“Sales” can be a shady word to many tech professionals. After all, this is the same community that developed open source code, file-sharing, and unrestricted access to information around the globe.
But there’s another way to think about selling. It’s something that can…
- Leave your clients and customers feeling happier.
- Earn you more revenue from existing clients.
- Make you and your business more successful.
It’s not about slimy sales tactics or high-pressure situations. Today’s selling is all about helping the customer as much as possible. The more you can help, the more you’ll sell. We’ve got five tips to help you do just that.
1. Focus on Serving the Customer / Client
First off, you may need to change the way you imagine sales.
Got the image of a 1972 used car salesman with a cheap suit and slicked-back hair?
That’s the typical caricature of a salesperson people invoke, says
David Hoffeld (@DavidHoffeld),
CEO and chief sales trainer of
“The reality is that for any product or service these days, that type of salesperson is a dinosaur,” he says. “They struggle in the modern marketplace.”
It’s important to get rid of that old stigma if it’s holding you back. Instead, Hoffeld recommends thinking about selling in terms of “How can I influence customers in positive ways and better serve them?”
How you do that depends on how resourceful you can be for your clients and customers.
2. Become a Resource
“Most sales people are seen as ‘money takers’ and not as a ‘resource,’” says
Ryan Dohrn (@ryandohrn),
founder and CEO of
Sales Training World.
“From day one of the prospecting process, the sales rep needs to position themselves as an industry expert or someone that is all about helping the client.”
Dohrn suggests interacting with potential clients in ways that establish your helpfulness. As examples, he says you might…
- Share an article or video.
- Invite them to attend a growth-oriented webinar.
- Send an invite to attend a conference call with others in the industry.
“If all you do is sell,” Dohrn says, “you will always be seen as a salesperson."
3. Upselling Comes Naturally When You Lead with Insights
When it comes to selling more of your products or services, look for additional ways you can serve the client.
“Customers are extremely receptive,” Hoffeld says. “They come with a problem, but they also want confidence and they’re leaning heavily on this expert.”
Look for either a problem that’s different than the one the customer brought to you or at the full scope of the problem, Hoffeld advises. Help them understand…
- What’s causing the problem;
- The consequences;
- The pain points;
- Who is being affected.
As an outsider, you may be able to offer a fresh, broadened perspective.
“Lead with insights,” Hoffeld says. “After you understand their situation, then you can say something like, ‘In addition to what we talked about, have you ever considered…?’”
With this approach focusing on the client, upselling is a natural process.
4. Excite the Client by Being Excited
You know the value you’re providing the client. You’re helping them by providing your expertise. So why be unenthusiastic when offering them more?
“Remove the apologetic tone from your voice,” Dohrn says. “Offer greater savings and great advantages to the client during the upsell process. Package it all as big value! I want to hear the excitement in your voice that the upsell or cross sell will increase the value proposition to the client.”
Cross-selling and upselling can be fantastic ways to strengthen your relationship with a client and increase your revenue at the same time – just be sure you’re not relying too much on few big clients.
5. You’ll Get Better the More You Practice
Nobody is born great at sales. It takes practice.
Hoffeld says even an outgoing extrovert feels uncomfortable the first few times he or she tries to sell, because it’s new. But the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become. Try…
- Practicing with coworkers.
- Rehearsing in front of a mirror.
- Recording yourself on video.
Get some level of feedback in a safe space so that if you make a mistake, you don’t hurt your sales.
“I’ve seen, over the years, people who were very leery of doing sales, very technical people,” Hoffeld says, “but once they understood how they could better serve their customers, and they see such a positive response, they see how they’re helping them – now they enjoy it.”
Not convinced? Give it a try and see what happens. Want a little more guidance first? Check out “4 Proven Selling Strategies for People Who Hate Selling” for more tips.
About the experts:
David Hoffeld is an experienced sales leader and CEO of sales training firm Hoffeld Group. He’s also the author of the upcoming book The Science of Selling: Proven Strategies to Make Your Pitch, Influence Decisions, and Close the Deal.
Ryan Dohrn is a 25-year sales and marketing veteran and has held leadership roles with several Fortune 500 companies. He’s the creator of the Selling Backwards Sales System and founder of Brain Swell Media. He coaches and trains sales people from all walks of life.