by Emily Worden | Featured Contributor
Why do people buy things? To satisfy needs, wants, and desires. People purchase goods and services to improve a situation or solve a problem. People don’t just buy products, they buy solutions.
Today’s consumers are pretty tough though. Thanks to an “on demand” society, people want better, faster, cheaper, more, and they want it NOW. Plus, the competitive landscape is overpopulated and your customer’s attention span is getting shorter.
So what’s a salesperson to do? First, understand that customers are selfish (and rightly so). Second, read my article “Why We Buy: 20 Human Desires Every Marketer Must Know” and determine which desire(s) your product satisfies. Third, practice these 10 sales tips until people are begging you to take their money:
(1) Nice appearance: Your clothes and demeanor make a difference in sales. Wear clean, tailored clothes. Shave and trim your hair. Clip your fingernails; people will notice. Always be smiling – not only to appear friendlier to others, but to brighten your mood as well.
(2) Be an expert: People want to know they’re making the best decision in parting with their hard-earned money. Be an expert and customers are assured they’re making the right decision working with you. People respect authority; it gives them confidence.
How do you be an expert? Share information. Answer questions. Give away knowledge. There’s loads of examples in my previous article “Call Yourself an Expert Because You ARE One and It’s Good for Business.”
(3) Practice your mini-spiel: Otherwise known as an “elevator pitch,” the mini-spiel should explain how your business helps people and solves problems. It should be tailored for each audience to highlight what’s important to them. It must be clear, concrete, and concise – avoid technical jargon or complicated business prose.
Help people understand your business’ unique value and make it sound intriguing enough that they ask for more information. Keep it short – overselling information makes you look like a zealous car salesman.
(4) Use scarcity: The Scarcity Principle is a psychological theory that says we value something more if we fear it will be taken away. The idea of potentially losing something suddenly makes it that much more attractive. Likewise, if something is difficult to possess, we value it more and want it more.
Create a sense of urgency for your customers. Sell limited-edition items. Offer one-time-only deals. Emphasize how quickly your calendar books up. The more difficult something is to possess, the more we want it.
(5) Justify with logic: People want to buy things but they often can’t justify the purchase. Consumers experience friction every step of the sales process – help smooth things over with logic.
Remember, people buy solutions to problems – demonstrate how your product or service makes lives easier and more pleasant. Showcase your expertise and provide information potential customers want to know. Educate people on the intrinsic value of your product to justify the cost in their minds.
(6) Give something away: Offer a free consultation, special report, or include a small gift with purchase. A small token of goodwill means a lot to your customers. Not only do they appreciate the gesture, but there’s a tad bit of guilt involved too. Ever wonder why non-profit organizations send address labels with your name printed on them? Because of reciprocation; they’re hoping you’ll feel a little guilty about the gift and compelled to donate in return.
(7) Use testimonials: Customer testimonials are effective because of Social Proof, which says that we determine what is correct by observing other people. If potential customers see you have a slew of satisfied customers, Social Proof tells them you’re a safe bet.
Follow up with customers post-purchase to see how they like your products or service. If you get a good quote, ask permission to use it as a testimonial. Happy customers are your best sales team, encourage them to spread the word too.
(8) Tell stories: Customers love to hear stories behind your business, your products, and how you’ve helped other people. Stories are powerful for two reasons: (1) they’re memorable and (2) they’re emotional. Stories help people connect with your brand.
(9) Talk benefits, not features: Have you heard the phrase, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak?” That’s a fancy way of saying, “Sell the benefits, not the features.” Too many businesses make the mistake of talking about the great features of their products, but never mention why anyone should care. Remember, your customers want solutions, so give it to them:
|20 years in the business||Extensive list of contacts|
|Downtown location||Easily accessible and high visibility|
|Made with titanium||Super tough yet lightweight|
|Made with Merino wool||Antimicrobial and breathable|
(10) Excellent customer service: You want repeat customers. Yes, it’s great to attract new ones, but it’s actually cheaper and easier to sell to returning customers.
How do you provide excellent customer service? Give each customer personal attention – make them feel unique. Ask questions and listen to their answers. Be reliable and responsive. Make returns and exchanges easy. Work quickly and efficiently. Most importantly, treat each customer as if they’re your mom – be courteous, respectful, and honest with your customers and they’ll reward you with repeat business.
Emily Worden – Entrepreneur, Business Strategist, Impossible Optimist – Cambridge, MA
Emily Worden is a Boston-based entrepreneur, consultant, and writer. She started her custom handbag business eThreads.com in 2006 while pursuing an MBA and working 3 jobs. After a particularly awful shift at her weekend catering gig, Emily threw down the apron and said, “Screw it, I’m going to do something I love!” She graduated in 2008 and quit everything to pursue eThreads full time. Emily started the cat lifestyle business Ferocious Friends in 2012 with her husband Case to satisfy the needs of their cats Lulu, Smoke and every feline around. She started her consulting business emilyworden.com in 2013 to assist other businesses with persuasive writing, strategic vision, and customer satisfaction.
Emily is an avid DIYer and loves making things with her hands. Her happy place is the library where she walks once a week; she’s always excited to learn something new. Her extra happy place is a great view of sunset with music pumping in her ears. Emily is grateful everyday for following her dreams and hopes to inspire others to do the same.