Wouldn’t it be amazing if every lead that entered your pipeline was already convinced that your product or service is for them, ready to sign on the dotted line?
Well, maybe that wouldn’t be amazing — but let’s be honest – it’s pretty rare!. At times, you will have very engaged leads who have done their own research and are ready to buy right away. However, you are more likely to have prospects who are weighing their options, and considering your product as a contender. And it’s your job to convince them your product is their best bet.
This is where persuasion comes in.
Persuasion is a method of communication that aims to influence the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviours of others. In the context of sales, persuasion typically takes place when a sales rep is trying to convince a prospect that their product or service is the best solution for their problem.
So what are the persuasion tactics you can implement today to close your next deal.
1. Personalise your message.
If you’re looking to persuade a prospect to consider your product, resist the urge to use a generic sales script. When you sound overly-rehearsed, or do not share messages or information that feel relevant to your prospect, your efforts go in one ear and out the other.
That doesn’t mean you need to fully wing your sales calls, that just means you need to be ready to adjust your message depending on what the prospect is interested in.
For example, if you sell payroll software to small businesses, and an inbound lead writes to you letting you know their company has employees in multiple countries and that they’re looking for an all-in-one solution, you should use this information to prepare for your sales call. As you prepare, you may want to emphasise your software’s ability to calculate tax rates for all 50 countries at the click of a button, which is a feature that would speak directly to the concerns of the prospect. This approach would be more valuable than a scripted run-down of other features they may be less interested in.
2. Focus on problem-solving.
Instead of telling the prospect all the reasons why they should buy your product (which can feel pushy and off-putting), focus on sharing all the reasons why your product can help solve their problem. By keeping their concerns front and centre and positioning your offer as a solution, you are showing the prospect the value of your product without being overly pushy.
For example, if you sell expense and reporting software for entrepreneurs, and your prospect shares they struggle with how manual and cumbersome logging their expenses feels, you can mention the automated features of your software sharing how much time on average your customers save. Not only does this demonstrate you were actively listening to the concerns of your prospect, but you are also providing a viable solution.
3. Provide social proof.
Let your past customers do the selling for you — knowing when to leverage social proof can be a powerful persuasion tactic.
While buyers may take your word as a sales rep with a grain of salt because they know you want to make the sale, they may feel more likely to trust the testimonial or story from a previous customer who was looking for the same solution. Third party validation of the value you provide is the most powerful of all sales tools available to us.
4. Anticipate objectives.
Picture this: you feel prepared for your sales call. You feel like you have a solid understanding of who the prospect is and what they’re looking for. Your notes are typed out and you’re ready to close the deal. Then during the call, the prospect throws several curveballs, asking you with questions and mentioning objections you weren’t prepared to account for — every sales rep’s nightmare.
But don’t get too down, this is a valuable learning experience.
To harness the power of persuasion, prepare for your sales conversations by brainstorming the possible objectives a prospect may have to your offer, and prepare talking points to disqualify the objections. Our article on objection handling goes into more detail.
5. Empower prospect decision-making.
Ultimately, you want your customers to buy from you because they truly want to, not because they feel pressed to. And let’s be real — no one likes being told what to do, including your prospects, so you will want to avoid being too directive in your approach. As a sales rep, it is your job to provide context and information that makes choosing your product a no-brainer.
As a persuasive seller, make sure you remind the prospect that the purchase is truly their choice throughout the conversation.
6. Build personal connections.
It’s essentially a rule of basic human interaction — we are all willing to believe and engage on a deeper level with people we actually like. While buyers can like your product or brand, as a sales rep, you are the main source of human connection representing your company.
By building genuine connection with your prospects and getting them to like you on a human level, you’re putting yourself in a better position to have a persuasive conversation. Here are a few tips for making a good impression:
Be complimentary — A genuine compliment can go a long way. For example, if you are in the process of selling much-needed software to a small business client, complimenting all they’ve done in their business so far and emphasising how your product will take them to the next level is a more effective approach than focusing on what they haven’t yet done or implemented.
Find common ground — As you are building a personal connection with your prospects, looking for things you have in common and can relate with one another about. Seeking out commonality with your prospects is a good way to build trust and persuade them to buy your product.
7. Don’t rush the process.
Last but certainly not least, don’t rush your prospect through the sales process. We all have targets to hit on a regular basis, but effective persuasion should feel natural for the prospect. They shouldn’t feel pressured or rushed to sign on the dotted line. That doesn’t mean you can’t implement a sense of urgency or be timely — in fact creating a slight sense of urgency (such as offering a special price for a limited time) can sometimes be an effective tactic.
The important thing to remember is, you want to remain on the same page with your prospect. It comes down to making sure where you are in the sales process aligns with where your prospect is on the buyer’s journey. If, as you’re moving through the sales process you’re under the impression your prospect is ready to close when in reality they’re still in the consideration stage, your tactics will be less persuasive because the prospect will feel sold to. Take your time.
Implementing these tactics can help you feel more comfortable and confident walking into sales conversations with potential customers.
If you’re unsure about how to sell effectively without being pushy check out our EPIC Selling Training Programme.
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