Sales Methodologies

Personal selling is a promotional method in which one party uses skills and techniques for building personal relationships with another party that results in both parties obtaining value. Personal selling occurs whenever an individual salesperson sells a product, service or solution to a client. Sales people need to be able to match the  benefits of their offering to the needs and wants of their client. Personal selling in today’s world requires the formation of longstanding client relationships.

Sales methods

There are many different sales methods that can be used to complete a sale and form the required relationships. Determining which sales method is more effective depends on what you are selling, who you are selling to and when you are selling it.

AIDA Method

AIDA is an acronym that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. This is a method that looks at the steps a client will undertake from when they first becomes aware of the product or service, to when they are making a purchase decision.

Attention – Get the other person’s interest
Interest – Spark their curiosity
Desire – Create the need
Action – Get them to commit to something

Need satisfaction

The need satisfaction technique is a question and answer technique to make the client to recognise the need for your offering. This then leads to the client agreeing that they have a need to be fulfilled, which leads to you showing them how your offer can satisfy their needs. This method is based on a win-win approach for both the sales person and the client.

Depth Theory

Depth Theory is when a creation of trust occurs between the buyer and seller. The seller uses expertise in their product, service or industry to create trust between themselves and the buyer. The client will see the salesperson as an expert in that area and will trust them to solve the issues that they have.

7 Step process

The 7 step process is a plan of action that starts at the planning and preparation to make the sale and leads to after sale follow ups. The 7 steps are:
1.   Planning and preparation
2.   Introduction or opening
3.   Questioning
4.   Presentation
5.   Overcoming objections/negotiating
6.   Closing
7.   After-sales follow-up

Communication

FAB technique

Using the features, advantages and benefits (FAB) technique when communicating with the client is one of the simplest and most effective ways to show the many features and benefits your offering can have, and how it will help the client. It is ideal for any situation where the end benefit is not clear or there are multiple features and benefits.

What are your key Features?
What are the major Advantages of these features?
What Benefit does this give?
Using this in conjunction with other sales methods will provide a solid foundation for a great sales presentation. 

Question structure

The questions asked in a sales presentation should be structured in order to get answers on how to sell to each customer. First, open ended questions should encourage the prospect to start talking. This does not have to be about the sale, but rather more about how business is going or general topics. This step is to build a relationship with the client but also to find any issues they may have that you can solve. Next, open ended questions should encourage detail and direction. Specific open questions should then be asked to narrow down the information that has been given to you. This is followed by alternative questions to answer any specific query that may arise from the first questions. Lastly, closed questions should be asked to confirm the needs of the buyer in order to better prepare your proposal.

Active listening

Listening to your client is vital in sales presentations. It will allow you to pick up clues as to how you can better feature your product to suit their needs, and also help understand the timeframe and budget of the deal. There are 7 ways to become an effective listener.

  1. Encourage silence to show you are actively listening.
  2. Be present
  3. Make the client feel heard
  4. Become a solution orientated listener
  5. Listen for what is not being said
  6. Resist the temptation to rebut
  7. Listen for information

Evidence

Using evidence in a presentation can solidify trust between the buyer and seller. It comes in many different forms, but always helps to back up what you have been saying about how your offering can help them. The following are all types of evidence that can be used in a sales presentation to help solidify the deal.

  • Empirical evidence
  • Facts
  • Trends
  • Accepted knowledge
  • Quotes/statements
  • Testimonial
  • Case Study/example
  • Performance
  • Market research

Stalls and objections

It is common to come across stalls and objections when in sales presentations. Most salespeople see these as a burden on the presentation, but if controlled effectively, they can benefit you.

A Stall is when the buyer gives no reason for why they are hesitating on the sale. This could just be them saying “I need to think about it.” An objection however gives a specific reason. For example, this could be “I think the price is too high” or “I am not sure if I like the personnel that will be working on this job.”

Handling stalls and objections can be the difference between making the sale or not and should therefore be a point of focus for all salespeople.

Closing the sale

Closing the sale is the most important part of any sales presentation.  Some common problems that salespeople face when closing the sale are the fear of “No”, talking too much, being afraid to ask and a lack of confidence.

Knowing the signals for closing the deal is important as it will allow for you know when to move ahead with your sale. The signals that buyers give are both verbal and non-verbal. Some common verbal signals are asking about timing, pricing, ongoing support and who is going to be involved. Some common non-verbal signals will be nodding of the head, particular interest on one feature and pleasure in anticipating the purchase.

Closing techniques

Once you identify the signals that closing the sale should happen, the following techniques can help you complete the deal.

  • The order form
  • The assumptive close
  • The alternative close
  • The direct approach
  • Incentive close
  • Scarcity close
  • Already lost close
  • Sharp angle close
  • Small to large

Lead generation

Strategies

Lead generation is a marketing term used to acquire new customers and it plays a critical role in the sales funnel process for converting leads into customers. A ‘lead’ is defined as a potential customer who has shown an interest in the product or service your business provides. There are many options for generating leads with one of the newest and most systematic means being the inbound marketing method. This system acquires new leads and gathers their contact information including their name and email address. The leads are tracked and strategically guided through the sales funnel until they become a valuable customer. The process drives leads from the top through the middle to the end of the funnel.