How to Sell to Anyone
Sales professionals are nothing if not adaptable. While many salespeople navigated new rules for selling due to the pandemic, including a significant shift away from in-person meetings, many actually thrived despite a year of hardships. Data shows that 59 percent of sales professionals believe they became more successful at sales in 2020. Having to sell mainly through other mediums, whether that be phone calls, email, or Zoom, left many unable to rely on typical nonverbal cues. The most successful salespeople, however, are able to anticipate and react to differences and nuances specific to each individual they’re selling to.
Selling requires much more than a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, that thinking is pretty much setting any salesperson up for failure. When talking to customers across different regions or even countries, with different personalities and motivators, your approach must be tailored to each individual. After all, if you know the product is a fit for your prospect, you’re actually selling yourself to them to make a sale. Undervaluing the importance of building a relationship is one of the biggest mistakes I see with salespeople. Here are some key factors that play a role in the success of closing deals.
Tailor Your Sales Pitch to the Individual
This is especially important considering that more sales meetings are happening virtually rather than in person. There are certain techniques salespeople need to use to create the same rapport or relationship, such as tuning into the person to get a read into their energy and personality. You also have to understand the nuances of regional differences. Certain markets want to get straight down to business; others expect friendly small talk to build into a conversation. Pay attention to times zones too—you may be catching one prospect bright-eyed when they are just starting their morning, and another who is exhausted and about to call it quits after a long day. Knowing who you’re dealing with for every conversation is crucial.
Be an Active Listener
The best way to gauge a customer’s demeanor is to let them do the talking at first. Then you can match their tone and speaking manner accordingly. Letting them open up the conversation will also allow you to get a feel for the pain points they want addressed, the frustrations they may have with their current solution, and the biggest opportunities you have. Having a comprehensive picture of what they're looking for (including understanding what they see as the biggest priority) will allow you to focus on the specific product features to highlight that will matter most.
Educate with Empathy
Regardless of conversation or personality type, connecting to each customer individually is essential in nurturing a (hopefully) long professional relationship. To create empathy, tune in to their needs. Educate yourself on not only what they need, but the ins and outs of the market and your competitors. Remember that tailored training is a crucial step in the sales process. The entire customer journey, from onboarding to the ongoing experience, is much more valuable as more people are selling remotely. Having a deep understanding of a customer’s needs and motivators will go a long way and prime you to preempt future concerns.
14 Days to Fail…or Close
The demo period when a customer is trying your product for themselves is one of the easiest opportunities to close a deal—if you do it right. If you’re not in close contact with the prospect throughout this period, you might as well count it as a loss. Onboarding and training are a given. If the customer doesn’t understand how to use the product to get the results they need, they might choose another tool, even if it’s a worse product, because it had better onboarding. But it’s not just one and done. Check in regularly to get feedback as they are using the product in real time and make sure you get the answers to any questions they may have. Highlight features that you think will be most helpful based on the information you gathered in the early stages of the relationship.
Having a carefully considered sales process from start to finish, from individualized pitches and training to ongoing education, will go a long way in closing a deal. All of the factors that go into a successful sales pitch are magnified when selling remotely, so it’s important for salespeople to brush up their soft skills. Understand that empathy and personalization can, and often will, play a major role in purchasing decisions, so do your research, sell with empathy, and try to connect with each prospect and customer on a deeper level.
Diogo Silva is a senior account executive at Pipedrive and a global sales expert.