Many business problems can be fixed by doing one thing better. That one thing is simple; increase sales. Notice I said simple, not easy.
Marketing specialist and an original Apple employee Guy Kawasaki has gone as far as to say “sales fixes everything.” While sales cannot solve every business problem, it helps ease the stress and strain of growing a business.
When it comes to selling products or services, many different closing techniques could potentially seal the deal. This article list six different sales techniques that you can use to close deals and get more sales. But before we go into the sales techniques you should be using, let’s take a look at a few common sales tactics you should abandon immediately.
What not to do: Sales tactics to avoid or abandon
Before you start implementing proven sales techniques, you should first check to see if there are any bad sales habits that you are using that need to be avoided. There are endless numbers of bad sales tactics (we will be publishing an article soon on many of them. We also have a post on some of the things you should avoid during a sales pitch, but we will introduce a few of the most common that derail sales for now.
Overselling means that you are exaggerating or over-hyping your product or your business. It can also mean that all you are doing is selling when you connect with your customers via phone calls, social media, or email marketing. Overselling can exhaust your potential customers and clients. Overselling is perceived as a sign of desperation or spammy, and no one wants to purchase from a brand that is either desperate or inconsiderate.
Talking too much; listening to little
Everyone wants to be heard, but most people do not like to listen. Those with something to sell are no different. Learn to be a good listener, and you will not only understand the customer better, but you will increase your likelihood of closing the sale.
Focusing on product, not on solution
Focusing on the product instead of the solution means that the salesperson is talking about how great the product is rather than the problem the product will solve. It doesn’t matter how great you believe you or your product are; if the customer does not see the benefit, they will not buy.
Not being transparent, “I just want to go to lunch and talk.”
Nobody likes being blindsided by a sales pitch, especially when the meeting or phone call is supposed to be personal and not business. Trying to close a sale by luring a client or customer under false pretenses is one of the quickest ways to lose that sale. Whether you’re offering to meet for a cup of coffee or if your “more info” link leads to a checkout page, tricking your way to a sale will almost always guarantee the loss of repeat sales.
Pushy/ Pushing too hard
Pushing too hard means that you are badgering your customers until they give in and buy your product. This tactic was popular in the past few decades when consumers were less informed. With customers having more information about their options, we see less of this on retail businesses’ sales floors. This doesn’t mean that this tactic is extinct. You can still see many misguided businesses, entrepreneurs, and salespeople practicing this tactic with hounding emails and DM’s.
6 Best Sales Techniques You Should Be Using
Now that you’ve got a good idea of what bad sales tactics look like, here are some techniques you can use to help increase sales.
1. Assumptive Close
One technique, known as the assumptive close, is utilized when a salesperson intentionally acts as though the customer they are trying to sell something to has already said yes to whatever it is. For example, imagine that a salesperson is trying to sell a couch to a customer. They may say something along the lines of, “When should I have the couch delivered to you? Next week would work best.” If the customer was on the fence and not entirely sold yet, this direct phrasing may just be the tipping point to close the deal, which is why it is a widely used technique.
2. The Puppy Dog Close
Another technique, called the puppy dog close, is also prevalent. The name comes from the notion that pet store owners will utilize this technique to sell puppies by letting questioning families take a new puppy home for a few days to see how things go, with the peace of mind that they can bring the dog back for a full refund if they are not completely satisfied.
Of course, rarely do these people not fall in love with their brand new, adorable puppy, so the store owners are eager to utilize the technique. The puppy dog close is not just used at pet stores, however. It could be beneficial to let people try out a product or service for a few days in many different companies.
The puppy dog close is similar to the money-back guarantee where the risk of losing out and being unsatisfied with their purchase is minimized for the customer. Keep in mind, just like a cute puppy, your product has to be something your customer wants to keep. Most people will return the dog if it is tearing up their home and biting every family member.
3. The Hard Close
The hard close is a straightforward and black-and-white method of communicating with potential customers. With the hard close, the seller usually is very blunt in their delivery and addresses their customers with questions such as “Are you going to buy this today?”
Or they could make statements like “This deal ends at the end of the week, and the price will go back to $300 on the 3rd.” While it may be more direct than some are used to, it could also prove beneficial to get straight to the point.
This method is an excellent technique because it creates transparency and doesn’t leave a lot of ambiguity about the customer’s buying intentions. The hard close is great since you do not want to continue trying to sell to someone who has no intention of buying.
4. The Takeaway Close
The takeaway close is a highly effective closing technique because it hinges on the notion that people want what they cannot have-or think that they cannot have. The takeaway close involves removing items from a deal or ending negotiations altogether.
This technique will help get your “maybe” turned into “yes or no.” Using the takeaway close, you are essentially taking something off of the table to force the prospect into making a decision about the sale. The takeaway close could save you hours because you will no longer need to follow up multiple times with a prospect who is on the fence.
Letting your prospects know that they will no longer receive deals in their emails or voicemails about your previous conversations will stop your prospects’ procrastination habits. You will find that many people are not buying just because they have the luxury of stringing you along.
The takeaway close can also be employed by the act of removing items or add-ons. If you are selling a furniture set, you may want to remove the ottoman from the deal at the included price. This removal will force the prospect to decide whether or not they need the ottoman or if they want to purchase the entire set to save money.
5. The Question Close
The question close is extremely beneficial to ensure that every customer’s questions and desires are uniquely answered. Under this close, the salesperson will ask the potential buyer questions to ensure that their every need is met. For example, a makeup artist trying to sell foundation to a potential buyer could ask questions such as, “Do you think this foundation works to cover the imperfections you mentioned?”
The benefit to this closing technique is that if the customer says yes, then the closing details can be finalized. If they say no, follow-up questions about the remaining issues can be asked, and new products are recommended. The question close could be a definitive way to get your products sold.
6. The Backwards Close
The backwards close, as the name suggests, is a very backwards way of closing a sale. In this technique, the seller will approach a potential buyer by first asking for referrals and hopefully securing a sale. In contrast, in traditional sales, the cycle starts with working towards the sale and concludes by asking for referrals.
A salesperson quickly running through the product or service they are offering and immediately asking for some customer referrals causes the person they are speaking with to relax and drop their guard. When someone is very obviously trying to sell us something with a traditional sales style, we may tense up.
Customers who share their colleagues’ and friends’ names are more likely to buy the product or service. We feel obligated to purchase after providing a referral because it is only right that we have experienced what is being offered to our colleagues and friends.
Although the landscape of buying and selling has changed over the years, there are some tried-and-true ways to increase the possibility of closing a sale for your business. Begin to integrate these sales techniques into your process, and you will not only understand your customers better, but you will also be able to meet their needs.