same sale – competition is here to stay and likely to only keep increasing. And at no time of year is this more evident than at Christmas.

Many of us find ourselves selling similar products or services. Our businesses can look very similar from the outside in. Customers are much more demanding and educated and we ALL need a point of difference whether we are a high street shoe shop, or an advertising agency!

Here are 5 Top Tips to help you sell successfully:-

  1. Sell to people

Selling is only directed at PEOPLE. You can’t make a sale unless it’s to another person – people buy people.

So…understand that every sales presentation must be different because you’ll never find two identical people.

Every prospective buyer has different aspirations, requirements, wants and needs. They all come from different backgrounds and work in different businesses. They all have different pressures to cope with and different targets to achieve. They all have different people to report or respond to.

Be interested in THEM. You must attract people to yourself. To be interesting, you must first be interested.

Clients and customers should look forward to their meetings with you or to hearing from you on the phone. If we have a choice, none of us will do business with a person we don’t like!

  1. Link features to benefits

In reality, customers are interested in purchasing the benefits of your product or service – not the features.

For example, a motor car has many features – such as power steering, automatic door locking, overdrive, a sun roof and so forth.

But now let’s link the features to the benefits….

The vehicle has power steering, which means that it’s light to handle, particularly in small areas, and after a long journey you’ll arrive feeling less tired.  It has automatic door locking which means that when you shut and lock the driver door, all the doors are safely locked which is particularly useful on a cold or wet day. It has overdrive, which means that you will have greater fuel economy and with the price of petrol, that could be a great saving.

A very useful link phrase to use is “Which means that…” What does this feature actually mean to the customer – what’s in it for them? Why should they care?

Your company may be the biggest and longest established, but so what?!

What really counts is what this actually means to your buyer. Being the ‘biggest’ may mean “We have the experience, expertise, and resources to satisfy all of your requirements.” (Benefit).

  1. Don’t rely on logic

What is it that causes people to make a decision to buy? – logic or emotion?

Research shows that 84% of decisions are based on emotion and not logic.

People buy people. If there’s a choice, we will not do business with someone we don’t like.

Many salespeople have been trained to find a need, to prove a need and to sell the need. All this does is create “hard selling” – now an out of date technique!

I could prove to you very quickly that you need some more life insurance. But do you want some?

The good salesperson will find the need but not sell the need. They will turn that need into a WANT, by selling the results of either having or not having it – and tapping into the buyer’s emotions.

The main buying emotions include:-

  • Health
  • Security
  • Prestige
  • Fear of loss
  • Pride of ownership
  • Ego
  • Ambition
  • Status
  • Greed

People will always find the money for the things they want, not necessarily what they need.

  1. Don’t catch ‘priceitis’

‘Priceitis’ is the disease caught by many salespeople. They feel, think, and then come to believe that in order to make a sale they must be the cheapest. They are convinced that customers buy by price and they’ll only buy the cheapest. If it were true that people buy only by the price, the cheapest motor car, TV or pair of jeans would be the biggest sellers and we know that’s not the case!

Studies have shown that around 18-20% of people will only buy the cheapest product or service, regardless of whether it works, or whether they really want or need it – if it’s the cheapest, then they’ll buy it. 0.5% of people will only ever buy the most expensive product.

The vast majority of business (80%) is conducted with buyers who are not interested in the cheapest or most expensive, but rather the best value for money; people buy value, or more accurately, their perception of value. So the best salespeople sell value and not price.

Never apologise for your price. Demonstrate through your product knowledge and the service you offer that your prices are fair; be proud of your price. The more confidence you show; the more confidence your customers will have that they are buying value for money.

  1. Know your USPs

Every business, product or service has something that’s unique. To be a great salesperson, you need to know what those unique selling points are.

Identify your own USPs in the 3 key areas:-

  • My product or service
  • My company
  • Myself

By asking the right questions, you can find out whether your USPs are of interest to the prospective customer. Ask questions that lead your prospect towards your unique sales points.

For example:-

  • Would it be important for you to deal with somebody who offers a no-quibble money back guarantee?”
  • “Would it be important for you to make your purchase and then deal with one person who will always be available to handle any problems that may arise in the future?”
  • “Would it be important for you to deal with a company with over 10 years’ experience and a track record of working in your industry sector?”

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