What are you selling? If you're already rambling about the benefits and features of your specific product, STOP RIGHT THERE! You're getting way ahead of yourself. Think of all the things you sell before your product or service. There are many fundamental things that must happen before an actual sale is made:
Chances are you will have to go through most, if not all, of these steps with your prospect before they will seriously consider purchasing your product. All of these fundamental things can either be a step towards that wonderful sale, or a devastating roadblock. If you get stuck at one, you may never make it to the sale. You must see the sale as a broad picture and understand exactly where you are in its progress at any given time. You must have a clear objective of where you want to go and understand the motives that will make your prospect want to take the next step with you.
Sell your way from one point to the next
“Selling your way” to the next step doesn't mean pushing your product on your prospect at the initial contact and not stopping for a breath of air until they decide to buy. That kind of pushiness will only make your prospect want to avoid you. You are only selling your way to the next point, not to the actual finish line . If you are only trying to get information from a gatekeeper, then sell them on giving you that information! If you are trying to set up an appointment, then sell the appointment! If you are trying to get your prospect to try your product, then sell the trial! Sell only what you need to sell to get you to your specific objective.
Know what motivates your prospect to take the next step
It's more important to learn why customers buy than how salespeople sell. Knowing an individual's specific motives is the key to creating a personalized approach. This will keep them interested in what you have to say and encourage them to follow your lead, taking them closer and closer to that sale. Get as much information as you can about the company, people and the SPECIFIC application of your product. Knowing your customers well will result in the understanding of why and how they would buy your product.
Different steps mean different motives
Being in tune to your customer's motives means knowing what will motivate them at different points in the sales process.
For example, what motivates a person to listen to your presentation is different than what may motivate them to test your product. Let's say that you are selling copiers, and you are correctly starting at the top of the organization by speaking with the CEO. Perhaps you left them a creative voicemail or an informative fax with ways to increase productivity. These may interest and motivate them to give you ten minutes of their time for a presentation. However, it may not motivate them to go through the time and effort of actually testing your product.
Different people mean different motives
Keep in mind that what motivates your prospect may also depend on their specific role or position within their company.
Trying to sell a copier to the CEO of a company (who rarely makes their own copies) is very different from selling it to someone who works in the front office (who has to continuously make copies). Chances are the CEO will be less impressed with the copier's easy to use features and incredible speed. They will probably be more interested in its contribution to profitability and productiveness. Those who use the copier will probably appreciate the specific features more and will have the emotional desire to buy it. If the CEO is the decision maker, it is very wise for you to start there, because that person has the authority to actually purchase your product. However, that doesn't mean that you should neglect the others in the company. The best way to use their motives to your advantage is to combine them! Suggest an appointment with the CEO and those who would frequently use your product. Addressing all of their needs and motives will stir up the excitement and emotion you're looking for and combine the desire for the purchase with the authority to buy it! The only way to get closer to the sale is to know where you currently are in the sales process. Knowing where you stand helps you define a clear objective to get to the next step and helps you discover what will motivate your prospect to follow. By motivating them to take that next step, you will be leading them closer and closer to the sale!
Tom Richard is the author of a weekly ezine on selling skills. To subscribe to this free ezine send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org