Is Selling an Art or a Science?
Have you ever wondered if selling is an art or a science? Talk to any successful sales leader and they’ll tell you that to succeed in sales, you’ll have to master a combination of both. Regardless of how sales was done in the past, science has proven that the brain uses specific patterns to make choices about various factors that are taken into consideration. To succeed in sales, mastering the art & science of selling means following a structured process while understanding the specific needs and problems of your customers.
Selling products usually involves following a methodically structured transactional process. Sales professionals will often learn from successful strategies that can be easily recreated and taught to anyone with even the slightest social skills. However, when it comes to selling services or digital technology, the selling process can be thought of as more artistic. This approach requires cultivating a deeper relationship with your clients to build trust, credibility, and loyalty.
Sales professionals who can creatively paint a compelling picture of their product’s unique benefits to the customer while adhering to a strategically structured sales process will gain the upper hand in selling. Mastering the art & science of selling requires sales professionals to balance a carefully crafted dance between structure and creativity.
A curious sales professional digs deep into a potential client and seeks to understand their issues and needs. Maintain curiosity with your customers and get creative with your questions to find out what their motivations and goals are. Sales professionals who can understand their customer’s business and their unique issues can paint a better picture of how their product or service can be the solution they need. The goal is to listen to the needs of the customer and present two or three options that are beneficial.
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Establish Anchor Points
In psychology, an anchoring bias in decision-making refers to the human tendency to rely entirely on one trait or bit of information when making decisions. Studies have shown that the brain uses anchors, creating a bias that shapes how information is received. Once an anchor is established, a person will become bias towards the value of that anchor.
As a sales professional, it’s your job to create anchors for potential customers. They tend to look at prices and determine if it’s fair or unfair based on the price of something similar (or dissimilar). Customers will also look at what they paid the last few times, what other quotes they received, and other such anchors. You should address pricing before revealing it by using comparison points.
Hone Your Presentation Skills
Whether you’re delivering a presentation along with a competitor or trying to figure out when to list features and benefits of your product, timing is everything. Those who sell more tend to know instinctively when to present their qualities or features. The challenge for most sales professionals is creating art from words and understanding when and how to say the right things to engage, entice, and persuade customers.
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Utilize Data and Technology to Your Advantage
Advancements in technology has changed the customers’ expectations and the sales process. Technology has allowed the customer and sales professionals to make fact-based decisions. It has long been understood that sales professionals have relied on traditional selling methods that have been documented and replicated with scientific accuracy. With the advent of digital technology, sales professionals are now equipped with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools, analytic software, and social media to gain a better understanding of their target customers.
Beware of Reactance
Reactance is a psychological principle that occurs when an individual feels that others are restricting their ability to freely choose and make decisions. Reactance is often triggered when an individual has an instinctive desire to rebel against a restrictive force.
Reactance has been known to shut down sales because of an uncomfortable sense of urgency that a sales person creates for their customers. Often times the pressure to buy is overwhelming and will force a customer to back out of the deal. To mitigate reactance, sales professionals should engage customers in a way that gives them the power to accept or decline decisions without any pressure.
Try using stories to distance the customer from the resistance and remember to create a meaningful relationship instead of pressuring customers to commit to a one-time sale.