Develop a powerful sales mindset with these 5 foundational principles.
If you are a salesperson then you might have come across a lot of tips and tricks throughout your career which were touted to you as “essential” for winning deals and impressing customers. But underneath them all there lies some foundational principles that have more to do with commanding the basic human interactions then with mastering any strategy, language, or technology.
Let’s take a look at five foundational principles or ways that will help you to build a powerful sales mindset, not just for acing sales but also for developing a well-rounded personality.
1. Have a strong belief in your product’s worthiness.
Sometimes, salespeople are not particularly enthusiastic about the product or the service that they are pitching. They may believe that the product they are selling does not stand out from its competitors, or does not have great features, or is not lucrative enough for their buyers. But one should know that a Ferrari might be the most sophisticated car ever built and a dream car for many, but most people are better-off driving a Ford or a Honda because these cars are built for a more relevant purpose of daily commuting, although they may lack the power and zing of a Ferrari.
Any product, ever produced in this world, has a particular value, suitability, and need that make it suitable for certain people, if not for everyone. Your job as a salesperson is to bridge the gap between your product and its suitable buyers. A strong belief in the worthiness of your product will impart the much-needed conviction to your sales pitch that has the potential to impress any suitable buyer. Only through this belief, you can genuinely affirm to yourself that you are helping a buyer solve a problem and not manipulating their sentiments to sell them a less-than-ideal product.
Apart from this, you should have an in-depth knowledge of the product or the service you are selling. Researching the market and knowing where your product stands and which niche it caters to is a prerequisite for an effective sales strategy.
2. Adopt active listening in your interactions.
Most sellers have a script and a bulleted list of features that they want to dump on their prospects in the first few minutes of the interaction in the hope of bedazzling them with the sheer number of features and benefits. But that doesn’t work, most of the time. Sometimes only one or two features are enough to grab the attention of your prospect. And to know those few key attention-grabbing details, that your prospect might be interested in knowing, you have to first listen to your prospects.
Most salespeople know this already. They know that they need to ask questions that can reveal a prospect’s pain points. But how many of them really give them suitable answers instead of picking out one of the ready-responses from their list? Most often the responses in a sales script are crafted, through keyword identification, with the purpose of leading the prospect to the next stage of buying. This can feel coercive to the potential buyer and it also skips the essential step of trust-building which is required for making big sales and is pivotal in customer retention.
Some of the techniques like – taking notes, paraphrasing what you hear, and sprinkling the conversation with appealing responses like “Absolutely” or “I can relate to that” rather than the boring “yes” or “hmm” are some of the techniques that you can use to keep your prospect engaged. This kind of active listening is helpful in honing in on the prospect’s needs, establishing a genuine connection, and making a lasting impression.
3. Dig into psychology and know what makes people tick.
All your prospects are, after all, human beings with certain likes, dislikes, and prejudices. By learning some psychological techniques you can alleviate their apprehensions and nudge them closer to making a deal.
Treat your prospects like humans. Neither pedestalize them nor alienate them. Soliciting too hard always makes people suspicious. Similarly, not showing enough care turns them off. Be helpful in your approach. Show them just the right amount of care and interest and always make them feel in charge. People like to buy, not get sold to.
Don’t over-explain things. A product’s value is not solely decided by its cutting-edge features, it’s also decided through its utility and perceived eminence. For example – brands like Apple never prioritize the hardware specs of their products in the ads. Very few iPhone users even know/care about the amount of RAM in their mobiles and yet they swear by its performance.
Ease their decision-making by restricting the number of choices you give them. More is not always merrier. In fact, choosing from many different configurations of a product or service can lead to postponement of the actual buying. Shortlist the most suitable choices beforehand and present to them only those few.
Employ the principle of loss aversion. Sometimes “the fear of losing out” can be a bigger motivator than “the charm of winning big.” So, instead of telling just the benefits of your product, tell your prospects what they are missing out on by not using your product. Mix it with some time-limited offers and you can even get your prospect’s heart racing.
4. Don’t get swayed by data and technology.
Data helps us immensely in profiling the prospects and filtering out the low-quality leads, but over-dependence on data and technology can keep you away from big wins. All the predictions and analyses that are generated by data-crunching are based on the processing of the past data. It is good for finding out what works (and has worked), but it can also restrict you to follow a fixed approach. Sometimes you have to trust your gut instincts and ignore the metrics. You may surprise yourself with some big sales.
Similarly, use the technology or tools as facilitators of your sales strategy, not their influencers. Don’t constrict yourself by aligning your sales approach as per the workflow of your CRMs or tools. A standardized workflow that might have worked for many companies is not guaranteed to work for you too.
The truly creative and innovative breakthroughs always come from human minds. Hence, use data and technology for course correction, not for course planning.
5. Read more to sell more.
Reading might be the best personality-development practice that you can adopt, not just for making more sales but for enriching your life. Ironically, for a job like sales, reading is not recommended enough by sales trainers.
When you are reading a book you are witnessing the most effective techniques of communication laid out in front of you in a seamless fashion. A book starts off by proposing a central idea which it then reinforces with supporting data and reasoning in subsequent chapters. Real-life anecdotes and scenarios are added to impart weightage to the idea. And then, it ends it all with a satisfying conclusion and maybe a call to action. It achieves all that with just one-way communication. Now imagine what you can achieve by employing these tactics in two-way communication.
Reading more and reading better books will increase your functional vocabulary. It will help you in formulating compelling proposals and generating innovative ideas. It widens your perspective, makes you compassionate, and empowers you to express yourselves better – which are all the traits of a great salesperson.
In Conclusion –
Selling does not have to be manipulative or coercive at all. Think it of as an activity where you are providing a valuable service to those people who are in search of a solution. By cultivating a healthy attitude towards sales and incorporating the above principles in your work, you can develop a powerful sales mindset that will help not only you but also your customers.