Marketing is all about demonstrating value. The better the marketing, the better the perception of the product. A perfect example is McDonald’s. We’ve all had a double cheeseburger and know what it looks like in real life, but on the commercials when we see those perfectly golden buns and that juicy meat we are reminded how delicious that burger really is, regardless of what it looks like in real life.
But marketing isn’t just found in advertisements. When we communicate we are often marketing things. We market ourselves, our lifestyle and our interests all the time. When we talk about the new thing we bought we are sure to use phrases like “I got a great deal” “it’s the best of its kind” or “It’s an amazing product.” Now we might actually have just a satisfactory experience with that thing, but to the outside world it was that smartest purchase we’ve ever made. We’re never just doing “okay” we’re always doing “great”. Every conversation we have is some form of marketing.
But in sales you only have a small time frame to really convince a person of something. Whether you are selling cars, phones, medical equipment or software your window of words is slim. In my career in various sales positions I’ve learned a handful of great adjustments that dramatically improved my sales. Here are some tips to maximize your verbiage and optimize your pitch so that every word coming out of your mouth is as delicious as a Big Mac to your customers.
- Use Unique Percentages: This may seem strange but when you use a percentage make sure you use an odd numbered or a non-whole percentage in your pitches. If you say “On average this will work 20% of the time” it sounds shallow and feels like a fabricated number. But if you say “This is been shown to work 23%” or even better “On average we’ve seen a 23.7% effectiveness rate” you’re customers will have a lot more buy in to that data.
- Tailor your communication: There are a lot of studies about the different personalities out there. Whether we are colors, animals, Meyers Briggs abbreviations or any other system, most people fall into two major categories: Formal-professional and Casual-professional. Both are equal in their industries but they both prefer to be communicated to in their own way. A “Hello” never resonates as well as a “Hey” to the casual-professional, and the inverse is true in the formal-professional. Within the first moments of communication you need to decide if you are going to breeze over details and paint a picture (casual-professional) or set expectations and be straight up with details (formal-professional). Tailoring your communication can be one of the biggest game changers in your sales process
- Use Creative Approaches: In whatever sales field you are in, odds are your potential customers have been pitches 100 times before. They know the drill, they know the pitch and they know the tone. Don’t be afraid to try a completely different approach to catch them off guard. I’ve told people that “I just need one more conversation my boss will let me go home, can you help me out?” and sold them. I’ve told people “Look, me and a dozen other people are going to try and reach out to you until you tell us to stop or block our number, give me 5 minutes and I’ll save you the potential hassle of having to say no to 50 more people” and sold them. Sometimes people find brutal honesty refreshing. Many people will be impressed with your creative attempt and will humor your pitch. You’ll be surprised with the results. Always stick to the best practices, but don’t be afraid to try something new.
- Be personable: One of the most prominent truths about sales is that people buy from people they like. If you think about most car sales out there, it’s not like they couldn’t find a better deal out there. In many cases there are multiple places with the same model and varying prices. But which car gets bought often has nothing to do with the price and everything to do with the personality of the salesman. Strive to be interesting in your sales calls. Make conversation, laugh, and invest in the person you’re talking to. If you can get someone to laugh at a joke or tell you a story they are so much more likely to buy from you.
- Never hear a “No”: If there is one word that you never want to hear in a sales pitch its “no”. Now, of course, it will invariable happen but a lot of times you can have control of it. When you go into any sales pitch you often know what the objections will be. As a sales person you can tailor your pitch to inoculate your potential customer and therefore controlling if or when the “no” comes. When a customer says “yeah it sounds great but I need to ask my wife (or partner or boss)” at that point the sales locomotive that was blazing through the pitch has now come to a complete stop and you are trying to hand-push it to go again. But if you can, before the “no”, say “Now you probably want to talk to your wife (partner, boss) Right? I figured as much. So this is what we can do…” And then provide a solution that feels less contractual (a test run, just set a follow up time, 30 day satisfaction guarantee etc.) then the customer will feel like you’ve already taken their needs into account and therefore are more willing to buy from you. At all cost, figure out ways around the “no”.
Of course there are plenty of sales books out there that could go into far greater detail about any one of these concepts. These are just some of the easy tweaks I’ve made in my sales career over the last 10 years that have made some of the biggest impact on my success as a sales (casual) professional.