“Personal effectiveness is the core of our business.”
- Sheila Viesca, TalkShop

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Two Most Important Words in Sales

In this fast-paced day and age everyone is looking for shortcuts on how to learn and do anything. This is why some of the most popular words in the English dictionary are "instant" and "easy". Of course, these aren't the two most important words in sales. In fact, it's ridiculous to even think that centuries of behavioral science and market research could be summarized into two simple words.

In this article, what you're going to learn isn't a one-page summary of what sales is about but a highlight on two key concepts that will give you a clearer perspective on how to be a master salesman. Who knows, you may already be applying these concepts without you knowing it. If that's the case then it's time to identify them so you can repeat the magic strategy, otherwise, it's time to learn what the masters have been doing over the years.

1) YOU

If you've been in sales you may have gone through the mentality where selling is all about approaching a client, talking about your amazing product, and stating as many wonderful features & benefits until the client says, "wow, this product is amazing. I'm going to buy!" If selling were this easy then all of us would be professional salesmen by now. The truth is that the strategy mentioned above is ineffective because it rarely makes use of the first most important word in sales: you.

The concept is simple: use the word "you" in your dialogues and you'll find that clients will be much more interested in what you have to sell. Look at the dialogue below for a typical sales spiel that you've probably heard several times from an eager salesman and ask yourself if you would be willing to give him five minutes of your time.

"Good afternoon, sir. I'm <name of salesman> and I just need five minutes to give my presentation regarding our company. I'm selling some products that, we believe, are the best in the industry!"

What's the problem with this spiel? Clients aren't interested in hearing about you or your product. They want to know what's in it for them. Even in stating the benefits, be wary of using the word "I" when you should be using "you" instead. A benefit without the word "you" is simply a feature, no matter how well-phrased it is. Now compare the sales spiel above to the dialogue below and ask yourself which is more persuasive.

"Good afternoon. How are you, sir? You're in luck today 'cause in five minutes you're about to hear of some amazing products that will make you scream for joy. You don't know it yet but these products were made in heaven and brought to Earth just for you."

Of course, some creativity was added into the dialogue but the usage of "you" is what really makes the spiel more effective. Always remember that when you're selling to a client you should be applying the 20-80 rule: 20% of the conversation is for you to ask questions and 80% is for the client to talk about themselves.

2) YES

One of the most popular advice given in self-help books is "be positive". Sadly, no one's ever cared to explain what that specifically means. In sales, this means that whenever you make a statement or ask a question, it has to be phrased positively. To be more specific, the appropriate answer to any question you ask should be "yes" instead of "no". Take the questions below as examples of "no"-questions:

"Do you want to be poor for the rest of your life?"
"Are you okay with being fat and ugly?"
"Have you tried our products before?"
"Is it possible to always close a sale and never be rejected?"
"Can I get your number?"

Some of the questions above have a higher chance of getting a "no" than a "yes" while others would simply get a "no" from any sensible person. In selling it's important to get minor agreements or minor "yeses" to build your client up for the big "yes" or final close. The questions below are some ways you can positively phrase questions for better chances of getting a "yes":

"Do you want to be rich in the near future?"
"Are you interested in finding the secret to being sexy and beautiful?"
"Would you like to try some of our products for free?"
"Isn't it every salesman's dream to close every sale and always be accepted?"
"Would you happen to have a mobile number?"

The concept is very simple but you'd be surprised how many salesmen ask "no"-questions instead of "yes"-questions. Even in making statements, positive words such as "can", "will", and "do" are much preferred over negative words such as "can't", "won't", and "don't".

Instead of saying "don't be late" you could say, "please be on time".
Instead of saying "we can't meet the deadline" you could use, "we can finish the project on a different date".
Instead of saying "no pain, no gain" try the phrase "more pain, more gain".

Remember that there are hundreds of concepts to be learned in sales. These are just the two most important words to remember. Use these two words in selling and you'll improve your success rate exponentially. Use these two words in any social situation and you'll find people will enjoy your company more. As the next step in learning the art of selling, look forward to the next article for techniques on how to persuade anyone into saying "yes".

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