In the intricate path of sales, having successful selling techniques in one-on-one meetings is a must. It's not about pushing a product; it's about serving, asking the right questions, active listening, empathizing, and skillful summarizing. Let's unravel the layers of a potent sales meeting technique inspired by the S.A.L.E.S. framework, Win Without Pitching Manifesto, and the teachings of Chris Do, one of my greatest mentors.
What does it mean to sell?
Selling is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It's a nuanced process that transcends the mere pitching, presenting, convincing, or manipulation mindsets. It's about understanding the essence of service.
Selling Techniques in One-on-One Meetings
S.A.L.E.S. Serve. Ask. Listen. Empathize. Summarize
Mindset Shift: Approach every interaction with a genuine intent to help, without expecting immediate returns. For this, it is super important that you truly believe in the service you provide, aligned with a meaningful vision and mission. Also, you must avoid acting in a "needy" way. You must make peace that, for A or for B, this lead might not end up in a close deal.
Act in the Best Interest: Display a spirit of generosity by acting in the best interest of others. If you are simply involved in your business to make a profit, well, good luck. The best business strategy is value creation. That is why long-lasting services and products have genuinely benefited people, and if you could also make the world a better place while making a living, then you will forever be motivated and fulfilled.
Silencing the "Advice Monster": I can't emphasize this more. Focus on impactful questions rather than immediate advice. Most probably, you won't close the deal in a first meeting. Maybe if you are super lucky. So then, in the first meeting take the opportunity to get to know your lead, its business model, its challenges, its goals, and everything that will help you understand. Believe me, this should be trustworthy to your lead as well showing once again that you have a genuine interest in helping.
Best Questions Start with "What":
Open discussions neutrally and unbias.
Let's picture this, you have a custom software developing business. You have managed to schedule your first meeting with a qualified lead. Your information about the lead is limited. You looked up its name, validated its role, and maybe you already know a little bit about what might be its needs. Now it is time to prepare for that meeting and try to evacuate all the doubts you might have and truly validate if you are right for each other.
Here is a complete list of questions you should have when meeting with the lead that will help you conduct the conversation. It is up to you to decide when and how to use them.
What’s on your mind?
What inspired you to create this?
What’s the big problem you’re trying to solve?
Figure out what their goals are.
What are the pain points or challenges the applications are addressing for their users?
Who's your target user base for this app?
Are there any specific demographics in mind?
What is a big win for you?
What’s getting in your way of accomplishing this?
What are the must-have features or functionalities of this app?
Any unique twists or special user experiences you envision for this app?
Do you need help with this (Ideation & UXUI)?
When are you looking to kick off this project and get the app up and running?
What is the budget you have for this project?
What is the ceiling you have?
What is open for re-imagining?
What are your expectations from a tech partner like us? How do you prefer to collaborate?
How do you plan to measure success once the app is out there and being used?
Is security a concern for transactions within the app? How crucial is this aspect to you?
Have you had experiences with software development partners before? Anything you found particularly effective or challenging?
Listen More, Talk Less: Acknowledge that listening is a strategic advantage.
Affirmations: Use affirming gestures to demonstrate understanding.
Mirroring: Repeat the last words to reinforce active listening.
If the client says “We would love to develop an amazing website”, you repeat back, “So, an amazing website”.
Understand the Client's Pain: Focus on the emotion, not just the solution.
Help Them Relive It: Understand how it feels to lack a solution.
Labeling the Emotion: Express understanding using statements like "It sounds like…"
It sounds like…you’re frustrated about the lack of transparency with your last vendor.
It sounds like…not having a solution is costing your organization hundreds of thousands in lost sales.
It sounds like…cash flow is an issue right now. Is that the problem?
It sounds like…you’re upset that the last company told you one thing and did something else entirely.
Playback What You Heard: Demonstrate understanding by summarizing major points.
Opportunity to Confirm: Seek confirmation and inquire if there's anything else.
If I understand you correctly, here’s what I gathered:
Is that correct?
Is there anything else?
The Goal of Sales is to Inspire the Prospect to Make a Decision
Sales is not about dictating choices; it's about guiding prospects through their challenges and helping them make informed decisions.
Congratulations on mastering the framework!
Now, let's delve into the close.
Decisions are scary.
From what I’m hearing…
If we could ensure the delivery of new features, generating a significant increase in traffic, then you'd consider this a success.
If we submit a proposal for $65k by the end of this week, then you’re ready to move forward next month? Is that correct?
These conditional/hypothetical closes gently transition from the hypothetical to a commitment, providing a secure space for the prospect to express intentions.
The Goal of Sales Meetings: Inspire the Prospect to Make a Decision, NOT to Tell Them What to Do.
The journey is not just about transactions; it's about building connections and mastering the art of selling techniques. As you hone your skills, remember that the true triumph lies in inspiring prospects to make informed choices. So, embrace this guide, navigate the nuances, and let each one-on-one meeting be a symphony of success in your journey to perfect sales techniques.