Set your target audience
One of the biggest challenges we face in business is that potential customers don’t always fit our ideal buyer profile. Many buyers are indecisive, and without proper qualifications, you can end up wasting your highly valuable selling time. This might seem like a paradox, but the secret of selling anything to anybody is not attempting to sell just anything to just anybody.
Just about every successful salesperson worth her salt will tell you that, before she makes a call to “anybody” who might be in the market for her product or service, she has already done considerable homework. This involves creating an ideal buyer profile, and it’s like having a secret weapon.
Obviously, you can’t please everyone. In fact, trying to do this is a dangerous path to the wrong side of project failure. Instead, concentrate on the ideal buyer profile (IBP) that your product or service most benefits.
You can try, but you’ll be spinning your wheels. Even if you do manage to make the sale, it won’t last. This is because so many sales are generated by a market fit and an ideal customer profile, not just a need or want.
Identify your ICP – Ideal Customer Profile:
- Budget / Revenue / Company Size – what is the lowest cost threshold that a customer would have to pay for your product or service?
- Industry – are there specific verticals that you work within? Are there verticals that you don’t work with?
- Geography – do you not sell to a particular region?
- Legality – are there legal reasons that limit your potential customer base, maybe age, location, or government restrictions?
- Product or Service Limitations – do you have a service level agreement (SLA) with your customers to meet a certain response time? If someone needs a response quicker, can you guarantee you’ll be able to meet that demand?
It’s not just about You. Make it about your Customers, too
Whether you make sales via networking, cold calling or even retail, the rule of sales is that you make it about the buyer. Just like if you are telling a story – make the buyer the hero.
How do you make it about the buyer? Start with the context of the situation. Then set the tone for what their gain is for taking action. When you break it down like this, even if you are not selling a physical product, the rule still applies.
If you are selling insurance help them live the life they want. If you are selling a lawnmower help them keep their yard tidy.
You are sitting across from a prospective customer, and you have to convince him that your product is the solution to his problems. It’s a common scenario and one in which you can bring him on board if you make it about him.
Ever think about what a comedian does and how he sells his jokes?
In almost any sales situation, you’ll be pitching someone how your product is going to help them in some way. Now if you’ve ever seen a standup comedy routine, you probably noticed that the comedian makes sure that he/she does not insult the audience, but instead makes it about them. In other words, the comedian makes fun of him or herself for the benefit of the audience.
Do Social Listening, find that Market Gap
Okay, so you’ve decided on your market and you’re now going to make sales – congratulations! This is when things start to get more interesting. You’ll need to research prospective buyers, so you know how to reach them, what they value most in a product or service, and what is likely to persuade them.
It is important to make sure you have done your market research before making a sales offer. You must know your product or service well, and know what it is worth and what you are willing to give for it. It can happen that you think a certain job will only take you two hours to do but, in reality, it takes you five. Knowing how long a certain job will take allows you to come up with an idea of how much you should charge for the work you are doing.
Whether you are looking to sell your own product or a third-party product, the first and most important thing you need to do before even beginning any sales attempts is understand your audience.
Try asking yourself these questions:
- What makes them tick?
- What moves them emotionally?
- How can you approach them in a way that will allow you to express your offer in the best possible light?
Try to have as much information on your prospects as possible, so you can tailor your sales presentations with precision. Also, make sure you’re familiar with your product and that you know its benefits.
Generate leads and speak with them. Reaching out to your prospects is always the best and most direct way to connect the dots in your market research. What do they think about the idea behind your product? Do they consider needing it?
Here are some places to research prospects before you attempt to engage them in conversation:
- Twitter (prospect’s individual account and company’s account)
- Company’s press releases page
- Competitors’ press releases pages
- Company financial statements
- Google (prospect and company)
You should know that most customers are already loyal to one of your competitors. Now, if you want to convince them to buy from you instead, what do you think would convince them that you’re better? Can you address their pain points?
Don’t lead your client away from the real scope of the chosen product or service. Do not make your products too expensive, unless you are targeting the upper-class market and matching their expectations, otherwise, you’ll only lose more than what you can make a profit from ever. Don’t target the audience who can’t afford it, or it will only hurt your business by gaining negative feedback.
Lastly, provide information to be transparent and build your credibility in your chosen market. This is one way to match their needs. Always give a detailed list of delivery times for products and services so the buyer has a better idea of when the product will be ready for them.
Provide Value first, then Sell
So it’s safe to say that you want to be selling. But how do you sell something when the other person doesn’t want to buy it? Well, for starters, provide VALUE before your pitch. Ask yourself what could be of service, and then offer it. Not sure where you can help? ASK. YOURSELF. From the market’s standpoint.
Don’t jump in with your pitch right off the bat.
If you want to close more of your sales and consistently sell over quota, then you need to start offering value first, then pitching your product. Sure, you may have a good product that solves your customers’ problems. But it doesn’t matter if the customer never hears about it.
Provide value first, then sell. It’s a simple principle that we can all keep in mind as we go about selling our products or services. An acronym to keep in mind is CIA — it’s one of the most notorious intelligence agency names in the world, and probably not one you generally think of when trying to land clients. But in the sales world, it’s a helpful tool to remember the three parts of successful sales: (C)onfidence, (I)nvestment and (A)ttention.
Don’t forget that You’re Dealing with Humans (like you)
Meet your customers at their own level and don’t be like the rest.
Are you a ‘tough-sell’ type of person or do you prefer to be more conversational? Do you like being aggressive or friendly? Do you come across as confident or cautious? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Understanding your own personal attributes will help you identify what kind of personality traits are common among your target audience.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the four main personality types, and their preferences:
- Assertive: Interested in results and the bottom line.
- Amiable: Interested in creative ideas and big-picture visions.
- Expressive: Interested in people and how ideas affect others.
- Analytics: Interested in facts, figures, and data.
Once you know which group a prospect belongs to, you can tailor your messaging and presentation to hit the points that matter most to them.
Target an Emotional Point
A good salesperson understands that a customer’s decision to buy is not purely rational. “Rational” decisions are made using logic, but there’s no such thing as a purely rational decision. Like it or not, our emotions colour how we process information and make decisions. With this in mind, salespeople who appeal solely to their buyers’ logic are doing themselves a disservice.
Here are a few ways to sell more by hitting an emotional high point
- Appeal to them on their emotional aspect. According to sales expert Geoffrey James, greed, fear, altruism, envy, pride, and shame are the emotions that trigger our decision-making.
- Present Social Proof. Prove your credibility by using third-party endorsements or testimonials from satisfied customers.
- Inspire your prospects. Use case studies and anecdotes to illustrate the benefits of your product or service without saying anything directly about it at all.
- Focus on what your target audience cares about — how will they benefit from working with you?
No matter how much experience you have in sales, there’s always room to improve. Even seasoned veterans can learn a few new tricks.
The information here is designed to make you a more effective communicator, and to boost your chances of making a positive first impression. If you apply these techniques whenever you’re meeting or even just staying in touch with potential clients, you should find that it pays off in spades over time.
Stay tuned for more marketing tips and tricks!