The sales world is ever-changing and evolving. Considering the cut-throat competition in every industry and niche, sales reps have to be more educated than ever. They should be equipped with the right tools too!
Therefore, managers often ask their employees to look for literature and resources. Sometimes they even assign the books that you should read. In fact, 44% of sales reps see their managers as the main source of improvement so they do give you room to grow.
In this article, we will give you an overview of the two books: “SPIN Selling” and “The Psychology of Selling”. Both books are well-known among sales reps and management and were innovative in the industry. Find out about authors’ approach to selling and adopt new techniques to skyrocket your performance.
Yet another great tool we will discuss is a selling script. Yes, being creative in everything you do is all cool. Yet, thoughtful research about the product and sharing best practices will make a difference in sales. Find out more about how sales scripts can make you a more accomplished sales rep and how to write a script that is not boring.
Approaches of “SPIN Selling”
- “SPIN Selling” was written by Neil Rackham in 1988 but it remains a great guide for sales reps still. At the time, the method of consultative selling was revolutionary. The book itself relies on 12 years of research that provides sales reps with facts and statistics, turning sales into a science and not assumptions. Selling is about showing the customer how a product or service can solve their problem. However, you have to dig deep to find out the problem of the customer you are speaking to. That is where the SPIN approach kicks in. SPIN is about asking questions and listening to what potential customers have to say. With the help of specific questions in a specific order, you allow customers to figure out on their own that they need your product. By doing so, you fulfill customer expectations of a perfect sales rep: you let them talk about their needs (69% of buyers want that) and you are not too pushy (61% of buyers do not like pushy sales reps). In order to find out your questions and their order, take a look at the SPIN abbreviation. SPIN stands for:
In the beginning, you ask questions about the current customer’s situation. It is a way to gather more information about the customer to provide a more personalized approach later.
Many sales reps start with a product pitch without finding out the needs and pain points of a customer. Pitching not all features but ones that are relevant to your customer is more productive.
In this step, you can ask these questions:
- What does your workflow look like?
- What tools do you use? (It may help you later to pitch the benefits of your product over the tools that buyer uses now)
- Why do you do … this way?
- What is your budget for…?
Yet, you still have to do background research prior to the call. It will help you to come up with questions faster and ask more specific questions later if a client is not really talkative.
In this step, you do not state that customers have a problem. You still ask questions that make them voice out the existing problem or lead to the realization that they do, in fact, have a problem. You may also see how they see the problem or where the problem of their current tool lies to use it later.
You may ask the following questions in this step:
- How long does … take?
- Has … ever failed you?
- How satisfied are you with …?
- Do you feel like… as good as possible?
After you and a client have identified what the problem is, it is time to find the root of the problem.
This stage also helps you (and the customer) to find how serious the problem is. Implication questions create a feeling of urgency, that a customer can not put off the solution of the problem any further. What may have seemed like a minor inconvenience, becomes a real issue in this stage.
You also do not tell how big the problem is but ask questions that will lead a customer to realize how urgent the issue is. These questions include:
- What is the cost of continual usage of…?
- What could you accomplish if you have changed…?
- What would happen if you fix the issue connected to…?
- How do problems of … impact you/your business/the team?
Questions of this stage result in a customer voicing out themselves how your product can benefit their company and become the ultimate solution. The main rule is to focus on the problems that your product or service can actually solve. Questions of this stage are absolutely customizable and depend on what was asked and answered before. The main rule is to be subtle. Do not ask whether your product will boost their conversions but ask whether utilizing a strong optimization tool will boost their conversions.
Approaches of “The Psychology of Selling”
“The Psychology of Selling” was written by Brian Tracy, an expert in sales. The main point of the book is to equip you with techniques that will help you sell faster and easier. Brian Tracy discusses different aspects of psychology in selling: from the inner psychology of a seller to defending sales resistance. The first piece of advice that the author gives is to find the inner motivation of a seller to improve and set higher goals. He discusses “self-concept” which affects sales dramatically. If a salesperson is not confident about or does not like some stage of the sales pipeline, they will fail. If a person does not feel like they can achieve more, they will always stay on the same level and be grumpy about their income. The next topic he introduces is the motivation of a buyer. Tracy identifies two main reasons to buy: the fear of losing something and the desire to gain something that will enhance their lives and make them likable. Therefore, you have to awaken their desire to gain, reduce their fear of loss, and spread out the benefits that they gain in a simple form.
The next thing you have to do for easier and faster selling is to spend more quality time with the prospects. You boost the time quality by asking whether it is a good time to talk before pitching, pitch the appointment and not the product (it is better to close the deal directly), and concentrate more on the benefits for the customer than the features of the product. The first impression matters and Tracy gives tips on how to come off as a professional. You have to:
- be calm and confident
- take care of your environment (office, desk)
- dress properly
- keep things organized
- practice the presentation
- minimize the outer noise and all the possible distractions
When you are making a sale, you also have to fight through the sale resistance that is natural to human beings. You can do that either at the end by lifting off the pressure to buy (I will let you think about this so you can tell me your conclusion later rather than make a decision now) or at the beginning by asking whether a person wants to listen rather than making them listen to you.
Importance of selling scripts
Both of these books will make writing a selling script easier. Yet, many salespeople ignore the written script altogether, relying on creativity and the easy flow of the conversation. Script opponents say that the conversation sounds robotic, a salesperson does not listen enough, developing and maintaining a script is a dreadful task.
Selling scripts still has numerous benefits that you can not ignore. Let’s take a look at them.
Writing a script brings a necessary structure into your speech. It happens that salespeople without a script jump from one question to the other and fail to clearly communicate their message.
A written script helps you to share information in a way that is concise and makes you really think about what you are saying. You may find yourself actually using the tips from approaches we have shared before. You also will choose better wording that expresses your opinion clearly.
Learn and grow
A written script is often a result of teamwork or a constant feedback loop. You can share the best practices with colleagues and receive tips from them. It opens room for growth and better goal achievement for the whole team.
While discussing the script with co-workers, you may find ideas that you would have never thought about before. Someone has a weak idea, for example, but you can work on its improvement together, bring different perspectives, and have an amazing idea in the end.
Become a better listener
Actually, a written script does make you a better listener. Think about the conversations you have with strangers you are interested in. While they talk, your mind tries to come up with the next topic or questions so that the dialogue does not fade away. In the end, you are so involved in the thinking process that you have no more attention to spare to actually listen to what the stranger is talking about. The same happens in sales.
If you have a script, you do not have to think about the dreadful moment when they stop talking and you have nothing to say. So you have an opportunity to listen.
Tips for creating effective selling scripts
It is often the case the anti-script salespeople have worked with bad scripts before or used them in the wrong way. In fact, there are scripts that are beneficial both to you and the client. You just have to know how to create one. We have 5 tips for this.
1. Know the benefits of your service or product
An essential part of every pitch is telling about the benefits of the product or service.
Before you start to sell something, you have to research the product or service. You can not sell stuff that you know nothing about. Also with any other information. For example, if you want to recommend the best VPN for Netflix, you should study this topic in detail.
If you have shallow knowledge, it will result in zero personalization. Do you remember the SPIN selling that concentrates on individual pain points of every customer? If you do not know how your product solves different types of problems, you will not be able to use this approach. Since 59% of buyers are irritated by generic pitches, you better take time to personalize your approach.
So write down all the possible benefits and take a look at them every time when a customer describes their problem.
2. Identify buyer’s pain points
As it was written in “The Psychology of Selling”, customers have things to lose and benefits to gain. By pressing on the gains and losses, you connect with them emotionally. That is why it is so important to find out the pain points.
You have to do prior research at first, and then add pain points to your list as you go. If you do ask questions from SPIN selling, you will identify pain points easily and add them to your database.
If you do not concentrate on an individual approach and make multiple calls a day, try to segmentize the target audience to add splashes of personalization.
3. Link your benefits to pain points
Benefits should solve the problem, to eliminate the pain point. Discover ways in which your benefits do and do not solve the problems to create different scripts for different situations.
You will not have to search for the right benefit in the big list but have it organized neatly. It does require more work but it will pay off in the future.
4. Ask open-ended questions to learn more about your buyer
As we have learned from the SPIN technique and statistics, buyers do want to be listened to. You have to not only ask numerous questions but make up the ones that open a room for broader answers and discussions.
If you start a question with the verb, you will have a simple yes or no. It does not promise a high-quality dialogue and learning more information about the client.
5. Make the conversation natural
The conversation will sound robotic if you ask questions that are never related to what the person has said before. Therefore, when you write the script, think about possible answers and go from there.
Remember that you can also add remarks to what the person has said before or ask more specific questions that are not written in the script. It is the best step you can take to leave the robotic conversations out.
If you combine both approaches that we have discussed, you will definitely have more success in sales. However, if you write a great script using both approaches, your success is inevitable.
Take your time to write a great script and your work will definitely pay off as you become a new star in the sales world.