Conversational Sales

Need more sales but hate being a salesperson?

Need more sales but hate being a salesperson? Try thinking like a buyer

Need more sales?

If you’re struggling and you need to get more sales in your business then you’re not alone. It’s one of the most common problems that any business faces. To make matters worse, if you’re like most business owners, you don’t see yourself as a sales person. It is a skill set that you don’t feel you possess or even want to learn. So how do you get more sales without being more ‘salesy’?

One idea is to spend less time focussing on how to sell and think more about why people buy. You need to focus on making it easier for your prospects and customers to find you and buy from you. The great thing is that whilst most people don’t like to sell, and virtually no one likes to be sold to, nearly everyone likes to buy.

So why do people buy?

An individual purchase is made up of lots of complicated emotional and logical decisions but the basic principles are in fact very simple. They’re also something that you can build into to your business. If you want to understand why people buy you have to look at your business from your customers point of view.  You have to understand what’s important to them. So why do people buy? Well:

The Right Product – One that helps them achieve their goals

Whether subconsciously or not the main reason that drives our purchases is the belief that in buying the product or service it will help us achieve a goal or solve a problem. It doesn’t matter whether it is a specific goal or a more general one like being more successful. Our purchases have to support the belief that we are getting closer to our goal. No one buys something to make them less successful, less attractive, less wealthy; it is always the reverse.

To make people more interested in buying from you, you need to talk about how your product helps your customers achieve their goals. We moved on from only talking about the features of a product to talk about the benefits but to really get people to buy from you, you need to talk about outcomes. You also need to be as specific as possible, too often people talk about general goals or make high-level statements, rather than getting to the heart of what an individual wants.

You also need to focus in on the most important and most urgent of goals, you need to find the goals that the person is needing to reach right here and right now rather than the “someday” goals.

The Right Person – you’re liked and trusted

The second area is that you have to be the right person. If you’re wondering what makes you the right person, it comes down to two simple things. They like you and they believe you can deliver on what you say you can do.

Being Liked

Being liked is relatively simple, we can all be likeable, it doesn’t take any difficult skill set. It comes from doing some very simple things, like remembering people names and basic facts about them. It comes from genuinely engaging with people on a human level.

Being Trusted

Being trusted and believed is a little bit more complicated, particularly if you’ve only recently met the person. There are lots of things that you can do that can help build your credibility and trustworthiness, though.

When I meet someone new often the first thing that I do is look them up online. I check out their profile on LinkedIn and look at their website. In doing this I can see any case studies, testimonials, articles or blogs they have on there. So the more of these you have the better the chance of people feeling that you are an expert in what you do. I can also see who else they know and if they other people that I know, I can check them out that way. You can also present at networking events, offer free consultations and so many other ways. The important thing is that when people talk with you, they see you as someone who can help.

You can also present at networking events, offer free consultations and so many other ways. The important thing is that when people talk with you, they see you as someone who can help.

Another way is to have an aspect of your product or service that is either free or at a lower price. My local pub is a real ale pub and they will allow you to try any beer before you buy it. I like real ale and I like trying new beers but some of the beers have a very strong flavour that puts me off. Being able to try them first means that I will continue to try lots of new beers rather than sticking with one I feel safe with.

The Right Price – it creates the right amount of value

We often get fixated on the price we charge our customers. We can spend a lot of time talking about how we are cheaper than our competition or how we have a great deal or discount on at the moment. In fact, we can spend loads of time talking about how much something costs. I’ll let you into a little secret that might surprise you. When it comes to wanting something the cost is the last thing on somebodies mind. The question isn’t how much does it cost but how much is it worth?

If you want to people to buy from you then work out how much solving their problems or helping them achieve their goals is worth to them. Imagine as a result of reading this blog you managed to get 10 new customers, who not only bought once from you but came back regularly to buy from you, how much would that be worth to you? How much would this article be worth? See how it works. So focus on the value you bring to your customers, not the price that you charge them.

The Right Point – can they afford it

Now I know that I just said that it’s not about the cost but at the end of the day you want customers who can actually pay you. So whilst it isn’t about cost, they still have to be able to afford it. You need to think about how you can make things as affordable as possible. There are lots of ways that you can do this. Payment plans, delayed payment and accepting credit cards and are just some of the obvious ones. Depending on what your business is there are probably some more creative ones as well.

Affordability isn’t just about money, sometimes it is the effort and emotional cost that stops us from buying. Any purchase can involve change and if we feel that change is too great we delay making the choice. So as well as making the cost affordable, think how you can make it as easy as possible to buy. Avoid putting  in long contracts, complicated processes and difficult requirements that don’t improve the service for the customer. If your product delivers and you give good service, customer loyalty will keep them coming back better than a contract.

Conclusion

Now I’m not saying this will work in every situation. If you focus on viewing things from the customer’s point of view, though, you’ll have a much better chance of them choosing to buy.

If you want to know more about how you can change your conversations. Change them so that more people want to buy from you then just book some time with me. To book a half hour introduction phone call just click here.

Right Conversation

Having the right conversation is more important than getting the outcome you want

Having the right conversation is more important than getting the outcome you want.

Your first thought might be that this is a load of rubbish, surely nothing is more important than getting the outcome you want. If you get what you want from a situation, then it doesn’t really matter whether you have the right conversation or even how you get there, as long as you get there. Unfortunately too many people think this way and in the end, it means that they have to work harder and longer to achieve the success they want.

So what do I mean, well let’s look at the options:

The wrong conversation but not getting what you want

The first combination is clearly not working for anyone. If you’re not getting what you want and you’re not having good conversations with people, then you are wasting everybody’s time. Every time you find yourself in this situation, not only are you going to be frustrated, you’ll also risk damaging your reputation and the options you have to grow your business in the long run. You’ll waste time, effort and money having the same conversation over and over again with people without ever really growing your business. The most that you can hope for from a conversation like this is to learn not to have it again.

The wrong conversation but getting what you want

Now you might think this is better, it’s a shame the conversation didn’t go well but you got what to you wanted so that’s all that matters, right? The problem is that this is a short-term result, you might make the sale or get your employee to do what you want but it won’t lead to customer or employee loyalty in the long run. If you use tricks or worse deception to get the outcome that you want, it will always backfire on you in the end. Even if you are totally honest and upfront, you’ll still only get the short term result and not the long term relationship. The big risk with this type of conversation is that you never learn to have any other kind of conversation and you will keep going until you run out of people to talk to. You can make money this way but you will never reach your full potential.

Having the Right Conversation

I’ll deal with the last two options as one because if you actually have the right conversation your idea of what the outcome should be at the beginning might be very different at the end. I believe that it’s only by having the right conversation in the first place that you can truly know what it is that you might want at the end.

Take for example a sales conversation with a potential customer, they might seem like a great match but when you have the right conversation you realise that it will end up being a disaster. Maybe they have unreasonable expectations, they haggle over every detail of your price and service, they’re likely to keep coming back with corrections and changes. Eventually, you end up with a customer who is much more trouble than they are worth. If you hadn’t had the right conversation, if you had just rushed to get the outcome you wanted, the quick sale might have ended up causing problems in your business.

Another alternative is that you ask an employee to do something, to change a process or respond to a piece of work. If you have the right conversation with them they may come up a better alternative, they might have an idea that you haven’t thought of. They might not do what you want but they will do something better, something that gets you better results in the end. If you don’t take the time to have the right conversation you may get what you want, it just won’t be as good as you could’ve had. Worse than that you don’t build employee engagement and loyalty.

Sometimes getting what you want means that you get stuck in a situation that you regret later or worse you miss out on an opportunity that is better than you could have imagined in the beginning. Sometimes getting what you want can be overrated. Having the right conversation might not always get you what you want but it will give you the right outcome, the outcome that can help you achieve the right kind of growth in your business, but that’s a different conversation.

So, if you want to know what a right conversation is, then check out some of my other posts or get in touch for a chat.

Lazy Conversations

Lazy Conversations - Have you ever been in a conversation when the other person just isn't trying?

Have you ever been in lazy conversation? Lazy conversations are ones where you realise the other person just isn’t trying, they’re just going through the motions and are not really interested in what the other person is saying. Even worse is one where neither of you is trying.

We have lazy conversations all the time with dentists, people randomly on a train; people who we have no real connection with but we feel we need to fill the awkward silence. It’s fine to do that if you want, the problem comes when you find you’re doing this in a situation where it actually matters.

What do lazy conversations look like?

So what does it actually look like in practice, well image you are talking to someone and they are asking you a series of questions about what you do, where you live or are from. These are exploratory questions where most people are looking for something that means that they can talk more about themselves. A way of turning the conversation onto themselves and what is important to them.

To stop lazy conversations from happening you need to go deeper into a topic or subject, allow the person to share more about themselves. Rather than looking for an opportunity to talk about yourself, look for opportunities to help other people talk more about themselves. Look for the tell-tale signs that let you know you have hit a topic of interest for that person and go with that, even if it means that you don’t get to share the interesting story about yourself or the witty insightful comment. Remember sometimes it’s not about you.

Why should you avoid lazy conversations?

Now the are lots of selfish reason why you should do this, the main one being that they become a much easier prospect to sell to when the time is right. However, the most important reason for acting this way is that you might actually make a genuine connection.

When you are self-employed it’s not always easy to make genuine connections, we spend most of our time working alone. The people that we meet we keep at arms length to protect ourselves and our business. We don’t easily make allies in what we do because we are fearful of making perceived enemies. I can understand that but sometimes you just have to take a risk.

So next time you are having a conversation with someone stop trying to find ways in which you can talk more but find ways in which you can listen better.

Sales tricks, conversations from hell

Sales tricks are what people use to sell something to someone who doesn't want it

I was having a conversation with someone the other day and they were asking me if I knew any good sales tricks. Now I don’t know about you but sales tricks or techniques generally get my back up, partly because I fall for them too often but mainly because I just don’t think they’re the way run a business.

In fact, in my opinion, sales tricks are what people use when they are trying to sell you stuff that you don’t want.

Now you might feel that as long as people are buying then who cares, and for some people maybe it doesn’t matter.

For me though I want my business to be about more than just making sales at any cost. For me, I only want people to buy from me things that they actually want. Not just so I don’t have to use dodgy sales tricks but also so they are delighted with what they buy, come back to buy more and recommend me to others. Surely this is a better way to run a business.

How to get everyone to like you

Why people like you? It is our uniqueness that us valuable to our clients.

I was having a conversation the other day with a customer, I’d just given a talk about why you should only work with people you like and who like you, and they asked me “how do I get everyone to like me?”.

So many of us want to be able to do business with everyone, that we try and make products and services that all would want and worse than that, ones that all can afford. The problem with this is that in trying to appeal to everyone we end up appealing to no one.

It is our uniqueness that makes us valuable to our clients. Whether it is our unique point of view, our personal connections with our networks, or some other aspect of our business that sets us apart from everyone else. It is because of these things that we can and should charge a premium to those who really relate to what we do, those who like you.

More importantly, if everyone did want to do business with us then we couldn’t cope with the amount of work that we would have. So rather than fighting over prices with the masses, be more select and charge a premium to the few. The few yo really like you.

Funnily enough, not only will your clients thank you for it, they’ll also pay you for it too.

(Also, you’ll be happier as well)