What Is Sales?
American author, salesman, and motivational speaker “Ziglar” was right when he claimed that everyone is in sales. Typically when you picture a salesperson, you probably imagine a man wearing a suit in a car dealership or someone knocking on your front door with a product to sell. In reality, most people “sell” in one way or another every day. For example, at an interview, you are selling your skillset to a potential employer. When meeting someone new, you are selling them on your personality, and when encouraging others to do something you want, you are convincing them of your views. By understanding how to sell, you will realize why everyone should learn sales.
“I have always said that everyone is in sales. Maybe you don’t hold the title of salesperson, but if the business you are in requires you to deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.”
How to Learn Sales
Most people don’t realize that they need to learn sales despite acting like a salesperson every day. This is because they are unaware of what sales really is. Most people view sales as transactions between two groups, providing a product or service and providing currency. While this is true, selling is much deeper than that when we consider the psychology of consumers.
Whether they realize it or not, most consumer behaviors are based on the emotions associated with the purchase. Often for consumers, the emotional influence behind making a purchasing decision outweighs the actual basic desire of need. By understanding and applying certain techniques, salespeople build up these emotions throughout the sales process. These techniques are also transferrable to everyday life. These techniques include building rapport, asking “hot button” questions, actively listening, handling objections, and closing the deal.
Building rapport with a customer is a crucial step when making a sale but can be done in many ways. It can be as simple as getting along over the same favorite sports team or having a shared hobby or experience. The purpose of building rapport with a customer is to show them that you can trust them, are a person like them, and take down the customer’s edge. When the customer can relate to you and feel comfortable with you through building rapport, they are more likely to listen open-mindedly rather than shutting you out. With rapport, you transform from a salesperson at work to a potential new friend.
Building rapport is something we do every day, whether intentionally or not. Every time you meet someone new or network, you are building rapport with them when getting to know them. Next time you meet someone new, be intentional about building rapport with them. One great way to do this is by asking “hot button” questions.
Asking “Hot Button” Questions
“Hot Button” questions are probing questions that are asked with the intent of learning something about someone. When asking the right questions, you essentially pick their brain of what you need to know to tailor the sale to them. For example, a car salesperson might ask you if you are most looking forward to street racing, traveling the country, or cruising around town with your new car. While the customer is considering this question, two things are happening in the background. First, the customer builds his own anticipation to buy by thinking about what he looks forward to doing in his new car. Second, the customer’s response will tell the salesman what car he should sell to that specific customer.
Hot button questions apply to everyday life when getting to know someone better. Small talk and getting to know someone involves asking a lot of questions. When asking intentional questions set up to build into a conversation, you are really asking hot button questions.
Active listening is a great tool used by salespeople to build rapport and familiarity with a prospect. In sales, active listening typically involves responding through non-verbals, repeating back to the prospect, and interpreting customers’ responses.
Actively listening is a great thing to use every day, no matter who you are talking to. Simply nodding your head in agreement while someone is talking and repeating back what they just told you could show someone that you listen intently and care about what is being said. Once you learn how to listen actively, it is easier to talk to new people and build relationships.
In the world of sales, handling an objection is a crucial skill. An objection is any problem or concern a prospect has about your product. When a prospect has an objection, he needs to confront the issue and then respond with a substitution or justification. Being able to handle an objection is what separates the best from the worst salesman.
Handling objections can come about at any time during everyday life. No matter what you do, there will always be someone ready to object due to their own reasoning or beliefs. By understanding how to deal with objections as they come and feel confident responding, you can overcome these negative influences.
Closing the Deal
Closing the deal from a sales perspective is the most important and most difficult thing to do. The closing is the last part of the sales process that can make or break a transaction from happening. By learning how to close a deal with confidence and thoroughness, a salesperson will be very successful.
Although you might not have a clear “deal” to close, the idea of closing a deal is still applicable. Whenever you pitch your side to someone else, you must close the deal by convincing them that your idea is valid and the best option available. Whether it be picking out a restaurant or something more serious, you need to be able to close the deal.
Once you master building rapport, asking “hot button” questions, actively listening, handling objections, and closing the deal, you will understand why everyone should learn sales.