by Ian Altman
Republished from Inc, July 12, 2018
Sales are the lifeline of your business. Without them, your business would go nowhere. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to generate sales. One way is pushy and desperate. The other way is to the benefit of both the seller and the buyer. Sadly, many professionals spend their time trying to close sales the wrong way because they don’t understand the real reasons why customers buy. Hopefully, you know which is the right way and which is the wrong way.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t blame sales professionals for their selling behaviors. Unfortunately, that’s how many of them were taught to sell. Old-school selling tactics rely heavily on three common misconceptions that actually hurt a company’s chances of earning clients’ trust and loyalty, and therefore, growing their revenue. But there’s a better way to do business.
Here are the three common myths that salespeople fall for when trying to land a new sale–and what you can do instead.
Myth No. 1–The lowest price always wins
This is, arguably, the biggest and most pernicious myth of all time. Often, I hear salespeople and business owners offering clients discounts just to make a sale–and, in doing so, they devalue their products and services while undermining their credibility. Not the best way to build a reputable brand.
Of course, there’s no denying that price plays a part in all sales transactions, but it’s not the driving factor. Let me repeat that: It’s Not The Driving Factor. Customers don’t buy because your products or services are “too expensive” or because the competition offered a cheaper deal. The reason customers don’t buy is because they either don’t believe that their problem is worth solving or they don’t have confidence that you can deliver results that justify the investment. Rarely do customers base their decisions solely on price.
As business owners, we have to ask ourselves: Are clients more motivated to save a few bucks or are they more motivated to see results? In other words, would clients rather pay discounted prices for mediocre outcomes or might they be willing to pay 10 percent more for exceptional results?
Myth No. 2–Bells and whistles matter
Here’s another myth that needs to die. How can I say this politely? Customers don’t care about all the gizmos in your gadgets!
Customers only care whether or not your products and service can help them overcome a challenge or drive better results. By thinking that the features and capabilities of your products are THE main selling points, you miss out on tremendous opportunities to build lasting relationships with customers that, in turn, will yield healthy sales. The main reason customers buy from one company over another is how well they feel you understand their situation, rather than what your capabilities or products and services do.
Instead, sales people need to focus on customers’ issues, how those issues are impacting their businesses if left unattended, and the results they’re looking for. If you can connect their challenges with your solution, then you’ll make their lives easier.
Myth No. 3–Urgency will move customers to buy
This myth is a sneaky one. While it’s true that sometimes customers need a nudge to get them off the fence, rarely does creating a false sense of urgency ever lead to lasting or profitable results. In fact, most of the time these sleazy tactics will backfire. Instead of creating urgency, salespeople sound desperate.
If, early on in the process, it feels like you are more anxious to sell something than to solve a customer’s underlying issue, you will come across as pushy and salesy–two perceptions you want to avoid.
Instead, if you said to a client, “Here are the kinds of problems we solve for other people. I’m not sure if it’s a good fit for you, but let’s explore the possibilities,” you’re displaying some humility and sincerity that maybe the solution really is not a good fit. A customer is more likely to trust you if you say that than if you push them to make decisions they weren’t ready to make.
The key here is not to be manipulative or underhanded; we can all tell when someone is being disingenuous. It has to be your honest feeling about what you’re trying to solve for the customer. And sometimes that means saying, “We’re not a good fit” and referring them to someone else who can help. And who knows? That might earn you that client’s business in the future.
If you want to increase sales and grow your business, separating truth from myth is the first step toward reaching those goals. By avoiding the mistakes that so many sales people make, you can set yourself apart and achieve amazing results.