The ability to persuade comes naturally to most salespeople, so much so that they might not realize they are actually employing techniques to turn prospects into customers. No matter how strong your innate skills are, however, gaining awareness of a range of techniques beyond those that come easily to you can boost the number of deals you close.
In Good Selling!SM: The Basics, Paul H. Green shared techniques that can help merchant level salespeople transform prospects into customers, as follows:
Remember those magic words
First on Green's list was to use "please," "thank you" and your prospect's first name. These "are among the most powerful words in your selling vocabulary," he wrote. "Another word that induces action is 'because.' Telling your prospects why they should buy will significantly increase your persuasive power."
Avoid putting prospects on the defensive
Green stated that hypnotherapy research, along with the personal experience of many parents, has shown that telling someone to do something, or not do something, often has the reverse effect. "Words like 'might,' 'maybe,' and 'don't' can work in your favor," he wrote. "'Don't feel as though you need to sign now,' or 'Maybe you'll want to start tomorrow,' give subliminal commands to buy that don't put your prospects on the defensive.
Probe for values
A question Green suggested you ask prospects to uncover their values is "What is the most important element in your decision regarding your financial Services?" Uncovering these values "will allow you to custom tailor your presentation to meet his/her needs," he wrote. "Using questions to uncover objections will have your prospects telling you how to persuade them to buy."
Admit to drawbacks
Sometimes enthusiastic MLSs can overdo it when extolling the virtues of their offerings. "If your product or service sounds too good to be true, your prospect might decide it is," Green wrote. "By presenting one or two drawbacks to your service you allow Mr. or Ms. Merchant to focus on the positives instead of trying to uncover what you're not telling him or her." Here's an example Green provided to illustrate this point. You could say, "This system does require you to train all your sales personnel; however this investment does pay for itself as soon as you submit your …"
The more tools, the better
There are, of course, many other possible techniques that can add to your power to persuade. The more you know of and have tried out, the more effective you will be on the job.
Some salespeople have found that offering small gifts to prospects at the start of a sales call makes prospects want to reciprocate, and this can lead to a sale in the end. Gifts don't have to be expensive; even a nicely formatted infographic on a topic of particular interest to retailers, for example, will do. Others swear by testimonials and other forms of social proof ‒ the strongest of which being referrals from people your prospects know and trust.
So keep brainstorming and trying out new things, and your sales prowess will grow, along with your bottom line.
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