When I moved to London in the early 80s, it was the Thatcher Era of abundance. The city buzzed with wine bars, live music, excess and above all, endless fun!
I wanted a slice of that fun and slipped into sales as an easy way to fund my new lifestyle.
I chose my job well and ended up working in the West End selling video equipment into the TV and Film Production Industry. It was a crazy time that seemed more like a continual party than real work.
But it was real work and I was good at it, often pulling in 7-figure months for my company.
I wasn’t just lucky. One of the keys to my success was that I was taught how to close the deal.
Today, I want to share with you the key takeaways:
Focus on the customer, not on the deal.
Customers are much more likely to buy if you have listened to them and understand their needs, and presented a solution to their specific problems.
Sell Relevance Not Product
Getting techie with your customer can be the kiss of death to a sale. Customers are less bothered about how it WORKS than
How it can SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM.
Know Your Customer
Knowing your customer (their pain, their ambitions, their goals, even their philosophy) helps you focus your offer in such a way that the logically your solution is the perfect fit.
Add Value to Your Ongoing Relationship.
The easiest customer to sell to is an existing one. The hard work is done and you’ve built trust. Now you want to build a long term relationship and become their ‘go-to guy’. Extra training, hints and tips, and follow-up calls, create a special relationship and when your customer is ready to buy again, you will be at the front of their mind.
Never Bad-Mouth a Competitor
There aren’t many people who buy the first thing they see, especially if its high-ticket, and you are likely to find your customer is talking to your competitors too. That’s actually a good sign as it shows they are serious about buying. Embrace this and ask the questions, find out who they are talking to and tailor your pitch to emphasis the unique selling points of your offer and how it better matches their needs.
Mirror Your Customer to a Degree
People buy from people and we all like people that are like ourselves. So if your customer is formal … be formal. If relaxed … be relaxed. But, and it’s a big BUT, don’t try to be someone you are not – your customer will see through you straight away and any trust will be lost.
Stay Away from ‘the Script’
When you first start selling, it is tempting to follow a script simply so you don’t forget anything, but as you go through your spiel your customer switches their attention away from your offer and how it solves their problems, and starts to focus on that common objection … price. The script has moved you from being a trusted advisor into the role of salesperson and you’ve lost some advantage.
So strip your script down to its skeleton, learn the bare bones, then throw it away. A few uhms, ahs, and stumbles in your sales presentation makes you real and raises you to the position of problem solver rather than product seller.
Don’t obsess about “closing.”
I’ve been on many sales training courses over the years and you are often taught to always be closing. It’s exhausting and contrived and your savvy customer will see right through it. It’s a lot easier to sell if you get your customer to make a series of small, no-brainer, commitments in a logical progression so when it comes to the time to ‘close’ you can simply say “Okay, let’s do this. Do you want to pay credit or cash?