No matter what you are selling, every sales cycle has 3 points in common. These ‘sink or swim’ points define the success or failure of that sale; and every salesperson needs to be able to recognise to control those moments.
- The Point of Value Creation
Creating a differentiation between the products or services that you are trying to sell and those sold by your competitors is the first key point in any sales cycle.
In the past, traditional sales methods have stuck to the approach of directly comparing your own product to a similar product of your competitor, using attractive looking metrics and statistics to help the buyer visualise the difference.
However, in an age when buyers are becoming much more savvy and doing their own research, you will find that customers are much more sceptical. They aren’t receptive to these direct comparisons, as they know that this approach is taken in an attempt to sway them and therefore you aren’t going to show them all the comparisons that make your product come off worse.
What you need to do is tackle what behavioural experts call “status quo bias”. This refers to the buyer’s reluctance to change. They want to stay the same because nothing severe has happened that would make them need to change, so they are happy to stay as they are.
You need to demonstrate why the buyer actually does need to change and why staying the same is no longer the best option.
- The Point of Justification
So you have showed why your product or service is different from the rest and begun to create the sense of need for what you are offering.
Now you need to justify why the need and benefits of the product outweigh the cost.
To be able to do this, you need to have a deep understanding of the target customer; an empathy towards their wants, needs, expectations and fears. Use these to drive the justification by reassuring their fears, surpassing their expectations and emphasising how well the product/service fulfils their wants and needs.
- The Point of Conversion
So you’ve created value and shown how what you’re selling differs from the rest. You’ve justified the purchase by emphasising with the customer on a personal and emotional level. Now all that is left is to make the sale.
This can be the hardest point of all, as despite all your efforts the customer may still waver on particular points. The most common point that customers waver on is price. That is where the end-stage negotiations come in.
Most customers are savvy enough to know that in most sales situations the first price given is not the price they have to pay. Today’s customer has come to expect discounts, freebies and more for their money. Be prepared to know your limit for discounts and extra offerings to ensure you make the sale without detriment to the company’s bottom line.
Are you looking to further develop your sales and marketing skills and knowledge, and progress your career? Have you considered an Institute of Sales and Marketing Management qualification?