Are you a business owner in constantly changing times, and it seems very difficult to get a sales process down because the methods keep changing every year?
Well, while the methods of sales/marketing and human idiosyncrasies could change very fast, the very principles of sales/persuasion do not change. You need to have the key features of sales to get you the success you want – for example, building a knowledge base for your customers. From my research, and after a quick study of the book Influence by Robert Cialdini, I have realized that Relationship Building, Authority/Consensus and Value Proposition are three principles of sales you can be sure to always work for your business, regardless of the systems or methods you use to actualize them.
In this article, I will break down exactly how to use these 3 sales principles to increase your sales either in your brick and mortar store or online space. Keep in mind that there are many principles embedded in each of these principles I’ll be sharing, and there are many more triggers or factors that could affect a person’s buying decision, so many we couldn’t possibly satisfy all of them.
The principles mentioned in this article are therefore not the only ones but are some of the strongest and most consistent principles you can be sure will always work regardless of what you sell.
Now a disclaimer: This should go without saying, but I am writing these principles in this article for people who have actual businesses (products and services) which are beneficial to people. If you are selling scammy products, this is not for you.
With all this in mind, let’s get started.
The principle of Authority (my definition) states that you should follow an expert, especially in a field you know little about.
The principle of Consensus is a bit similar, and it states that you should look to see what the tribe (people who are exactly like you) is doing and do the same.
While these principles are different and often taught differently, I have put them together in this article because they are the principles that involve using other people’s influence to sell your product, service or idea.
If you just learned about personal development yesterday, and you do not know which books you should start reading or which guru you should start following, the first thing you’d probably do is a Google search which would look like:
“Which personal development books are the best?”
“Which personal development workshop can I attend in Ohio?”
“Which online personal development coach should I work with?”
When you get the search results, you’ll either browse through some recommendations on Google or in a top community like reddit or Quora and pick the most recommended. Why?
Because if so many people can vouch for them, then they must be the best. It is the same reason a person seems to be more attractive when he/she gets featured in a fashion magazine, or when they have many of your friends calling them attractive.
So how do you use these strong principles for selling?
- Provide good knowledge
If you become famous on Twitter for providing industry specific knowledge that works for your followers, they are going to view you as an authority, and buy your products when the time comes.
- Mingle with other top authorities
If you can get top authorities in your industry to endorse you, you will sell more. You can get top authorities to endorse you by building a relationship with them, doing quality work for them, referencing them when you share content and so on.
If, as a girl, you met a guy today, would you be open to marrying him immediately? I doubt it. No matter how much you like him, you’d want to spend some time building a relationship, getting to know him better before you make that life-changing decision. This same can apply to a salesperson and prospects. Unless there is some level of trust and communication, people might not feel too comfortable handing business over to someone they barely know. However, most of the times salespeople tend to be so busy doing administrative tasks such as creating prospect lists and writing sales email templates that they are unable to give time to the relationship-building process with their prospects. This can be changed with the help of various sales prospecting tools (pop over here for an example) that can take over repetitive tasks like managing prospect lists and such, leaving salespeople to focus on the “human” aspect of closing a deal.
This principle of relationship building is simply a little combination of the principles of Liking, Reciprocity and Commitment.
While the choice of who to buy from might be less important than the choice of a partner for lifelong commitment, the principles behind them are the same:
People are more likely to buy from people they know, like and trust.
How do people learn to like and trust you?
- By making yourself relatable
The reason why rags to riches stories work in personal development is because a lot of people seeking personal development can relate to them. The can relate to being broke, out of shape, being a misfit, etc., and they think “Oh, if this guy who was just like me could do it, then I can too! I just need to learn what he knows!”
Spend some time researching your target clients and understanding their life as it is to them, then use words that describe their lives even better than they can describe it themselves.
- By giving them something first
If you can help your target client with something of value that benefits them, they are more likely to like you and want to give back to you.
The value of your product, and how you present this value to your target customer is very important in influencing their buying decision.
This principle is based on the principles of scarcity and contrast.
If you can show that your product is better than the other options your customer has seen, and you can demonstrate scarcity, then you’ll be more likely to attract more customers fast.
How do you achieve this?
- By giving your customer every piece of knowledge they need
Sales quotes should provide the customers with every piece of information that is there about the product/service. For instance, if you are selling life insurance, you ought to provide your potential customers with different insurance products, tell them how the coverage work, how you can proceed to claim the money, and so on. Since it is the digital era of insurance, it won’t be as time-consuming as the traditional way of insurance sales.
Remember that you need to include every single nitty-gritty of your product that is important to help the customer make the right decision and add it to your sales content.
- By listing features and benefits
Find out the features that your product has and tie them to the benefits your target clients are looking for. Don’t just waste away a sales opportunity by listing only the features. Include the transformation they are sure to get if they use your product or service and make them dream about having that transformation.
- By having a well-defined Unique Selling Proposition
You must find out that important element in your product or service that makes it better than the other products your target customers would normally see. When you find it, describe it properly and present it to your customer the best way possible.
- By injecting some scarcity
Humans like doing things on deadline day. It is therefore you give them a time or space deadline to prompt a quick response and give the idea of scarcity in the sales of your product.
The system you use to market to your prospect doesn’t matter, as long as they use the principles of marketing. Now, this is not a 100% guarantee that you will get every single person you attempt these principles with, but it will improve your sales considerably.
Also, it is important that you use these tips nobly and only when you have a truly valuable service to sell. If you use these principles to scam people (and you can), you’ll be a con man, not a businessman or salesman, and that cannot sustain you in the long run.
Infographic created by Clover Network, a point of sale system company