Monday, 25 November 2013

Advanced Selling Skills: Stop Selling, Start Helping

Over the last decade sales training has moved forward considerably. It is however important to consider why this evolution has taken place. This has happened not necessarily due to more ‘sales techniques’ being developed, but actually due to the customer becoming more educated and powerful than ever before.

Advanced Selling Skills
Advanced Selling Skills

Gone are the days of the hard sell, or the deliberate 'mirroring technique' of the customer sales teams employed in order to get the customer/client to say ‘yes’.  Sales teams have to realise that they need to start helping customers in order to build repertoire and partnerships.

This may sound like common sense, yet old habits die hard and there are many sales people out there who are still using out-of-date selling techniques and forgetting that customer service is in fact key to successful sales.

Business goes where it is invited and it stays where it is looked after.

Think about any previous encounters you had with 'good sales people' and 'bad sales people', what were their common character traits?   Were they passionate?  Were they pushy or rude? Did they possess a good knowledge of the product or service you were interested in? Did they help you in any way or provide you with more information?

Although passion and product/service knowledge does help make a good sales person, the question being posed today is what makes a ‘great’ sales person?

A great sales person cares about you getting the most for your money, will happily take the time to really understand your needs and assist you with finding solutions for those particular needs. In Buddhism this is called ‘unselfish intention.’

A good sales person knows all the techniques to employ to get customers to say 'yes'.  A great sales person will have a pure ‘intention’ of the customer being completely satisfied in the purchase they have made or are about to make. Not only this, a great sales person understands that money has value and when the customer passes that money over, in return they need to gain a product or service that to the customer is worth more than the money they have spent.

These are the simple things which distinguishes between efficient and exceptional sales people and which will keep a customer returning over and over again.

Today, more than ever before companies need to hold on to the customers they already have as we are in an age where having the number one product or service doesn't necessarily equate trust or loyalty.  Even having a great brand doesn't ensure success.  We are dealing with more sophisticated buyers who want more for their money. And that ‘more’ comes in the form of the service when they pick up the phone to your company, the after care service when they have made their purchase and most importantly, the customer service they receive when making that all important decision to purchase from your sales person.  

Training your sales team to help/assist customers will significantly increase your customer base and retention. Here are a few quick pointers to think about when ‘helping’, not selling.
  • Have an intention to help the customer make the best decision for them, don’t just think about making the sale. Customers see ‘selfish’ sales people a mile off.
  • Remember, sales and customer service are becoming more and more aligned, so always go the extra mile to help your customers.
  • ‘When you educate your build rapport, when you sell you break it.’  People will buy when they understand so rather than just close the sale, keep informing and educating - see what difference it makes.
Capita Learning & Development offers an Advanced Selling Skills Training Course, which will introduce you to new selling skills and also help you cope with the changing demands of the customer.

Written by Pete Scott, a learning consultant at Capita Learning & Development.

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