Whether you’re new to sales or you’ve been at it for a few years, it may be time to re-evaluate your approach. To be successful in any type of sales position, it’s important to understand how the consumer’s needs have changed and to meet those needs without overplaying your hand. These suggestions can help you adapt or create a sales approach that today’s consumers will find more appealing.

Consumers Want Honesty and Integrity

The days of the hard sell are just about gone and, even on a real-world sales floor, consumers don’t want to feel like another number. They want a connection and they want to feel as though they can count on you to meet their needs. This means you’ll get farther by offering them an honest interaction. The more deeply you’re able to engage a consumer, the more likely that consumer will buy from you.

Let Consumers Keep Control

In the past, it may have been best to take control of any engagement you had with a customer. This has changed as well. The online community has helped people become better educated and their shopping preferences reflect that change. By letting the consumer maintain control of the situation and rising up to meet their needs, you can help your customers feel as though your approach is personalized just for them. This will help to engender trust and that will make them more open to buying from you.

Know Your Product

While negotiations training may help you communicate more effectively, those skills won’t matter if you’re not thoroughly informed about the products you’re selling. This will take more than a little light research. Remember that there are vast resources available on the internet, so your customers have likely performed some research on their own. When they come to you, they’ll be looking for someone with a deeper knowledge of the product. You should expect and be able to respond to hard questions, especially if you sell products that make use of machinery, electronics, or other complex systems.

Active Listening is More Important Than Your Pitch

The best sales professionals succeed, because they genuinely listen to each potential customer. They realize that the customer is speaking to you for a reason and, typically, that reason is to express a need they think your products can meet. However, if you’re thinking about what you’re going to say next, you’re not really listening. That failure to listen will likely become apparent as the interaction proceeds and this may leave that consumer feeling frustrated. A failure to listen to your customer can cost you the sale and may drive that consumer to your nearest competitor.

Evaluate Each Consumer

If you’re taking the time to listen, that will help you learn how to size up each consumer. Is she a working single mother? Is he a single work-from-home engineer? By developing the ability to identify certain characteristics in each consumer, you can customize your approach more efficiently. This can help you meet needs even before the consumer expresses them and that will go a long way towards helping you forge a good relationship. If the consumer feels as though you understand them, they’ll be more willing to trust in you and, by extension, your product.

Maintain Those Relationships

Sales professionals who make an effort to stay in contact with their customers are able to generate more sales with new customers. This is because sending a card on that customer’s birthday or a fruit basket on Christmas will make a positive and lasting impression. They’ll be more likely to share the sales experience with friends and co-workers, if they feel as though your professional interest was genuine.

While your sales success also depends on your personality, these tips can help you develop a more favorable approach. If you can offer a genuine interaction and present the product honestly, you’ll give your potential customers a reason to trust you. In today’s commercial environment, engendering trust is the best way to improve sales.

by: Dennis Hung