Why persuasion is an important sales strategy tool.
Sun Tzu, the great 4th century BC Greek leader, (still referred to today by many great business leaders) was a great advocate of the power of persuasion, an important element in any sales situation. Customers buy from us to help them achieve their business objectives. Often this means that they need to be persuaded to accept new ideas or to do things differently. Sales can become complicated and confusing for the customer. Sales people can create clarity by being confident, strong and persuasive, but how?
Understand your customer’s corporate culture and their needs, be creative.
1. From the outset learn as much as possible about the customer and their company’s culture. Meet with its people, gain a good grasp of their strengths and weaknesses, of their competition, and who you might be competing against for the business.
2. Determine customer goals, what is both important and unimportant. Know when to persuade and when to listen, if you are addressing too many or too few needs and when the customer might need to buy.
3. Be creative to encapsulate each situation’s uniqueness, alternating between well-accepted ideas that the customer is comfortable with and new ideas that are novel and exciting. Your creativity and persuasiveness will give impact to your ideas generating interest and excitement, and any resistance will start to fade.
Outwit the competition, create advantage in the sales process.
4. Avoid selling where the competition is already entrenched. Uncover unexplored opportunities. Look for prospects who need your solutions and try to lock out the competition by ensuring that you are satisfying all the customer's needs.
5. Look to create advantages in the sale process to put your opposition at a disadvantage. Do this by identifying how the customer needs help, discover their goals and then offer irresistible solutions. Focus on needs that the customer hasn’t addressed, lead them one step at a time using your knowledge to overcome their lack of information Be clever about your intentions, don’t let customers assume they know what you have to offer. Entice your customers with your unique benefits, engage them and generate interest so that they want to learn more.
Take the lead, present flexible, strategic and well timed proposals.
6. Take the lead in moving the sale forward to help the customer make good decisions. Always aim to build your influence throughout the sales process, keep the prospect engaged by providing solid information to get their attention and then act.
7. Present flexible, strategic and well timed proposals. Be flexible, use a variety of tactics, no single approach or specific timing or single proposal is always correct. Suggest different proposals, maybe something without risk or with promotional offers. Make sure your proposal is difficult to improve upon, closely meeting the customer's key issues. Be strategic, attentive and timely, avoid presenting proposals too early to prevent the competition being able to discredit you. Create a sense of urgency, for an instance could determine your success or failure. An enticing proposal will persuade the customer to buy and for you to be able to smoothly close the sale.
Learning how to be persuasive and how to create advantages will significantly help to lead to successful sales results. What have been your experiences?