Is there one “best” way to make a sale? No.
A sale is broken down into elements. Each salesperson executes each element in a different way. Some are great at it. Some don’t even know the elements exist.
Presented here are the 18.5 basic elements that comprise a sale. They are by no means all-encompassing but there are enough here to make a sale. A big sale. Your key is not just knowing these elements (salespeople already know everything problem is they just don’t do it), but your skill at executing or implementing the elements.
Don’t be reading this and say “Yeah, I know that.” Ask yourself “Do I do that?” and “To what degree of competency do I execute the element on a scale of 110?” That’s the real test.
Here is the barebones list of 18.5 sales elements. These are not just elements to know these are elements to implement. These are elements that if executed properly, will lead to a sale:
- Know the prospect and his business before you say a word. Walk in with knowledge then get real information.
- Be sure you’re talking to the final (only, all) decision maker(s). Why waste your breath? Worse you should never “let others tell others.” If you can’t present to the final decision maker, be sure you’re in the room when the final decision is made. No one can tell it (sell it) like you.
- Approach the prospect with friendly confidence. People buy from friends, not salespeople. People buy from those who have gained their confidence.
- Know the (find the) prospect’s true needs and wants. Question first. Talk second. Without knowing needs and wants there’s no need to make a presentation, no matter how good it is.
- Make sure the prospect is paying close attention. Take away all samples, brochures and other “fidgetable” items. For maximum advantage give your presentation out of his office.
- Make the prospect feel important. Sincere compliments. Asking his opinion. Praising success.
- Show the prospect that you care about him personally. Talking in terms of him not you. Offer a specific game plan for how your product or service will impact his business. Show empathy when appropriate.
- Ask drop dead questions. Build confidence with questions not a bunch of boring stuff about how great you, your company or your product are. People don’t care what you do unless it helps them. Questions lead to answers about what will help the prospect and create a buying atmosphere.
- Present a compelling message. Your ability to speak is as important as your ability to sell. Employ the prime motivational factors that guide us to action greed, fear, vanity and sympathy (guilt).
- Tell stories that emphasize a point or tie in a message. Tell stories that help the prospect visualize results and ownership. Facts are boring, stories are interesting. Facts are forgotten, stories are retold.
- Make powerful statements that give the prospect confidence. Talk about how you helped others. Talk about ways others have used your product or service to their benefit.
- Overcome objections and statements of doubt with questions not statements. The fast comeback line to an objection will often make the prospect doubt you even more. Ask questions that make the prospect overcome his own objections.
- Look for signals of trust. They will look you right in the eye. They will ask questions about ownership. They will ask your advice. They will seek your reassurance. No trust, no sale.
- Use testimonials as final proof, not as door openers. The prospect wants proof. The only proof you’ve got is the word of other customers. Use your proof to close the sale not open it.
- Gain agreement. Use questions like Do you see what I mean? Do you see how this fits your business? Do you see the potential impact on your productivity? Gain agreement throughout the sale not just at the end.
- Ask for the sale. Ask when you start, ask in the middle, ask at the end.
- Close the sale, solidify the next action, and get out. This is the final agreement. The key is mutual agreement on the next action. Be sure it’s a solid one or don’t leave.
17.5. Be friendly. Be funny. Be relaxed. Be sincere. This is how the sale starts, this is how the presentation is given, this is how the sale ends. In other words This is how the sale is made.
Want to see an example of these elements in action? Watch the movie “The Bank Dick” starring WC Fields. About 1/3rd through the movie, Fields is approached by a salesman named J. Farthingham Waterbury. What follows is a classic (and funny) sales pitch. Fields buys then tries to retell the story.
Get past the humor in this scene, and you will witness a perfectly executed sales presentation. A presentation that employs 95% of the elements above. To grasp the full impact watch the entire scene 34 times, and use this article as a checklist each time an element is employed.
WC Fields, in case you live under a rock, was a movie actor, writer, director whose famous line, “My first wife drove me to drink. It’s the one thing I’m grateful to her for,” is almost as funny as his epitaph “I’d rather be here than in Philadelphia.” Ah yes, me too.
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