How to be Better at Sales with this One Powerful Technique
Skills of a salesperson
Think about the last time you hired someone on the spot. What made you instantly feel like it was the right person for you, so much so, that you were willing to spend your precious moolah without hesitation?
Did they seem interested in you?
Did they have the perfect offering to solve your biggest needs?
Did they just really get you and what you needed?
Did it feel like you made a good connection with them?
Did you not feel a bunch of pressure to buy?
Did they seem like a confident expert in what they do?
Did they seem like they’d be enjoyable to work with?
I’m sure all of these things were true in one way or another.
But you wanna know the crazy thing?
There is just ONE powerful sales tip that can bring all of these amazing sales closing techniques to life.
And if you use it in your business, you can instantly increase your chance of turning a client lead into a paying client.
A story of how NOT to sell
I once had a guy come to my door trying to get me to switch internet + cable providers. Up until this point we only had one choice, so I was quite intrigued that there was a new company in our neighborhood.
He immediately started bombarding me with big numbers and statistics and wouldn’t stop talking.
I became quite annoyed, yet I genuinely hated my current provider and was interested in switching now that I had a choice. So, despite his turn-off of a sales approach, I hung in there and told him what was important to us and what we were frustrated with right now.
Instead of addressing those concerns he just repeated what he said before just in an even more insistent manner. Either he knew he couldn’t address my concerns, didn’t know the answer, or was just the world’s worst listener.
This time I had to cut him off. I reiterated what I said and told him that if he could solve even only one of my three pain points that I would switch. I should have been a pretty easy sell and I was basically begging him to give me a reason to buy from him.
HE IGNORED ME. AGAIN.
And, you guessed it, the story ends with no sale, me being pissed off and annoyed for having this guy waste my time, and me still being dissatisfied with my service.
The best way to approach a sales conversation
We’ve all met this kind of salesperson, unfortunately. So, here’s the simple ONE thing you can change your sales approach to not be like that guy and to be more effective at closing the deal. (please don’t be like that guy…)
Pull vs. Push
What do I mean by this?
Push Sales Approach
In a PUSH sales approach, you come off as well, pushy.
You push your offering onto your potential client and try to convince them that they should buy from you.
Does a used car salesman, insurance person, or my internet + cable guy come to mind? Yep, these industries have unfortunately become masters at the push sales approach and it’s why none of us want to interact with these folks.
Pull sales approach
In a PULL sales approach, you instead draw your potential client in.
You pull information from them by being genuinely interested in them as a human being and the aspect of their life that you sell solutions for.
They in-turn come to believe that you are exactly what they need to solve their problems.
A pull sales approach example
If you provide a service and talk with people over the phone or in person prior to making a sale, try a pull sales technique.
Let me demonstrate what this could specifically look like:
Make thoughtful conversation or comments to build a rapport and find common ground.
Ask questions that demonstrate that you care about them as a person, not just a sale.
Gather information by being genuinely interested in the part of their life that pertains to what you do (and if you’re not genuinely interested then perhaps you haven’t found your Sweet Spot of where to focus your work yet).
Learn what needs, challenges, or tensions they experience in this part of their life.
Find a way to relate to this and approach things from a place of empathy (for example, maybe you had a similar experience which is what led you to start your business).
Find out if they’ve ever tried to find a solution and how that went.
Start to build trust and credibility by sharing your unique point of view on this (Maybe you disagree with the way your industry does things and you do things very differently).
Aim to provide free value for them on the spot without any expectation (be careful not to come off as pushing advice they aren’t ready for yet, just try to be helpful).
If they don’t naturally ask about you and what you do by this point, you can ask if there’s anything you can do to help them.
When you talk about what you do, cater it to the things they told you they need or struggle with and use the same language that they used. You don’t need to share EVERYTHING, just the things that are relevant to them.
Answer any questions they have and focus on humbly providing information, not just pushing for a sale.
If they haven’t already told you what they think about hiring you, ask them if what you offer feels like something that could help them.
If they are ready to hire you, have a way to accept credit card payments (ie. Square reader) and lay out specific next steps with them. Tell them when and how they should plan to hear from you next.
If they aren’t ready, find out where they are in their decision making process. You might learn that they are not the decision maker and you can help provide the right kind of information for the person who is. You might learn that they do not need a solution immediately but can find out when in the future would be a good time to follow-up and in what way (call, email, etc.). If you learn that there is a decision barrier that you haven’t addressed yet, discuss that now.
If they aren’t hiring you, consider sending them off (or following up via email) with something of value that will help them remember you, keep you top of mind, or give them a small taste for the value they can expect when working with you.
Why this one powerful sale technique works so well
Approaching sales with a pull technique like the example above will help make your potential client feel:
That you are genuinely interested in and care about them.
That you really get them and what they need.
That you have the perfect offering to solve their needs and make their life better.
That you are a confident expert and successful at what you do (versus desperate for a sale).
That you formed a good connection with them and would be enjoyable to work with.
When you make your client feel these things they’ll want to hire you. You won’t have to push for it.
A real life example
When I owned a coworking space we would approach tours with a pull technique. I knew that people weren’t just signing up for a physical space to work, they were signing up for an experience, a culture, and a community.
When I gave them a tour, my goal was for them to feel welcomed, feel like they belonged here, and feel cared about as a human. Why? Because this was all true and it’s what they’d experience if they joined my coworking space. It was the number one reason people became members and stayed for an average of nearly 20 months (some were members the entire 4.5 years we were open), despite being in an industry that caters towards clients that are very transient.
Whenever someone would come in for a tour, I would invite them to take a seat in our common area and offer them something to drink. I’d build a rapport and learn about them as a person. Then I’d ask them what their work situation was or why they were interested in coworking. Even though they came for a tour or a space, they were always so excited to have someone take an interest in them and be able to relate to what they are going through. And I could because I worked from home for 2 years and I personally really needed a coworking space and it didn’t exist at the time.
Then, when it was time to show them the physical space (which sometimes wouldn’t happen for anywhere from 5 minutes to a whopping 20 minutes depending on how good of a fit they were for our culture and how good of a connection we formed), I was able to cater the tour and focus on things that were important and relevant to them.
For example, if they were new to the city and really struggling to meet people, I’d introduce them to members in the space, try to point out a commonality, and talk about the social events we host. If they needed a place to meet with clients and were fed up with coffee shops I would focus on how the meeting room reservations worked and how we try to make this a welcoming, yet professional place to welcome guests. If they made phone calls as a part of their job, I made sure to talk about our phone call policy and where they can take their calls. If they easily get distracted when they work I would talk more about our quiet workspaces than the more social ones.
At the end of the tour they’d either express interest in signing up on the spot (which I would then go grab my laptop to complete the sign-up) or I’d ask them where they were in their decision making process. If they didn’t need the space yet, had to talk to their spouse, had a few other tours already scheduled, etc. also would ask them if I could follow-up and a good time and method to do that (I talk about how this wasn’t always a strength of mine in my article, 10 Systems to make you a Killer Business Manager, but started managing this better when I started using systems like Less Annoying CRM - which I love so much I’m an affiliate for!).
Tours were our opportunity to sell, but more importantly, they were an opportunity to establish a relationship and set an expectation for what their experience would be like if they became a customer. I believe this was one of they reasons we always got such amazing feedback and why when someone was a good fit, they pretty much knew on the spot.
And I owe it all to using a PULL versus PUSH technique.
Never start a sales conversation with a sales pitch. This type of PUSH sales technique rarely works.
Instead, approach sales with a PULL technique focused on gathering information and building a rapport.
With this approach there will naturally be a time for you to talk about what you do and can instead focus the information you provide on what’s important and relevant to them and hopefully even provide a little value to give them a taste for working with you.
This way they will come to believe that you are the perfect fit for them (if you actually are) versus you trying to convince them of this and potentially turning them off.
Once you make a sale
Getting a new client is a time to celebrate. It’s also an important time to gather information - information that’ll help you deliver a WOW experience - information that will allow you to improve your business, marketing, and sales approach over time. But I know this is a step that most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t make a priority. You’ve got a lot on your plate and who the heck has time to figure out the right questions to ask?!
That’s why I’m gonna make it super simple for you.
Get my free copy and paste-able Client Intake Questionnaire. You can download it for free below.
I’m Stacy, an entrepreneur, strategist, and adventurer dedicated to helping you craft your dream business out of your skills & passions. Why? Because I think you should love your life and that’s kind of hard to do if you don’t love your work.
You are meant to do important and amazing things in this world and I’m here to help you do just that.
You might also be interested in these articles
You don’t want to miss this.
Sign up to get these strategy articles delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.