Firstly, if you missed part one of this post, please check it out here – the info in that article is foundational and highly important if you want to improve your fortunes in the sales environment in the long-term and maximise sales results.

In this post we’re going to deal with some equally important, but more psychologically-orientated tactics you can implement straight away to sway any sale your way. You know the scenario, you can feel the client losing interest, they are guarded with information because of a fear of ridicule (e.g. if their budget is way too low for your products) or you are aware that multiple companies are bidding for this clients’ business.

How do you maximise the instances whereby the client immediately chooses your product/service and commits whole-heartedly to you?

Here are some examples of techniques that I myself have used to build a sales record of almost 100%.

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1) Use The Rule of Reciprocity

Offering Value in SalesIf you’ve heard of the law (or rule) of reciprocity, chances are it has struck you just how familiar this concept is, and should be, to every person. The rule of reciprocity is based on the notion that people feel the need to unburden themselves from a responsibility to repay a debt. Therefore, when in the sales arena, it should come as no surprise that this technique can be used highly effectively to pull a prospect toward committing to you instead of your competitors.

Have you ever had a friend, neighbour or family member arrive at your home unexpectedly with a gift… maybe at Christmas? Have you felt the guilt and panic when you realise that you have nothing to give them in return? You scuttle around your house looking for a bottle of wine, gift or something which hasn’t been opened just to give them something back, in return…

Witness the full effect of the ‘rule of reciprocity’. People feel an irresistible urge to repay a debt, especially when that debt is a debt in kind.

So the question is:

how do you leverage this knowledge to your advantage in a sales setting?

Easy. Give away things of value to your prospects freely –

  • Gifts,
  • Bonuses,
  • Advice,
  • Help.

It doesn’t need to be related to your product or service either, which makes it even easier to do.

Your client might have a problem, any problem, and your willingness to help and solve this for them will prove decisive in their process of choosing a solutions provider, thereby selecting you over your competitors. My advice is to look out for these things popping up through your initial conversations with prospects. It’s the old “Going the extra mile” concept. When your prospect sees that you are a good person, willing to help and provide solutions simply because you want to help them, and when you do this in specific instances for them through (or alongside) your sales process, you will create in them an unflinching desire to “Repay the debt”.

When this happens, the burden they feel is powerful, so you need to outline just how they can achieve this repayment of the debt, thereby making it easy for themi.e. By requesting that they give you the business. When done at the right time, in tandem with an effective implementation of the rule of reciprocity, you will almost guarantee the sale, pretty much every time.

Now, this relies on a number of things for it to work:

  • You must be genuine
  • Your product/Service Must be Good
  • Your After-Sales Care & Support must be up to scratch

Don’t cheat people into giving you the business if you don’t have the goods to back it up. This isn’t a cheaters’ tactic, it’s a highly effective method by which to build trust and to showcase to the client just how much you value their business and relationship. When done in the right way and in a genuine way, you will benefit endlessly from utilising this tool.

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2) Structure an Efficient Sales Process

How to Sell ProfessionallyIf you’re a member of our list at Pro Sales Academy (join up using this link) you’ll know that the story of the early part of my career was plagued by inefficiency, where I let sales meetings ramble on for up to 7 x hour-long meetings, getting nowhere and missing out on other sales as a result. Things changed however, when I implemented a very specific sales process which I followed with each client.

No more did I let the client dictate the process and direction of the sale.

Instead, I sat down with them and explained early on exactly how this process would work. I would say (based on my business-to-business web consultancy):

“Just so you know what to expect from this process:

The process we work with is a two-to-three-stage process… At our first meeting I want to get a gauge of what you’re looking to achieve with the campaign and what your current status is (e.g. if you already have one of these products). I also need to get a good handle on what is important to you and your business so we can best advise on how to achieve that. We can sit down together, have a chat and I’ll give you some further info about what we do and how we can be of help, and at that first stage/meeting I should be able to provide you with a rough ballpark price of the package that will match your objectives best.

At the second stage/meeting I’ll have a firm package proposal for you and we can look in more detail at the specifications and make sure that everything we’re proposing is exactly what you require. At that stage, as long as you’re happy with everything, we should be in a position to move forward… if the specification of the project has changed drastically we might book a third meeting, but at that stage I’m sure you’ll know whether you’d like to work with us/me on your project and in the long-term and I can ensure you get the best, value-centric package available, whatever the spec.” 

When I started doing this, and specifying the exact process I worked by for prospects, everything changed. My conversion rates went through the roof, productivity went up and I became less and less frustrated by the entire process of sales, which to that point I had largely resented the need for. Meetings now took 1-2 hours total rather than 7+hrs. That’s a massive shift in productivity which opened me up to being able to deal with/manage more clients than ever before.

So my advice is this; if you don’t have a “sales process” defined as such, take some time to sit down and plot out exactly what would be the ideal process for you, based on the product/service you have to offer, the investment required and the type of client you are looking to attract. Each of these components will demand a slightly different approach. The higher the investment, sometimes the more time it will take to create the trust required for the prospect to commit with the sale. Hence why point 1) in this post is a powerful strategy to build trust.

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3) Hit Objections Head-On, With a Positive Attitude, Then Move Forward

How to deal with objections in sales processI don’t know how many times I’ve been met with tricky, difficult and awkward questions by prospects where I had to think on my toes and answer as best I could. Sometimes I got it right, sometimes I got it wrong, but in time I learned that the only solution is to be positive, assertive and genuine.

The most common question/objection I ever got was when a prospect, in the final deliberations, said:

“I’m just concerned that I’m not going to be 100% happy with something” or “What happens if I’m not happy with everything”

Have you had this type of objection yourself? If so, and even if you haven’t been hit with this yet (it will be asked at some stage!), here is the single best way to overcome it immediately and close the sale:

Simply say something like this:

“I totally understand your concerns, it’s an important decision/investment to make. What I can promise you is that you will be happy at every stage of the process, because there’s nothing I/we will do along the way that you won’t have agreed to or approved first. I give you my word on that”

As with anything in sales, it’s important you put yourself in the prospect’s position. What are they really seeking with this type of question? It’s simple really; they are afraid. They are afraid that the product/service won’t live up to its’ promise, or it won’t be what they expected. They are afraid that their investment will be wasted and they will feel buyers’ remorse (in fact, this panic is a form of pre-emptive buyers’ remorse). So the answer to all problems, at every turn, is to:

Reassure the prospect

Allay their fears in every sense, at all times. Using language like I laid out above will allay fears like nothing else because it is positive and personal – it gives your personal guarantee that everything will be ok. Adding your own guarantee on top of that is the icing on the cake, because it shows your own willingness for accountability – if something were to go wrong, you’re there to fix it/find the solution.

So the key is to hit objections head on with an unwavering, positive attitude and then… move on. After dealing with an objection as I’ve laid out above, close the sale down by asking

“Do you have any other concerns?” (*let them answer this question before moving on)

If the answer is no, simply say:

“Ok, assuming you’re happy with everything, would you like to move forward with the project/product today?”

Simple, but effective. What are they going to say? They will say one of three things – “Yes“, “No” or “I’ll think about it” (hint – the latter two of these mean the same thing, invariably).

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4) Offer A Personal Guarantee & a Product Warranty/Guarantee

Alex Fleck Web Strategy, SEO & Social Media SpecialistEvery product/service in this day and age will have a manufacturer’s warranty or a “guarantee” from the company that customers will be satisfied by the quality, delivery and longevity of the product/service. Often the longer the guarantee, the more positive the impact on the prospect (e.g. a 2-yr guarantee on an electrical product is a very powerful incentive over a standard 1 yr guarantee).

It is essential you play on these positive guarantees and make the prospect aware of them at every opportunity. One of the fears I mentioned above is the fear the prospect has of “Buying a Lemon” or “wasting their investment”.

It’s therefore fundamentally important to iron-clad your offering with a product/company warranty.

On top of that, I would strongly advise you to make it personal and add a personal guarantee, as I mentioned in Point 4. By doing this, it shows the prospect you are concerned with their satisfaction and it is a personal thing for you. You are genuine, caring and professional and they can rely on you.

If they’re not 100% happy they can come back to you and you will help them achieve satisfaction with the product/service.

Of course, if anything were to go wrong, you would be the first person they would revert to anyway, as the person that has sold them the product, but by clearly outlining this for the prospect in a completely transparent way, it will seal the deal in many instances.

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5) Keep In Touch

How to Maximize Client retentionKeeping in touch with your prospect is not only a good idea once they confirm a sale with you, but if they aren’t ready to commit right now, or have other considerations to make and even if they decide to proceed with a competitor, don’t take this as “Goodbye”.

Let me qualify each of these points.

A) If your client commits to you today, you want to keep in touch with them through delivery of the product/service but also long, long afterward. By viewing your client as a long-term partner you will find repeat business becomes your staple income. Recommendations from and repeat business with these clients is the single-most qualified type of business (and easiest future sale) you will ever encounter. So followup with existing and past clients today to see how they’re getting on, how the product is benefiting them and whether you can help with any questions, queries or recommendations.

B) If your prospect isn’t ready to commit today, perhaps they don’t have the budget, they are uncertain, or for any other number of reasons, do not make the mistake of discarding them from your phone book. Some of my most lucrative, long-term clients have been those who haven’t committed at first attempt. Some have spent up to 2 years. Yes, TWO YEARS, thinking about a product/service, revisiting it over time and finally committing. If the prospect isn’t ready now simply keep in touch with them, check in with them periodically – you will find that this familiarity makes them trust you more and that will grow over time, up to the point where, when the time is right and they are back in the market for your product, who will come straight into their head? You.

C) If Your prospect chooses a competitor today instead of you, this does not mean that they will be happy with that competitors’ service, product, after-sales care in the future (or even on delivery of the product). Therefore, it’s imperative you leave the sales discourse on good standing and remove any embarrassment that the prospect may feel for not choosing you. By following up with them periodically in future you may find their choice in picking your competitor turned into a disaster, as I have found a number of times. If they feel no sense of embarrassment in returning to you (hence the importance for you to manage this appropriately), should they need that product, or have a friend/family member need a recommendation, you will guarantee that you are the first person they call, not your competitor.

I have had multiple contracts from each of these three types of clients over the years and it proves the importance of building relationships over time. Staying in touch creates a fertile environment for repeat business, referral, profitability and massive income.

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In Conclusion

Thanks for joining me for this two-part article – remember if you missed the first part, you can check it out here.

I do hope you’ve found some real points of value that you can implement today to help you improve your sales conversions, profitability and future income. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please pop them into the comments box below and I’ll get back to each one individually.

What are your experiences with sales? Have I missed any techniques in this “10” that you think are more important than those included?

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