I never cease to be amazed by how rapidly and frequently the world of selling changes.
Especially today, selling is at such a point of transition that sales techniques people used successfully just a couple of years ago no longer work.
Now, I’m not talking about changes from pre-internet selling to post-internet selling. I’m talking about very recent changes that have happened at an unbelievably rapid pace. (Even some of the strategies that I talked about in videos a couple of years ago really don’t work anymore.)
So, in this video, I’m going to show you the top 13 sales techniques that actually work. Check it out:
Sales Techniques That Work #1: The prospecting campaign.
I talk a lot about the prospecting campaign because it’s so insanely effective—yet so few salespeople actually do it.
The prospecting campaign is all about prospecting in a methodical way. This means not just picking up the phone and making cold calls; not just sending emails; not just doing LinkedIn outreaches; and not just doing direct mail.
Instead it’s about bringing all of these approaches together into one cohesive strategy to connect with the prospect. The goal? The prospect actually knows who you are before you ever get them on the phone.
The key to a successful prospecting campaign is mapping out every step of the process, and using every channel you possibly can to get in front of people. This powerful sales technique will make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your entire selling strategy.
Sales Techniques That Work #2: Cold email.
When it comes to sales techniques that actually work, cold emails are one of the absolute best.
I’m obsessed with the effectiveness of a good cold email campaign. The main reason that cold email is so effective is that prospects are way more likely to answer a cold email than they are to answer a phone call from a number they don’t know.
In particular, cold email is one of the most powerful sales techniques to get in front of high-level decision makers, since they’re fielding so many phone calls all the time.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should start blasting out mass emails to random people. You’ve really got to target your audience for successful cold emails. Personalize your templates. Check out some of my other videos on cold email sales techniques to learn more.
Sales Techniques That Work #3: Introductions.
Here’s a sales technique that virtually every salesperson should be doing every single day: Asking people in your network for introductions to other people you might be able to help.
Notice that I didn’t say ask for referrals. Many people don’t understand what a referral is—but everyone knows what an introduction is. So, start asking for introductions where person A actually introduces you to person B.
Getting that actual introduction is so much more effective than just having a name to reference when calling someone who doesn’t know you.
Sales Techniques That Work #4: Personalized outreach.
Personalization is the name of the game in all forms of outreach.
Every salesperson out there is trying to reach a lot of prospects. One of the ways to really stand out from the competition is to show your prospects that you’ve done your homework, you know who they are, you know their background, you know where they’re located, you know their industry—you know all about them.
Not in a creepy way, of course…but in a way that’s relevant to the conversation you want to have with them. By doing truly personalized outreach you’re going to set yourself up for so much more success.
And, by the way, if you’re in B2B sales, the best place to get that personalization data is LinkedIn—ideally using LinkedIn Navigator, which is the paid version.
(They don’t pay me to say that, but we use it at my agency and we live by it. You can get so much powerful data on a prospect before you ever even get them on the phone.)
Sales Techniques That Work #5: Disqualification.
Most salespeople are still trying to persuade prospects to do business with them. But you know what? What you really want to do is disqualify prospects as early on as possible.
That way, you can immediately move on from those prospects who have no interest in what you’re talking about, or aren’t a fit right now—and focus instead on those prospects who are actually a good fit.
Remember, the number one limitation on a salesperson’s effectiveness is their time. Be militant about making sure that you’re only spending time with those prospects who are truly a good fit.
Sales Techniques That Work #6: Discussing budget.
Talking about budget with prospects is a critical sales technique to master. And, by the way, talking about budget is different from talking about price.
Price is just a number you tell the prospect. But budget is a dynamic discussion with the prospect about money range.
You want to talk about budget before you present your solution. Make sure you’re on the same page in terms of money before you present anything.
Sales Techniques That Work #7: Decision-making process.
Data shows that many prospects feel that salespeople don’t understand the decision-making process at their companies. These salespeople don’t take the time to understand the who, what, when, where, and why of decision making at prospect organizations—and so they lose out on sales.
When a salesperson doesn’t understand the prospect’s decision-making process, they start to make assumptions. Then they tend to make a lot of mistakes around false expectations.
Interested prospects are more than happy to share their decision-making process with salespeople—if you ask the right questions.
Don’t ask, “Are you the decision maker?” Instead, ask questions around the decision-making process such as, “So, tell me, how do you plan to go about making a decision like this?”
Sales Techniques That Work #8: Feedback loops.
Feedback loops help you make sure that you’re continuously on the same page with the prospect. A feedback loop is simply a little question you ask after you make a statement, explain something, or share an important point.
Some examples include, “Do you understand what I mean by that?” and “Does that make sense?” and “Does that sound OK?”
When you ask these questions, you give the prospect the chance to respond—and then you can course-correct if they’re not on the same page.
Little feedback loops go a long way to engage the prospect and keep them interested in the conversation.
You should be using feedback loops all the time. I always tell my clients to use at least 50 feedback loops during a discovery conversation or presentation.
Sales Techniques That Work #9: The constant feedback presentation.
Constant feedback presentations are simply presentations that have tons of feedback loops in them.
When you’re presenting to the prospect, every time you present a new idea, pull them back in with a feedback loop like, “Hey, does that make sense based on what we’ve talked about so far?” or “Are we still on the same page based on the conversation we’ve had?”
Prospects will either say, “Actually, you know what, no, that doesn’t make sense”—which is a really important thing to know before the presentation is over—or they’re going to say, “Yeah, that sounds great!”
Use feedback loops throughout your presentation to get those little moments of feedback and buy-in, so you’re way more likely to ultimately close that sale.
Sales Techniques That Work #10: Case study presentation.
Case studies are everything in today’s world. Prospects want proof. They want evidence that buying from you is actually going to do something positive for them—and case studies are the single best way to demonstrate that you can do what you say you can.
Case studies are so much more interesting than just talking about a bunch of results. Instead, share some real-life examples of how you helped other clients achieve something specific.
Case study presentations are like story time, and they’re one of the most effective sales techniques you can put into use today.
Sales Techniques That Work #11: Clear and scheduled next steps.
Far too few salespeople schedule consistent, clear next steps.
Anytime you’re ending a meeting or a call with a prospect, always make a clear and scheduled next step.
It can be a really short call, and it could be three months from now, but make sure that it goes right into the calendar.
Clear and scheduled next steps keep sales on track. It’s the difference between a train riding smoothly on a track to its destination, and a bumper car just kind of skidding all around the track, crashing into whatever’s in its way. Most salespeople are just driving bumper cars. Instead, conduct a train that runs on clear and scheduled next steps.
Sales Techniques That Work #12: LinkedIn connections.
LinkedIn connections are a great way to both build your general professional network and also to build relationships with key prospects you want to be in touch with.
Now, you can’t just make a LinkedIn connection to any random person. I mean, you can—but that’s unlikely to work. Instead, make LinkedIn connections within the context of a prospecting campaign. Send a little message along with each connection that’s personalized to the prospect and shows you’ve done your homework.
Now, they see your picture, they’re more likely to connect with you and then ultimately do business with you in the long run. LinkedIn connections are so simple. Anytime you connect with anyone by phone, or by email, use that LinkedIn connection, get connected to them. And by the way, if you switch jobs you still have those connections, really powerful. That becomes your database that you own.
Sales Techniques That Work #13: Hosted events.
Hosted events are tried and true. My agency does tons of hosted events for prospects and clients. Hosted events bring people together, provide them value, and help you get in front of your ideal prospects at the same time. If you invite your best clients, they will also act as your advocates, telling everyone at the event how great you are. They do the selling for you.
So, hosted events don’t have to be sales-heavy. Instead, focus on sharing some really good, useful content with the group. Choose a topic that prospects are going to be interested in. Then, once you share your information, you can just walk around and have casual conversations with the prospects.
So, there you have it. Now you know the top 13 sales techniques that actually work. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Please share below in the comments.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.