A lot has been thought, written, and said about Sales, but there are limited examples of proven sales techniques.
- How can you read the mind of a customer?
- What guidelines and framework can enable a quick, profitable sale?
- Is it ok to let a lead go cold? Is pricing really all about cost plus margin?
- How to manage the umpteen reasons for delay or to avoid a sale?
- Ultimately, who is buying your product/ service and how are they making their decision?
I had the privilege of attending a 2 day workshop on “Effective Sales Technique” organized by HEN India and facilitated by Mr. Subramanian Chandramouli. The workshop not only addressed the above said questions but also provided insightful tips and tricks for easy implementation.
The key takeaway and what I will refer to as – “The default : Sales is all about them!”
Call it a battle cry, a mantra or a talisman, this simple omnipotent statement is not new but the course of action it invokes is a whole new playing field. Sales isn’t about you, your services or product rather it is all about the value add it brings to the customer from his/her perspective.
Whenever you feel you aren’t making progress, switch to the default mode and revisit your thought process. Like Mr. Subramanian said Sales is a profession of rejection and it is always good to leave your ego behind. In case you forget or feel lost, recalibrate your efforts through this mantra!
The workshop encompassed several other modules and I have put together my list – “The learning”
- The art of asking questions – A good sales person is only as good as the information s/he has about their customer. Preparation for any meeting is paramount however, not every detail is available online and there could be few hidden truths which can only be exposed by digging deeper. By asking questions, not only do you establish credibility but also discover unseen business opportunities. Asking questions is also a sound technique to increase scope or change the game which in turn helps create a greater business opportunity.
- Pricing for profit – Our education system has ingrained in our minds that premium pricing is equivalent to cheating. It’s all about perceived value and a salesperson needn’t shy away from pricing accordingly. Having a few steady sustaining customers and few high value customers allows for a better focus and pricing experimentation.
- Follow up –We might follow up once, twice or thrice even before “EGO” kicks-in. We usually don’t persevere and eventually lose out. A valid follow up includes facts and figures which add value to customer. After all there are only so many ways one can say no and being on someone’s mind opens up closed doors.
- Different types of buyers – An extremely important lesson and an effective guide on how to identify the kind of buyer you are dealing with via personality traits. Another simple tip, mirror your customer if they like socializing, you do too. If you are analytical and expect your customer to behave in the same way then you are barking up the wrong tree! Understanding buyer roles while dealing with multiple stakeholders also helps you prepare and address customer concerns.
- Handling objections – Ever heard phrases like “your price is too high”, “I am already working with vendor xx”, “I am not the right person to make this decision”,” I don’t understand how your product would help me”. Well, all these and many more such doubts can be managed if you address the underlying cause of worry ex. Talk about the value add you bring, understand what is working or not working with the other vendor, so on and so forth. The art of asking questions will come handy here again.
- Closing – So you did walk the talk and you have a customer, but it is equally important to bring the deal to a closure. Asking about next steps or a silent question can bring out any objections that a customer might have in their mind. There are several other techniques which can be used as well.
Personally, it’s been a week since I underwent this training and I have started to ask more questions and even attempted changing the game, both of which have led to establishing credibility and a positive change in scope of work.
In summary, though not exhaustive, these lessons are a gist of the insightful, interactive, and practical 2 day workshop on sales techniques. Mr. Subramanian was extremely patient and addressed all our questions in depth. A lot of the content delivery was through role plays and exercises which increased the fun quotient. Special mention to all the participants who shared their own experiences both good and bad which made the sessions even more enlightening.
Thanks HEN India and thank you Subbu Sir, you have changed the way I do Sales, for sure.