He’s the author of popular books “Eat That Frog,” “Earn What You’re Really Worth,” and “The Psychology of Achievement” among others. We came across some of Brian Tracy’s sales tips and thought we’d 10x them and help you put ‘em into practice. So here are 9 top sales tips, adapted from techniques championed by Tracy. You’ll want to try these right away.
#1 Stick With The Benefits
Before you shrug this off, look carefully at your marketing and sales pitch one more time. There’s a reason we put this at the top of the list! Just like father time and gravity bring wrinkles to a face, so too will a sales pitch drift in a direction you don’t want it to go without regular intervention. So get ready for the fountain of youth of your sales pitch: a modern benefits statement.
Remember this — your prospect is concerned with one thing only: “What’s in it for me?” So, it’s essential to emphasize the benefits your product will give them, not the features. This might sound like sales 101, but you wouldn’t believe how many so-called expert salespeople get this wrong. So. . . how can you tell the difference between the features and benefits of your product or service?
Simply put: “features tell, and benefits sell.”
Feature: What it is
Feature Example: 24-hour customer support
Benefit: What it does for the customer
Benefit Example: No matter what, there will always be an intelligent human being to talk you through an issue and arrive at a solution so that you can have peace-of-mind.
Still stuck? It is possible to re-think your features and turn them into benefits.
Take each feature and ask: “So What?” And fill-in-the-blank starting with “So that…”
This product has less packaging (feature)
So that you save money… and the environment! (benefit)
Got it? Good.
#2 Create a Customer Avatar
To find your ideal customer, you’re going to need to learn to speak specifically to their wants, needs, and deepest desires. That’s hard to do if your picture of them is just a vague concept. Get it together by asking yourself the demographics (age, location, education) of your ideal customer. But also ask questions like:
- What does my ideal customer do for fun?
- Where do they go to celebrate?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What item is always found in the back seat of their car?
- What’s most important to them?
- What benefits of my product/service excite them most?
These deeper questions will paint a clear picture of a real human being. You’ll need several customer avatars, because your brand may have one ideal customer in mind, but not every customer buys your product for the same reasons and with the same motivations.
#3 Identify the Problem
Now that you’ve created customer avatars, continue to shade in the critical details by identifying what each of their unique problems are, and how your product or service solves these problems. This isn’t always cut-and-dry. Be very careful, because as Tracy wisely says, “If the problem does not exist, the customer will not buy your product.”
Consider interviewing past customers to get to the heart of their “why” for buying. You may find that the reason they bought may not be what you imagined. In the process, you may also uncover great insights. . . like how you solved a different problem you didn’t even know your customer had!
Related: Sales Hack: How to Close More Sales With Guerilla Data
#4 Know Your Competitive Advantage, and Play to It
In identifying the “why” for your customer’s purchase, make sure you understand what their other options were, how you stacked up, and how you stood out. Remember, the customer doesn’t necessarily think like you do, their Google search may have been for a solution to a specific problem that you never knew your product solves. This is why creating avatars and doing interviews is crucial. You must play to your true competitive advantage(s).
Example 1 – Selling a car to a mother of 3: “This car has the safest crash-test ratings of any car on the market. And, if you have a toddler in a car seat, you should know that the difference between us and the runner up is a 15% better safety score for children under the age of 6. If you want to make sure little Bella stays safe, this is your car.”
Example 2 – Selling the same car to an 18 year old boy: “This car has the best maneuverability on the market, hands down. That means if you ever get in a tight spot, or got a little carried away showing off, this car has your back. But you won’t be showing off, right? *wink* Did I mention it goes 0-60 in 3.5 seconds?”
See how the same product, with the same feature (crash test rating) can be played as a benefit and tailored to the prospect based on competitive advantage in a memorable and impactful way? Make sure that for each avatar, you not only know your competitive advantage, you also develop it and play to it.
#5 Use Modern Marketing Tactics with Social Media
There’s a reason Facebook had to plead their case before congress. Advertisers on their platform can wield incredible amounts of user data to push products, and even sway public opinion. Now, it’s important to remain ethical, but you’d be foolish not to leverage social media for your offer.
And the stats are sobering:
47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of online content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) (Source)
Facebook continues to boast the most engaged users — 70% log on daily, including 43% who do so several times a day. (Source)
LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites & blogs. (Source)
Level up with content marketing — which is just a fancy way of saying produce valuable digital posts created for the purpose of stimulating interest in your offer, or educating your audience. If you do this right, you’ll get more access to new prospects, lead them through an automated qualification process, and acquire them as customers more quickly, at a lower cost, with less hassle. Boom.
#6 Bite the Bullet – And Cold Call (or not!)
If you have a new product or service and are still working to build a reputation, you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone and try cold calling. No one is above cold calling, and many great companies started as just one man or woman in their office (or garage!) taking a risk and picking up the phone. Hate this idea? Just remember, it works really well. And cold calling is NOT dead. Far from it!
Related: Cold Calling is NOT Dead in 2018
#7 Repeat 100 Times — a.k.a. The 100 Cold Calls Method
Hate the idea of making one cold call? Try 100. This is the method that Brian Tracy developed to overcome his personal fear of inevitable rejection and the deep frustration of countless hours wasted. Tracy says, “Reach out to 100 customers as fast as you can. You don’t really care about your sales results, only the number of people you contact.” So if you’re up to it, and have the energy to spare, be our guest. You’re business is almost guaranteed to grow.
Related: Those Dreaded Words: “I Need to Think About it” And What to Do Next to Win the Sale
#8 Make Sure the Price is Right
After researching competitor pricing, it’s tempting to come out of the gates as either the lowest or highest priced option. However, make sure your focus is on creating “perceived value” so that no matter your price, you can easily convince the customer that you are worth it. A perceived value pricing strategy places more importance on what the customer will be willing to pay for the product after interacting with you than what the competition is charging. When the prospect evaluates the costs and benefits of your product compared to the alternatives, you always want your product to be a net-gain.
#9 Use Tried-And-True Negotiation Techniques
Are your negotiations truly win-win? Tracy says that the best negotiators possess 3 unique skills:
- They ask good questions to find out exactly what their prospect needs
- They are patient
- They are always prepared
Related: 15 Qualities of Ridiculously Successful Salespeople — How Many Do YOU Have?
Negotiation is far more an art than a science. But you’ll want to make sure you’re knowledgeable regarding persuasion and negotiation techniques such as the law of reciprocity. And don’t just know them — practice them! Use them in everyday situations as you “negotiate” the world around you. You’ll be glad you did, and it will all come more naturally to you when you step in the boardroom to close a major deal.
Related: Get S.M.A.R.T. With Your Sales Process
We know you want out of the tiresome prospecting game and into the work that excites you — building relationships and closing deals. That’s why in addition to sales advice, we offer a client acquisition system that works. Never cold call again, and never waste time with an unqualified lead. Take a look and experience the C-Level Difference.
Which of these 9 sales tips stood out most to you? Tell us in the comments below.