How to develop your selling
Kirjoittanut: Linnea Melotindos - tiimistä Crevio.
How to develop your selling
First of all, you have to know what is selling.
Selling is a transaction where a good or a service is being exchanged for money. During a sales negotiation, the seller attempts to convince or “sell” the buyer on the benefits of their offer.
There are few examples of selling and here are four of them; B2B, D2D, cold calling and personal selling. Now you might ask what does b2b and d2d mean.
Business to business (B2B) sales are transactions between two businesses rather than between a business and an individual consumer for the consumer’s personal use. B2B sales are characterized by larger transaction amounts, more educated buyers, a multistakeholder approval process and thus a longer sales cycle. Usually, the biggest sales happen in business to business, but there are a couple of exceptions when there have been very large sales in personal selling also. (Gartner 2023.)
Door-to-door sales (otherwise known as D2D sales) is an in-person sales method used for the exact purpose of sales, marketing, advertising, and campaigning. In door-to-door sales, sales reps visit prospects and customers at their homes or offices in an attempt to sell products or services. In Finland door to door selling is nowadays quite unusual. Only a few companies still use door to door selling: A company called red cross (punainen risti) is one of the only companies that still does door to door selling. (Kelwig 2022.)
Now you know what b2b and d2d sales are. Next, we’ll talk about the other ways more specifically.
Cold calling is a form of sales solicitation from businesses to customers who are not previously associated with the salesperson making the call. It generally refers to phone-based conversations (hence cold calling) but technically covers in-person door-to-door interactions, too. Cold calling carries a bad reputation, but it can help your business when done right. In Finland many people are afraid of salespersons in the phone, even though you would get better offers there than in the store. (Kelwig 2022.)
Cold calling is not a very popular way to make sales among salespeople, but it could be referred to art. A great salesman can book meetings and sell different products to customers very effectively, because the hardest thig that could happen is a negative answer. Therefore, there is really no need to be scared about cold calling.
Personal selling is also known as face-to-face selling in which the person who is the salesman tries to convince the customer in buying a product. It is a promotional method where the salesperson uses his or her skills and abilities in an attempt to make a sale. Personal selling is most common in stores where the customer will make a larger purchase such as car shops, electronic stores and furniture stores. We think that personal selling differs from other ways of selling by focusing on introducing the product rather than selling it. (The economic times.)
Now you know different ways to sell, and next we will focus more on how to develop your selling skills in general.
Find your target audience!
Selling immediately becomes easier and more joyful when you know the right target audience. To get a better understanding of what target audience means we must first find the understanding of the project. A large part of sales is about finding a need in a customer which they do not even know they will need. Depending on the product or service the target buyers can be split into categories such as age, gender, location, interest, and income to name a few. In many products or services, the target buyers can fall in a gap in the market. When the right audience has been found it is all about marketing and finding the right tools to lure them into buying one’s product. Finding the right tools to market will be beneficial in the future.
Your target audience is not your target market. Your target market is who your product or your service is intended for. Your target audience, on the other hand, is the specific group of people within your target market that your marketing is trying to reach. (Clark-Keane 2022) Usually businesses have target audiences more than one in their target market. At the end the power is in marketing and having a planned strategy.
The personality type of the customer
It is also very important to know the personality type of your customer. Whether they are an emotional buyer or a more facts-oriented customer. Every possible buyer has a distinct personality type and buying decision behavior. Cultural traditions, race, and social status influence an individual’s decisions and actions. (Compass offices, 2017)
It is important to match the energy of the customer and to be positive during your sales opportunity.
There are 4 main personality types in customers which are the analytical, the amiable, the expressive and the driver. Each of these customer types function differently. We will go briefly through them and how to handle these types of customers.
People with this type of personality will look for facts and figures in a sales presentation. They will look deep into the product/ service before making any decision of buying. These types of customers will use a lot of their logical thinking when making decisions rather than using their emotional side. They usually look for more details and for reassurance of the brands quality and efficiency.
Focus on providing information on what your company can do for them. You need to be very specific and direct while making your pitch. Be very specific on the small details since these types of people have an eye for detail and use statistical data that shows exact representations of facts to attract attention and spark the interest. (Compass offices,2017). Remember to be patient because the analytical buyers tend to take more time in decision making.
The amiable customers are social, reliable and respectful. They are very great at listening and making social connections. They are focused more in the social aspect of the sales process, they are paying close attention to if you are meeting their requirements in establishing trust and building relationships. The amiable people are slow at decision making.
You should aim to make yourself likable with recognizing their presence and by being polite to the customer. Remember to smile. If you are asking questions from them during you pitch it shows to them that you care, and it makes them feel valued. This will help you to build trust and a relationship with them. Provide them with relevant questions that allow them to share their previous experiences. Address their needs with solutions of new possible ways for you to make more sales. You can also introduce some of your coworkers to help in decision making.
People with the expressive personality type tend to use most of their creative side in sales situations. They want to express their own opinion and experience in a certain topic rather than ask for more additional information. However, they are polite since they want to show respect as much that they want to be respected. These types of people give importance to relationships like the amiable customer type. Unlike the amiable and the analytical type of customers people with the expressive personality type are very quick at making decisions.
During the sales pitch tell relevant stories to each individual based on their needs. You can also talk about your personal experiences to deepen the customers understanding of the product/service. Focus on showing what can your business provide for them and highlight the positive outcome. Connect with them and establish a deeper connection with them by making use of their emotions. While data and other facts might help during the sales process these types of buyers are more focused on making rewarding decisions that other people will love.
People with this personality type are very self-oriented and opinionated. They will want to manipulate your pitch to make them seem very authoritative and reasonable. Drivers expect to receive information quickly and efficiently since they are very goal oriented. They are commanding in nature and expect immediate answers and solutions. The drivers are also fast at making decisions. They value competence as much as preparation and expertise.
With these types of customers get straight to the point, lay good arguments to the table and be well prepared to answer and to know how to quickly get answers politely. Don’t mention any irrelevant information because it will only waste both of your time. Make sure to highlight how your company can help them reach their goals and stand out from the competition.
As you can see, these personality types differ from each other quite a bit. The key point to take away from this is that it is important to be flexible and to suspend. Knowing these 4 different personality types will give you a great idea of which type of customer you are interacting with. Situations can change and often they do, so you should always be ready for changing your plan. Quick thinking and flexibility are great assets to a salesperson.
When you find your target audience, then you must understand the customer’s problem and give the best solution possible – with a good number of additional services/products. That’s why problem-solving skills are one of the most effective ways to do sales. Also, problem-solving gives customers a professional feel about you and the next time she/he has some problem, they will come to you to ask for help. That’s how you make it profitable in the long run too. And remember that mouth to mouth reputation is very important and effective. So, you don’t want to lose your reputation for being a jerk and not listening to the customer’s needs by only offering your highest provision products to get a bigger paycheck for yourself. This will stick very vividly to the minds of people. The reputation is easy to lose and very difficult to get back. Negative feedback travels far and usually the positive feedback is not so interesting for gossip. It is quite often forgotten.
Overcoming the fear of selling
Everyone has doors and if you knock on those doors, they open. They can bring incredible blessings. But most of us never knock, because we’re scared. Those doors could bring you sales. They can bring you funding. They could bring you advice, connections, publicity. But you do not go and knock on them, and do you know why? Convinced it is because we have a giant misconception of what it means to sell. It is a dirty word. People think it is manipulative or something like that. (Harrison 2018)
When selling it should not be a secret that one is selling a product or service to the customer. A lot of people have a fear of selling, maybe it stems from not wanting to be perceived as pushy, or there might be a mental barrier with not knowing what to say or how to approach possible customers. If selling and sales situations feel uncomfortable and not in your comfort zone, then the best way to get rid of that fear is to step out of the comfort zone and start doing it. The best way to learn and improve is by doing.
As stated, before it should not be a secret that someone is selling a product or a service. It is not a fact that you should try to hide, people are experiencing sales constantly in their everyday lives, whether it’s their spouse wanting to go to eat or their friends telling a story. Looking from an entrepreneur’s angle the only way to get money is by constantly selling your products or services. It is an important part of being an entrepreneur. To say the least is to be comfortable in one’s uncomfortable zone. It is a cliché, but practice makes perfect, and a person is allowed to make mistakes. Mistakes are a sign of a humanity.
Everyone can benefit from sales skills. In fact, you are using different sales skills in everyday life, when you are telling a story to your friends or convincing your special someone to go and eat out at that amazing Italian restaurant. Sales is briefly about wanting something and convincing others on why you should get it. With great sales skills you can negotiate a raise, get your colleagues to buy-in on a project and even without being a salesperson sales skills determine how successful you are in your career, your life I general your relationships.
Knowing how to sell is not a dirty secret, it’s an enormous advantage in any endeavor. (Ramanauskas 2017).
Effective salespeople shine at public speaking, social psychology, active listening, communication and a lot of other things besides closing and negotiation. When you dedicate your time and effort in becoming better at these aspects of your skills you will become closer to a future where your highest ambitions will become a reality. Sales skills are the most powerful skill you can gather for yourself.
You should aim to change your perception of selling. In the past salespeople have had a very negative way of selling to customers. Vytautas had a great example he told “Picture Jordan Belfort, the legendary Wolf of Wall Street, so ingeniously brought to life by Leonardo DiCaprio, selling worthless penny stocks to unsuspecting customers and making millions on their backs.” this is a great example of a dishonest, arrogant, self-serving cliché of a salesman. Previously salesmen have got far by pushing their products and being very arrogant. This image of an unpleasant salesman is very vividly in our heads, and it is holding many people back from experiencing sales. However, this is not what real sales are and modern way of selling couldn’t be further from this.
Modern sales are not about putting pressure on your client. Selling is a lot more consultative and demand generative process where the salesperson is first and foremost a great active listener whose job is to bring ideas and find the solutions together with the customer. The customer should always feel that they are heard.
Sales evolution has come a long way, we have had so many different ways to get near the customer. Now in digital time social media marketing is in very big stage. Most of the sales that people are making is being affected by social media. The importance of advertising has never been as important and in such a big role as it is in today’s world.
Put yourself in buyer´s shoes!
When trying to sale a product or a service it is important to create a need to the customer, the need might be something that they don’t know that they need it. The idea is that you put yourself in the customer’s position and see the situation through their eyes. It is a good advice for those who have customer-facing responsibilities. (Hyken 2019) This makes it easier to understand the customer and the needs they have, which in the longer run helps the seller to sale their product or service. When the seller shows understanding towards the customer the customer gets a safer feeling.
Something to think of when putting one’s mind to the mind of the customer is there any needs that have changed as of late, and if so, how would the seller fill them. A good salesperson is a good listener as well, because one has to find the needs and they why of finding them is by communicating with the customer, and asking questions that are needed. Also, having the knowledge of who your buyers are and where to find them.
Think of the word cold calling, doesn’t it sound very frightening and uncomfortable at the same time? What is cold calling it is calling potential customers that have never interacted with. Why is it so beneficial then, as a relative new salesperson it is a very good way of practicing your pitch and gives the change to be more comfortable with the product or service you are selling. When cold calling others it gains feedback from the potential customers on what to improve in. Feedback is one of the elements to good development.
What to take into consideration when cold calling, before doing any calls the most important thing is to prepare in advantage for example the day before calling send an email to the company that shows professionality, have a strong strategy when entering the calling zone, it has a big impact on how you start your call be energetic and show good attitude the will have a positive effect in the sales, find targets help the salesperson, and have in mind that sales is helping the customer. To get a better understanding of a cold call the worst thing that can happen is that the buyer or the customer says NO, life still goes on after that.
Closing the deal is the hardest part of selling. Lot of deals fails, because of lack of skills in closing. Usually, you can find the reason of way the salesman talk. In closing you should think how you’ll lead the client to buy the product with using specific words and sentences. What you have to understand is that it’s not a secret that you’re selling something.
There are some key points you should know and avoid. A good salesman can show their confidence by how they talk, and it gives to client a safe feeling to buy something.
When you believe your product and you have done good research about the similar products, you can faster answer to objections which shows that you know what you are talking about. In selling you should avoid using words and sentences which includes “do you want, if you want, maybe you can, think about it etc.”. It only shows to your customer that you’re also very unsure if it’s a good deal to her/him. (Pitkänen 2023.)
We gathered 7 things that you should remember when closing the deal.
- Influence by suggestion yourself up to win.
(Remember that every client is a new chance to get a deal.)
- Spread your enthusiasm!
(A good salesman is honestly interested about the product that she/he is selling.)
- Ask for the deal, many times.
(Don’t be afraid to offer the deal and keep doing it gently all the time.)
- Turn objections to deals.
(When you know your product, you can discuss better with the client and convince that it will improve her/his life.)
- Keep your mouth shut.
(When you have said the closing sentence, be silent and let the client think and do the decision in a peace.)
- Show the client what to do next, especially in B2B selling.
(Offer the contract paper with a pen and show where to signature.)
- Analyze the deal making situation afterwards and develop from your mistakes.
(Every time analyze what went well and where you can do better at next time.)
To sum up everything that has been stated so far, selling is the most important skill to learn, it is an ongoing development, and one can never get too good at selling. Selling is like art because the particular reason for the circumstance is it requires the salesperson to influence the buying decisions of the customer. This actively demonstrates that it is important to listen to the customer and match their energy, good sales start from a great attitude.
It is important to be flexible and to have a plan a, b, c, d, e and f ready.
As an entrepreneur selling is where one gets one’s money from, and sales can be done in many ways. Selling can be made easier when having a strategy and executing it, but you should also be willing to change the strategy rapidly if it does not go in the wanted way. The actual development happens when one is outside of the comfort zone and when you are ready to break barriers.
Entrepreneurship & Team leadership
Kasperi Pitkänen, Linnea Melotindos & Janette Heikkinen
Gartner Glossary, 2023. https://www.gartner.com/en/sales/glossary/business-to-business-b2b-sales
Clark-Keane, (2022, September 8). How to find your target audience in 5 steps
Harrison, ( 2018, January 25) How to sell without selling your soul
Hyken, (2019, July 18) Overcome Business Challenges: Take a walk in the customer’s shoes
Ramanauskas, V. (2017, September 12). How to improve your sales skills, even if you’re not a salesperson. Medium. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from https://medium.com/@Ramanauskas/how-to-improve-your-sales-skills-even-if-youre-not-a-salesperson-591b7289481b
4 customer personality types and how to handle them (2017) Compass Offices. Available at: https://www.compassoffices.com/en/about-us/blogs/4-customer-personality-types-how-to-handle-them/(Accessed: April 11, 2023).
How to sell PowerPoint, Pitkänen 2023.