3 Sales Principles Which More Than Doubled My Closing Rate
Having realised them sooner would’ve sent my business into a very different trajectory.
Sales equal money. Without sales, a business isn’t a business. It’s a black hole sucking up time and resources.
I’ve worked in many sales capacities in my own business and as an employee. I’ve sold products, services, my own time and other peoples time, but I’ve always been hit and miss with it. Some days, I was on fire and some days I couldn’t sell a thing. Some days, I was raring to go and some I just couldn’t be bothered to leave the house. I thought I was just moody (and I was, to be fair), but it was more than that.
Sales really have to do with one thing. Influence.
I could sell what I truly believed in, what I would buy myself. Even then there were many, many times where I couldn’t persuade the prospect to buy, despite my belief in what I was selling.
I learnt all that was really required was a shift in perception, as with anything in life. As such, three main themes persist, and (I realised, at least) these themes are key to selling effectively.
1. Sales is Seduction. Seduction is Sales.
Seduction requires the identifying of a person's needs, creating rapport, trust and then fulfilling that need.
Sales is seduction with a different focus. In seduction, you’re selling how you can uniquely fulfil another person's needs. In sales, you’re selling whatever you happen to be selling which can fill your prospects needs, but it’s still You that they’re buying from. In essence, you’re still selling yourself.
Your prospect is buying from you and you still need to understand their needs. They need to trust you enough that you have their best interests at heart and you’re going to help them reach their goals.
The best way of doing this is to first ask questions and actively listen. What are their main challenges? How can they progress most quickly and effectively? What is their vision? Armed with this knowledge you’ll be able to see where their needs lie and how you can help them achieve their vision with what you’re offering.
You’re still maintaining the same principles as seduction. You’re identifying a need, creating rapport then fulfilling that need with your offer. It’s also possible to create a need. One way of doing this is to make what you’re selling desirable by indirectly showing how brilliant it’s been for other prospects.
You can also seduce/sell to the masses. This requires the finding of collective need. What are the needs of your specific target market and how does what you’re selling help them?
The benefit of selling to a group of people is social proof. If you can make your product desirable to a few people in the group, social proof will kick in and make it much more likely others will also want it. Careful though, it can work the other way as well; if what you’re selling isn’t liked then social proof may actively work against you.
2. The Perception of Value
When selling there was a common fallacy I would often fall into;
How much would I pay for this myself?
I thought this was the ultimate test. If I would buy this product or service then it has value and I can sell it to anyone. This was my biggest error in sales.
It all boils back down to that one word I mentioned many times above.
Just because I don’t need something doesn’t mean someone else won't. Just because I find value in something doesn’t mean it has value for someone else. When I buy a bottle of water I usually don’t pay more than £1. If I’m in the middle of London with my throat parched from the dry, polluted air I might shell out £2.50 for that same bottle of water. If I was in the Sahara Desert for 2 days with no sustenance or civilisation in sight, I’ll pay £100 or whatever I can possibly give for that same bottle of water.
‘Losers try to convince people they’re thirsty, Winners sell ice water in the desert’
Value exists inside the mind of the individual. It’s driven by need. Identify that need and position yourself to easily fill it.
Or, in more familiar terms, value is driven by demand and supply. Demand here comes first because supply fulfils demand. What is the individual’s demand for what you sell and do they perceive the supply as abundant or scarce?
The more they need what you sell, the scarcer they perceive the supply to be, the more value it will hold in their minds. Your own perception of its value becomes almost irrelevant because you’re not the one buying it.
3. The Buyer Isn’t Suffering A Cost; They’re Making An Investment
All sales is a practice in persuasion; an exercise in influence.
As such, the concepts of need and value exist in the mind, as does the notion of cost. If someone buys what you’re selling, they’ll be paying you money for what you give them.
Whether they perceive this as a cost to them is up to you.
There’s a big difference between the notions of cost and investment.
A cost is something you bear the burden of. An investment is something you exchange resources for that’ll improve your life in the future. The investment gives back to you, the cost does not.
If you spend £500 on a few new wardrobes you can either perceive it as a cost and a minus to your bank balance, or an investment into the organisation of your home. A toothbrush is an investment into your continued fresh breath. An investment of $20,000 into your own business is an investment into your future bank balance.
The difference between cost and investment exists only in the mind. Only in the perception of the individual, but individual perception is everything when it comes to selling.
In all scenarios, the facts are the same. What matters is how your buyer perceives what you offer. It’s also very important for you to see what you’re selling as an investment to the buyer. As long as you do the buyer will also see it as an investment, and importantly, not a cost.
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘sell the benefits of a product, not the features’. Convey how the buyer's life will be improved by their decision to buy from you. Show them how their investment into you will bring them much more value than the money they’re paying for it.