Sales strategies are pretty much the opposite of stagnant. Over the years, sales specialists, marketing teams, and entrepreneurs have studied the art of sales, constantly refining what works and what doesn’t. As a result, the sales techniques we use today are very different from those used from even a hundred years ago.
So what works today? What do sales teams use to attract customers and finally close that crucial sale? This article will show a few of the most effective sales and marketing strategies people and organizations use. You can also compare how we do sales today to past techniques by checking out this interactive timeline of the history of sales.
Getting Personal with the Customer
Salespeople have kind of gotten a bad reputation over the decades. They’re often seen as pushy and dismissive, like all they care about is selling their product with no regard for who their customers actually are.
Needless to say, successful salespeople don’t go with that sales technique nowadays. In fact, many salespeople choose to focus more on selling themselves instead of the product. They get personal, which is what attracts customers to them in the first place.
In his book DotCom Secrets, Russell Brunson refers to this as the Attractive Character (AC). He writes, “An Attractive Character is not someone who is extraordinarily good looking, although they might be. What I’m talking about here is a persona that attracts clients or customers and helps build your following to eventually make sales.”
As Brunson explained, each AC comes with a backstory that people can relate to, shares stories, reveals character flaws, and sticks to their opinions. If you’re selling a weight loss supplement, for example, you would talk about how you conquered being overweight as part of your backstory. Stories are compelling. They get people to pay attention. They create a hook that customers can latch onto. They’re easy to remember. They establish a powerful connection. Suddenly customers aren’t just buying a product but an idea, a source of inspiration. As Peter Guber puts it, “Stories give color and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.”
What you can do now: Identify a story that will resonate with your customers the most.
Knowing Your Customers
The first technique in this article dealt with your customers getting to know you. This technique deals specifically with you getting to know your customers. We’ve come a long way from simply knocking on a door and trying to sell a vacuum cleaner to the person who answers. Modern selling techniques must take into account who the customer is and what drives them.
Identifying these customers and how you can help them then becomes the priority. To do this, follow what Russell Brunson calls “The Secret Formula.” Four steps that break down into four questions you need to ask yourself. Here are the questions:
- Who are your dream clients?
- Where can you find them?
- What bait will you use to attract them?
- What result do you want to give them?
By answering these questions, you begin creating your sales strategy. You’re figuring out not just what kind of customers you want to target, but the best ones to target. You determine where they are located so you can go to them. You set up the goal you want to achieve with them. In certain ways, all your selling techniques will revolve around the answers to these questions.
Another part of getting to know your audience involves putting yourself in their shoes. What do they want? What are their fears? What are their goals? Through this, you begin to understand what their false beliefs are, and by so doing can answer their concerns, which will help them have confidence in you and your business.
Brunson goes into detail about this in his book Expert Secrets as well as this discussion he had with Tai Lopez. In it, he outlines three false beliefs customers have.
- The product isn’t right (the product)
- I can’t do it (internal ability)
- People aren’t interested (external fear)
Show that these fears are unwarranted through your personal stories, and you’ll shatter their false beliefs.
What you can do now: Answer the four questions in “The Secret Formula.”
Providing Value From the Start
The moment you make contact with a customer, you need to provide them with something of value. Otherwise, why would they want to continue listening to you? As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it count by showing them how you can improve their lives.
It doesn’t have to be something big and grand. A free sample, trial, demo, or even just a piece of advice can be the start of establishing a relationship with the customer that can pay dividends in the future. You have to build to the big payoff with your best product. Continually provide better products and higher levels of service as you build on the trust you have with customers.
Russell Brunson refers to this as the “Value Ladder.” Each step of the ladder is something of greater value. If you’re only selling one or two items, think of other things you can offer. Brunson writes, “The only limit to your value offerings is your imagination. Keep thinking of higher and higher levels of service, and you can keep charging more and more money.”
But again, it all starts with that initial interaction — the offer that gets the customer to buy from you in the first place.
What you can do now: Identify an initial offer that provides value to the customer.
One of the best sales strategies involves always asking for referrals. Always. As Grant Cardone explains, “Every time you make a sale, get referrals. Even when you don’t make a sale, ask for them.” There’s good reason salespeople are taught to always seek referrals — they’re one of the best ways to get leads that turn into conversions.
According to research from Nielsen, 83% of people trust getting recommendations from people who they already know. Those people are also more likely to buy. Not only do referrals help to lead to more sales, they also make your job easier.
If a customer likes what you offer, then they will naturally want to extend those benefits to people they know. Don’t expect people to give you names unprompted; you’ll need to ask them for it. And that shouldn’t be a one-time thing either. After every interaction, give them the opportunity to give you a referral. Chances are they’ll have more people in mind every time you talk with them.
What you can do now: Start asking for referrals every time you interact with your customers.
Most sales aren’t made in one encounter. Often it takes multiple interactions before someone will buy from you for the first time. That’s why you need to keep in contact with each customer. The more you do this, the more they’ll come to trust you.
So what kind of contact should you have? It can be a variety of things. It might be an email, or it could be messages sent through social media. Whatever it is, maintaining contact involves putting yourself at the forefront of their attention.
Brunson calls this the “Seinfeld Sequence.” Named after the popular show, the Seinfeld Sequence basically means talking to your customers about…well…nothing in particular. Once you have an email list set up, you provide engaging material that will please your subscribers. As Brunson explains, “The secret to keeping your subscribers happy to hear from you every day is using the Seinfeld format. Be entertaining. Talk about your day.”
It sounds simple and maybe even counterintuitive, but it shows your customers that you’re a real person. You’re able to connect with them. But it all has to tie into what you’re pitching. “Every story needs to relate back to something you’re selling,” Brunson says.
ClickFunnels provides autoresponder tools that allow you to do this easily. They ensure customers and subscribers are getting your messages. By maintaining contact with them in this way, they’ll trust you more and are more likely to buy from you.
What you can do now: Begin crafting daily messages for your customers.
Salespeople shouldn’t just sell a product; they need to sell a solution. Turn yourself into a consultant rather than just a salesperson. Sometimes, salespeople become so focused on their products that they forget the very real problems customers face. By becoming a problem solver, you are, in essence, changing people’s lives. That turns the job of salesperson into a more noble profession.
In a sense, you’re serving your customers, and that can lead to good things not just for them, but for your as well. Russell Brunson states, “When you work hard, serve and help people, and try to change their lives, amazing things happen.”
Of course, part of becoming a problem solver is figuring out what the problems are in the first place. That’s where effective communication comes in. Dean Graziosi put it perfectly when he said, “The biggest communication problem is we listen to reply, and not to understand.” Listen carefully to what customers are telling you. Make sure you understand what they’re saying. Ask direct questions designed to get at the root of the problem. Only then will you be able to offer up the right solution.
What you can do now: Listen carefully to customers to figure out what problems they face.
Now that you know some of the ways sales teams are attracting customers, it’s time to put these ideas into practice. As you do it, you’ll see improved sales, stronger customer relationships, and great fulfillment in your job.
ClickFunnels is here to help you in this effort. With sales funnels designed to get results, you’ll see the benefits multiply as you try out these modern sales techniques. You can give it a go with a free 14 day trial and see for yourself how ClickFunnels has mastered the art of selling.