How can your salespeople be more influential?

3 influencing tips for amazing sales results

Selling is the art of communicating value to a potential customer. Your goal is to lead them down the sales funnel into purchasing your product or service, a task that involves using many influencing skills and persuasion tactics. To me, it's a skill that's both an art and a science – something that people have a knack for but can also be taught.

Here are three tips your team can take on board to increase their sales influence with customers.

1. Give something away for free

Reciprocity is a principle most of us feel bound to to some extent. This is why the tactic of giving away something for free – a no-commitment trial of your service, for example – is so effective. When people receive a gift, they feel some level of obligation to return the favour.

I get that people understand when they're being sold to – they aren't going to feel as obliged to reciprocate as they might when giving gifts between friends, for example. It is a business transaction after all.

That doesn't mean, however, that it's not a good first step for opening up communication and building trust. There are costs involved for people to change products or service providers. Make the first move, and demonstrate to prospects that the cost of trying your product is low – knowing this will make them more willing to give it a go.

Build trust with your potential customers by making the first move and giving away something for free.Build trust with your potential customers by making the first move and giving away something for free.

2. Collect testimonials from respected figures

Why do people find it difficult to believe all the promises made by someone trying to sell them something? It's because the sales person has every incentive to give a positively-biased description of their products or services. Respected industry figures, however, do not.

Imagine Steven Spielberg endorsing a camera brand – that's something people would be more inclined to trust, because (assuming he wasn't paid) he has nothing to gain from it and is an expert in the field.

3. Show you understand the customer's problems as well as they do

Think of how many sales pitches have been unsuccessful on you as a consumer because it was clear that the salesperson wasn't really interested or informed about the problems you have – problems their product was supposed to solve. I know I've experienced many. The best way to sell someone something is to show that you understand the perspective the customer has and how the product or service you have can help them.

It's true that salespeople often have little influence on the product they're selling – in fact, it's probably rare that they do. Even so, it's the salesperson's job to find the angle that clicks with the customer. If you don't think the product is as great as it can be, find the aspect that's most compelling and sell it using that.

Sales influence is a skill you can continue to help develop in your sales team. For more information on leadership training, get in touch with a member of the ICML team today.


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