There's no single sales methodology that will deliver in all circumstances.
Forward-thinking sales managers and their executives need to consider different sales techniques depending on their sector and target market.
For example, the best sales techniques for B2B companies will rarely be ideal when selling to consumers.
In sales, success relies on adapting your methods to earn the best results. That's why understanding even the basics of each sales technique is so useful.
With a better understanding of different sales techniques, you'll be better placed to identify and apply the right method for the situation at hand.
Learn more about different sales techniques that just work.
The challenger sale method, characterized by taking control of the selling process, is the best sales technique to ramp up the volume of closed deals. Particularly effective when customers consider themselves too preoccupied to build a relationship, this method has been proven successful in many B2B organizations.
It involves following a three-part strategy.
Offer fresh, educational insights to engage savvy customers. The challenger sale method educates prospects about new solutions, revealing needs they might not have thought of themselves. The method relies on encouraging the customer to adopt a game-changing perspective. Demonstrate innovative products or services to show the prospect what they haven't had time to research independently.
You'll meet different personalities as your sale progresses from your initial contact toward the decision-maker. Each person will demand a different strategy, meaning you must have a contact management process organized. Align your messages with the company's ethos and the wider goals and concerns of each prospect. Explore their websites and corporate literature so you can mirror their culture effectively.
To seal a deal, aim at your ultimate goal doggedly but don’t be too aggressive. Engage decision-makers and influencers alike. If there's resistance, the challenger sale technique involves pivoting seamlessly from cost to value, pushing your customer to think differently and engage with your proposition.
To get the challenger sale method right:
- Plan each conversation before it happens so you know how and when to steer it towards your end goal
- Remember that each conversation is an exchange of views and you should be practicing active listening
- Be prepared to walk away from a deal if the transaction isn’t right for all parties.
This is the best sales technique if the customer has indicated they're looking for a long-term relationship. Like all of the best sales techniques, it can be deployed in numerous scenarios. However, it's particularly useful when a customer knows they have a need but no idea how to meet that requirement.
There are six principles to follow in solution selling:
- Speak with the customer
- Listen to their needs and ask probing questions about their challenges
- Focus on their pain points and analyze them
- Tell the customer what their challenges are
- Suggest appropriate solutions to meet their needs
- Close the deal.
Step one - Before making initial contact, gather intel on the prospect. Understand their business. Know which competitors you might be up against. Anticipate the sort of questions you might be asked and then approach your prospect.
Step two – Progress with broad questions, then get more detail. For example, lead with a general question about a process the customer carries out and then focus on the problems they encounter when executing it. Doing this will help you to frame how your solution could overcome their issues.
Step three - Listen to what they say, and notice what they skip over. Non-verbal clues about their pain points matter and can sometimes be expressed by what's not said or from the tone of voice. Let them lead, but ask for clarifications to show you're really listening. Summarize their points to ensure clarity. Pay close attention to their commercial priorities.
Step four – Tell the customer what you've learned about their challenges, not your product. Showcase why you're there to assist rather than demonstrating your solution.
Step five - Suggest how certain aspects of their pain points could be overcome with the right solution. If they go quiet, remind them of the valuable insights you've gathered. Always prioritize their needs and indicate how your solution will offer improvements.
Step six – Close the deal, having qualified your prospects. Talk to the decision-maker who has the authority to make a purchasing decision. If they hesitate, highlight the risk of inaction.
To get the solution selling method right:
- Understand your customer's goals fully.
- Show how you can solve their problems in pursuit of their goals.
- Demonstrate how your solution satisfies their needs in the longer term and how your relationship with them will be beneficial moving forward.
Among the best sales techniques for in-person sales, SPIN selling puts the customer in the driver's seat and lets them do the talking. Developed in the 1980s, the main idea of this sales technique is to avoid asking wrong or inappropriate questions that might put the prospect off. Instead, you allow them to run the sales process.
SPIN selling involves deploying four types of open questions to help nudge the prospect toward closure. These are:
Question one – Ask questions that will help you understand the challenges your prospect faces. If you want to find out what your prospect might be after, don't ask them whether they want to buy a house. Instead, inquire what sort of property they see themselves living in. In a B2B environment, ask what the purchasing process is — not who's in charge of procurement decisions.
Question two – When you’ve got a better understanding of their situation, ask questions that help you focus on the customer's problems or pain points. This helps you figure out what products or services to suggest. Inquire about the biggest issue with their current service/solution or what problems their current supplier might cause them, for example.
Question three – Next, question your customer about the implications of their pain points. Deliberately ask them to focus on the negative sides of their problems. For example, ask what would happen if they failed to make changes to their solution or what might happen if their supplier let them down in more than one way at the same time.
Question four – Having established how bad things might get, ask your customers what they truly need to make things better. This means rather than suggesting your solution's benefits, you're getting them to identify improvements.
To recap, to utilize the SPIN selling method:
- Ask open-ended questions, not closed ones
- Put questions to your prospect in the right order – don't jump to need before focusing on problems
- Avoid directly suggesting solutions and allow the customer to work out the answers for themselves.
Also called ABS, account-based selling is a B2B selling method that aims to align marketing activities with sales work. It's often the best sales technique for big deal sizes where additional service and attention are needed to help close the deal.
Account-based selling is typically reserved for:
- High-net-worth individuals
- Businesses that procure frequently with repeat orders
- High-value businesses which require a hands-on sales process
Note that account-based selling means appointing a dedicated sales team member to handle all the sales interactions between the customer and your firm. As a supplier, orders might be sent directly in, but the account manager should always have oversight for all orders. Their expertise in the customer's needs will be used to assess whether orders need to be prioritized, fit the client's true business needs, and have been ordered in sufficient quantities.
To get ABS right:
- Sales managers need sufficient executives to manage all their company accounts
- Sales development executives will need to hand over to appointed account managers at the appropriate time
- Marketing materials should be produced with specific customer accounts in mind
- To offer unique selling propositions (USPs), bespoke products and services should be developed for high-value accounts
To learn more, read this blog post.
Social selling is most suited to B2C models. Just as effective in many B2B markets, social selling means using social media platforms to inform and influence prospects. Developed from direct marketing models that encouraged salespeople to leverage networks of family and friends to drive sales, social selling is the modern, digital version.
With social selling, businesses leverage their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram accounts to promote their products and services. Social selling is also widely used to announce promotions and offers to help drive sales. By building an online community of customers and prospects, you can quickly communicate whatever you want to market. However, this must be backed up with the ability to respond rapidly to online queries and suggestions.
Social selling is useful because:
- It's a cost-effective way to reach a large audience
- It helps sales reps develop genuine relationships with prospects
- It helps build credibility in tandem with reviews and testimonials.
Building a successful social selling strategy requires more than 'tweeting' a few posts. You'll also need to back it up by measuring your metrics to identify which posts obtain best responses. It's also a good idea to join online groups or forums to demonstrate how your business can overcome problems by showcasing effective solutions. Don't just stick to your own social media timelines.
To get social selling right:
- Sales managers should focus on quality content over quantity
- New posts and responses should be genuine and meaningful
- Businesses must commit the necessary resources, or they’ll find that social selling won’t make a difference.
In consultative selling, you'll offer prospects a consultation with the ultimate goal of converting them into a sale by using the opportunity to point out the benefits of your solution. This method is one of the best sales techniques for selling professional services, but it also has other wide-ranging applications.
There are four steps you need to follow for a successful consultative selling strategy:
- Ask the right questions
- Ensure you listen to the responses actively
- Educate your prospect
- Offer an authentic solution.
Step one – During a consultation, ask open questions that’ll elicit a detailed response. Question what your prospect wants to achieve from the consultation or why they've asked for one, for example.
Step two – When listening to your prospect's response, pay close attention to their answers and seek clarifications to demonstrate you're taking on board what they're saying. Doing so will also help you to better understand their needs.
Step three – Tell your customer about similar clients you’ve helped in the past and how helped them overcome their pain points. Suggest a plan that can help them and point out whether this would help with any related issues.
Step four – With a general plan established, put together a proposal tailored to meet their specific needs. If you're offering a competitor solution, highlight the advantages of your product compared to the one currently in use.
To get the consultative selling method right:
- Provide a genuine consultation that weighs all the options fairly
- Spend time diagnosing your customer's pain points before suggesting remedies
- If no solution exists, say so, but feel free to offer products and services that might mitigate your client's problems.
Psychology is an intrinsic part of sales. This isn’t so much a tactic in its own right, more a complementary process you should consider to help you close more deals.
In psychology, cognitive biases affect everything from memory and behavior to judgment and decision-making. By getting to know the potential biases of your prospects, such as why they think their current solution must be better than anything you could offer, you'll find ways to break down barriers between you and your customers.
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a widely accepted psychological theory that's part of what makes humans social beings. For example, explaining to customers that they might miss out on time-limited deals or remaining stock can drive them toward a purchasing decision.
The more authoritative you are in the eyes of your clients, the more likely they'll buy from you. Use your industry or personal experience to demonstrate you’ve got knowledge your prospect can benefit from. This psychological aspect of selling comes down to presenting yourself as an authority.
To utilize the psychological components of sales you should consider:
- Empathize with your prospects and try to see things from their perspective
- Be consistent and respond rapidly to any of their concerns
- Work on the first impressions you create because remember - first impressions count!
- Find out what underpins your customers' goals so you can find ways of addressing them meaningfully.
Now that you have the basics of the best sales techniques, why not start putting them into action? A key part of effectively deploying any sales techniques can be complemented by a CRM.
Learn more about Capsule CRM to help improve your sales process and try our 14-day free trial.