Sales are the driver of your business—of any business. Nothing happens until a sale is made. Without sales, we would have no clients, no revenue, no testimonials… no business.
If you’re like most of the freelancers or small business owners that I meet, you’ve probably said something like, “I hate sales.” When in fact, that’s not true at all.
You don’t hate sales, you hate not selling.
Let’s turn the page on that lie, and give you the tools you need to make more sales. These sales techniques will work for anyone, in any industry, at any time.
Sales Technique #1: Follow a Process
This is more of a rule than a technique, but if you want to get more YESes on your website proposals, you’ll need to use a sales process.
Have you ever had a client give you a verbal yes on the phone, only to disappear when contract time came? Have you ever collected a signed contract only to wait weeks for the deposit? This happens because you aren’t following a process.
Sales is rocket science. And just as rocket science is built from a foundation of physical and mathematical laws and principles, sales, too, can be distilled to its very simple laws and principles.
I use a traditional sales process. It’s a recipe for success. I put all of my contacts into categories—you can imagine them in an Excel file. My only job is to move them through the process and through the pipeline. The categories are:
1.3. Presentation / Demo
1.4. Proposal / Quote
1.6. Close (Won/Lost)
It doesn’t really matter if you have four steps in your process, or twelve, as long as you can visualize your contact moving from stage to stage. This will help you identify who you should spend more time on.
Don’t do the typical Low, Medium, Hot lead type phases—those do not help you follow a process. Until they move from Qualify to Close, they are always hot.
My general rule of thumb when it comes to sales processes is “Call them until they Buy or Die.” That’s a simple rule to remember. You wouldn’t believe how many deals I have made 6, even 12, months after we started talking, simply because I stayed in touch and followed a sales process.
A process gives you guidance. Most people don’t have a process, which is the same as shooting arrows in the dark. You must know what you’re aiming at, or you’ll hit nothing every time. (Also read: Getting Clients to Follow Up After Sending a Website Proposal.)
Sales Technique #2: Ask, Why Not Now?
My son taught me this sales technique one day at Toys R Us. While walking through the store, he picked up a couple toys and asked me if he could get them. I turned to him and said, “Not today, that’s a lot of toys for one day.” He put one down and asked if he could just have one toy today. I told him maybe later, and he asked, “Why not now?”
He wasn’t being a “pushy salesperson,” he was asking me a viable question.
We get this all the time in sales. The prospect will say things like, “This is a bad time,” or “We’re going to hold off,” or “We’ll let you know.” In reality they are saying, “You haven’t earned my trust yet and I still don’t see the value in what you’re selling.”
My response is always the same: WHY NOT NOW? You must get to the real objection, which, believe it or not, isn’t always price. Heck, it’s hardly ever price! So, don’t take “Later,” “Maybe,” “We’ll let you know,” or even, “No” for an answer. Ask more questions. The ask WHY NOT NOW technique is a reminder for you to get to the real objection. It’s also a way to keep the conversation going and keep the sale moving forward.
This technique is more than just asking, “Why not now?” over and over. Here are some other examples that will help you move the deal forward:
- What do you see as the next action steps?
- What is your timeline for implementing / purchasing this type of service / product?
- What other data points should we know before moving forward?
- What budget has been established for this?
- What are your thoughts?
- Who else is involved in this decision?
- What could make this no longer a priority?
- What’s changed since we last talked?
- Why not?
- What concerns do you have?
Your goal is to find the real objection, and it is not price! Sell them on how different, better, whatever YOU are!
Next time you get a prospect that’s on the fence, or is not saying yes, just continue to use the “Why not now?” technique and ask variations of the question. If you do it from a place of curiosity, it’s not pushy at all. It’s your job to help them make a decision.
Sales Technique #3: Let the Prospect Win and Ask for the Sale!
Negotiation isn’t about winning and losing. It’s about building a relationship.
Before you go into your next proposal meeting, I want you to think about the lifetime value of a client (LVC). Often, we are so shortsighted that we don’t even realize that this is just one deal and the start of a relationship. It’s important to go into the proposal meeting ready to negotiate and let your prospect win the deal.
Letting the prospect win isn’t about giving up your revenue or even giving work away. It’s about getting to a YES before your competition gets in front of them!
For example, we build negotiation into our project scopes. While we’re reviewing the scope with our prospect, we let them know that they can pick from a list of extras or simply take an instant X% discount if they will move forward today. This sets urgency and reminds me that I need to close the deal… today.
The only way you’ll close the deal is if you ask them to buy.
You can answer all of their questions, review the scope of work, and even demo your product until you’re blue in the face—but until you ask them to BUY, you will not get the sale.
Doing More Than Hope
Using these 3 techniques will set you apart from your competition. Sales is so much more than sending proposals and hoping the prospect responds. Professional sales is about building relationships.
I encourage you to use these tools, put yourself out there, and become the ultimate example of your brand. Remember, negotiation is 10% skill and 90% attitude.
My definition of sales is: “Helping the right person make the right decision, if the decision is right.”
It’s about presenting a logical argument that your prospect wants to say yes to.
Now go make that sale!