10 Expert Sales Techniques Top Sellers are Using in 2016

sales techniques

We all need a quick refresher every once in awhile. Sometimes our sales processes can get so convoluted or mixed up in other activities, that getting a quick reminder of the basics can really help. That’s why we’ve put together 10 Expert Sales Techniques that should always stay at the core of your sales process.

Top Sellers in 2016 are using these expert sales techniques to drive Sales

Sales Technique #1: Generate Inbound Marketing Activities

Cold-calling is not dead, but calling with inbound engagement is where the action is in 2016. When prospects comment on your social media outreach, it’s usually with questions about your product and services, which automatically pre-qualifies them as interested.

Steve Henke over at Harpeth Marketing says, “Stop cold calling! Cold calling is a lose-lose-lose proposition. First of all, 99% of all salespeople simply hate doing it… and as such, they’re really bad at it. Secondly, 99% of all potential clients hate receiving cold sales calls–they’re interruptive and irritating. Cold calling is one of the least productive things a sales rep can do. Instead, work with management to initiate some inbound marketing activities that generate inquiries and deliver solid sales leads.”

Consider “warm calling” because you can contact people who have already pinged your website or social media sites and invite them to take advantage of further opportunities for education and engagement with your firm.

Sales Technique #2: Find new ways to sell

Top sales professionals micromanage their own online personas where they share victories, opportunities, and tidbits of wisdom gleaned from around the web. Whether you manage your own social media accounts, or hire someone to do that for you, be aware that your competitors are working the social-verse and finding ways to attract business online.

LinkedIn is the standard for creating networking opportunities—on LinkedIn you can connect with others in your industry, or in a specific field, geographic region and beyond. If you’ve made connections through personal networking, on LinkedIn you are automatically notified if someone moves away or up.

In the same sphere of influence, Facebook Pages are all about branding. Many corporations will allow you to establish your own Facebook Page as a representative of their brand. Twitter gives you a forum to share thoughts, observations, links and opportunities in an ongoing stream that can be linked back to your own website, Facebook page, and LinkedIn profile.

Keep your eyes open for new viral sites that drive sales in your industry. Some companies even use Instagram or Snapchat to drive their marketing efforts; so look out for new places to promote your brand.

Sales Technique #3: Pay Attention to Data

Connect with your web and marketing departments every few weeks to discuss what seems to be driving attention to the website and social media sites.

Pay attention to the data in your industry. Does your audience change at all? What messages do they respond to? How do they like to engage? What time of day should you send emails?

What information is attracting visitors to your website and your brand? What keywords are people searching for when they land on your brand?

Are your analytics accurate? Firms will count page hits even when they’re coming from search engine entries looking for a completely different product with a similar name. Does your web team know how to filter out those hits?

sales techniques

Sales Technique #4: Master the Variables in your Process

Once you have an analytics report, are you hitting all the probabilities?

Every decision that you make can be optimized controlling every variable in your sales process. Which emails are prospects responding to?  What time of day are they reading and responding?

Creating materials and using tools that show you how people react to your messaging: the text, graphics, timing and everything else—will help you figure probabilities with more accuracy. A must have in your sales techniques skill set. Communicating with prospects (even when they don’t convert) and customers is key to helping you make choices that will resonate with your customer base.

Sales Technique #5: Know your buyer

This leads us to the next point—know your buyer. Undergoing a research process to find every important detail on your buyers is among the top sales techniques. Before first contact, you should know as much as you can about their particular demographic, likelihood to buy, and current industry challenges.

Beyond that, there are two schools of thought. Some people feel that extensive research on every prospect is a waste of time. This may be true in a field that relies on fast turnover and a high volume of individual sales. Still, even in casual conversations like a phone call, you’ll want to find ways to uncover things like satisfaction level with current solutions, motivations, and objections.

In high stakes deals, it goes without saying that you need to do as much research as possible into your buyers. After all, you may only get one shot at landing a key account.

However, in today’s marketplace if you have already built some inbound marketing and have engagement tools in place, it can be quick and easy for even the most time-crunched salesperson to learn more about prospects. Social media sites use tools like polls, discussion forums, blogs and contests to both attract prospects and engage them in conversations about problems and solutions.

In spite of the plethora of tools at our fingertips, according to a recent study performed by Richardson’s, 73% of buyers do not believe salespeople are knowledgeable about the business they are pitching to.

This means you have a wide open opportunity to excel if you take the time to learn everything you can about your buyer.

Sales Technique #6: Build a Relationship with Marketing

Marketing and Sales don’t always work together to reach goals and create sales materials. If that’s the case in your company, encourage feedback and interaction between the two teams. Marketing needs to hear from Sales about the questions people are asking, and the challenges that salespeople encounter in the field when meeting with prospects. Marketing people often forget that their own salespeople have their finger on the pulse and are the best source on what and how to communicate to potential customers. If you can align your marketing and sales techniques as well as your marketing and sales professionals on single goals, that’s a success.

Sales Technique #7: Learn the Art of Storytelling

Among all the sales techniques, story telling keeps a unique place. People are captivated by real life stories, so turn your previous successes into stories. When you’re creating a relationship between you and the buyer, try talking about their doubts and emotions without directing comments or questions to them directly, which might put them on edge or make them defensive.

Try telling a story with an unlucky prospect, and then create an even more dire scenario. Everyone can empathize with a “hero” who is down on his luck and then gets run over, too.

Draw out the part where he discovers your company as solution. Discuss his doubts, his hesitation. If your client has similar doubts (and you can always customize the story to ensure the main character mirrors your prospect’s doubts) the customer will feel an instant connection with your hero. Don’t be afraid to pull human emotion into your story. Even with the most rational decisions, human emotions come into play. People have varying acceptance of risk, so one person’s comfort level might be the next person’s fright zone. People also react differently to change—some like to constantly jump from one vendor to another, without finding a permanent solution they’re happy with. Others find comfort and stability in the tried and true. You can use your story to address those emotions.

Find out as much as you can about the past history of the dealmakers you’ll be talking to, and talk to their fears by crafting a story that describes their doubts and answers their fears. End your story by letting the main character find his own resolution by discovering your company’s features and benefits—don’t just step in and solve the problem for him. Whether your solution saves money, improves efficiency, or creates wealth and independence, you want your listeners to imagine themselves as being the heroes in their own story.

sales techniques

Sales Technique #8: Create Mini-Milestones

Succeeding in sales isn’t always about being the fast racehorse in the track event. Sometimes winning is all about being the plow horse with a steady heart. (Read The Eighty-Dollar Champion for inspiration. The world of equine jumping and the story of “Snowman” have some lessons for all of us.)

First of all, learn to walk, hop and jump before you gallop. Be patient and master your pitch first, then break down the skill sets necessary to succeed in sales. Organizing your mini-milestones to achieve bigger goals is one of the most valuable sales techniques.

Setting small goals that are achievable yet challenging, every day, week and month is the key to growing your skill set and competing in the big rings.

Sales Technique #9:  Create a Value Culture

Constantly think of new ways to deliver value to everyone, from social media visitors to engaged prospects to customers is one of the most important tasks in your sales techniques portfolio. White papers, ebooks, and even a helpful suggestion in someone’s inbox can be used to lure subscribers and reward engagement.

Webinars are not just a sales tool—you can use webinars and videos to create “how to” pieces for existing customers, deliver news about upgrades or industry changes, and get feedback on new features.

Everyone from Marketing, Sales and Customer Service should be aware of, and involved in creating, added-value gifts and offerings.

According to the RAIN Group, 81% of top performers “focus on driving maximum value” and organizations that focus on value are 90% more likely to grow income.

Sales Technique #10: Upsell for Maximum Income

Harvesting sales from your already existing customer base is easier and less expensive than wooing new customers. They already like your product enough to currently pay for it, so you can already present yourself as a trusted presence showing them how to create more value with your new offering. Put upselling an important part of your sales techniques.

Or, you can create vertical opportunities in the form of elevated subscription or participation levels that offer deeper discounts, more options and loyalty rewards.

It’s likely that as you draw customers deeper into your offerings, their loyalty—and the chance of gaining referral business—increases.

In the book Marketing Metrics, the authors show that the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%, while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%

Knowledge is power, and with a wealth of online and digital tools at your fingertips, it is now possible for entrepreneurs to drill down to a level of detail formerly available only to larger businesses, and for business organizations of all sizes to grow their sales exponentially.