“A copywriter is a salesperson behind a typewriter.” –Judith K. Charles
That’s me: A salesperson behind a keyboard. As a copywriter, it’s my job to align marketing and sales by creating copy that answers questions like, “What are the benefits of my product’s features?” and “How will these benefits improve my customer’s life?”
Answering these questions with well-articulated copy starts the conversation before the inbound lead hits the sales team. Because many leads are more than halfway through the buyer journey by the time they engage with a sales rep, they’ve likely consumed enough content to have established a positive impression of your product or service. Now it’s time for you -- the salesperson -- to spark a personal relationship and close the sale.
To keep the positive impression rolling, there are specific attitudes and vocabularies successful salespeople employ to win more sales. Consider incorporating these strategies in your next sales pitch.
1) Practice Non-Attachment
Not to be confused with apathy, non-attachment is the practice of letting go of preconceived desires and expectations. It’s an objective state of mind that frees you from feelings that do not serve you.
When applied to sales, a non-attached mindset allows you to approach each new lead with a fresh perspective -- while also avoiding negative emotions that inherently come with undesirable outcomes.
To fully embrace this philosophy, focus on “what is” rather than wishing “what if.” Let go of worries from the past -- such as a difficult prospect call -- and concerns about the future -- such as meeting your quota -- by giving the present your full attention.
Let’s look at a few scenarios where non-attachment would benefit your sales efforts.
Scenario A: Suppose you hop on a prospect call believing they’re an unqualified lead. In this case, you run the risk of subconsciously steering the prospect towards the figurative exit door, causing your preconceived expectation to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Scenario B: Alternatively, you might have high expectations that a prospect is going to purchase, prompting you to subconsciously put less effort into closing the deal. If the prospect fails to fulfill your desired outcome, psychology suggests you’ll be more likely to experience negative emotions that will hinder productivity.
The bottom line: A non-attached mindset will help you maintain focus, work productively, and stay grounded in the present.
2) Use Positive, Persuasive Vocabulary
Written or spoken, words sway. Words are the crux of persuasion -- and winning a sale typically hinges on your ability to persuade.
Subtle word choices can have a significant effect on the outcome of a sales conversation. They can trigger trust or skepticism, excitement or disinterest, engagement or disengagement. And, ultimately, they can win or lose the sale.
Salespeople who leverage the psychology of communication can increase their close rates simply by using the right words and phrases.
The next time you find yourself using potentially negative language, consider an alternative to soften the statement. The following examples illustrate several simple ways you can improve your sales vocabulary.
|Avoid using:||Instead use:|
|Cheap||Affordable, competitive, economical, free|
|Cost||Total amount, total investment, valued at|
|No hassle||Convenient, seamless, straightforward, user-friendly|
|No problem||My pleasure, sure thing, you’re welcome|
For example, the statement, “Getting set up with our software is no hassle at all,” contains two negatives -- “no” and “hassle” -- that send alarm messages through the brain. Instead, you can express the same message by saying, “Our software setup process is user-friendly.”
The bottom line: Words play a powerful part in shaping the tone of a conversation. A positive tone will build rapport, and a strong rapport will close more sales.
3) Maintain a Customer-Centric Attitude
Let’s face it: Your sales pitch isn’t about you. It’s not about the product or service you’re selling, either. It’s about what your product or service can do for your future customers.
With this in mind, your sales pitch should never focus on what the prospect can do for you but rather what you can do for the prospect before, during, and after they purchase. The goal is to provide a consistent and positive customer experience from the very first point of contact.
If you’re looking for ideas to accomplish this goal, look no further than these three customer-centric selling tactics.
1) Guide, don’t control.
Instead of trying to control the conversation, guide the customer to a clear decision on their own terms. For example, if the prospect objects to your initial pitch, find out what the deal-breakers are and concentrate on resolving them. If there’s no remedy, a clear “no” is still better than indecision.
2) Ask questions and listen.
Seventy percent of people make purchasing decisions to solve problems. Find out what those problems are and tailor your sales pitch accordingly. For example, let’s say you’re selling No. 2 pencils. You learn the prospect manages construction sites, where pencils frequently go missing. It so happens you’re offering a discount on bulk pencil orders, which is a selling point for this particular prospect.
3) Speak in layman's terms.
Buyers have become wary of sales messaging, with 75% rejecting sales-speak. Removing sales-speak and jargon from your dialogue will allow you to build better relationships with your prospects by leveling the communication playing field.
The bottom line: Focus on your prospect’s goals, needs, and pain points. Instead of asking, “How can I meet my quota?” shift your mindset to ask, “How can I help solve this person’s problem?”
4) Focus on Benefits and Solutions
In The Copywriter’s Handbook, Robert Bly explains the first step in writing copy that sells is to focus on benefits, not features. Apply this principle to your sales script, too.
Start by writing a list of your product’s feature and translate them to benefit statements by asking yourself, “What benefit does this feature provide to the customer?”
For example, if you’re selling paper clips, your features/benefits list might look something like this:
Paper clips have metal finish.
Quality metal finish provides strong gripping action.
|The metal finish is smooth.||
Smooth finish ensures the clips don’t catch on other papers.
|Clips are bendable.||Bendable material is both durable and flexible, making clips multi-functional.|
|Each clip is 1 ¾ inches long.||1 ¾-inch size is versatile for home, school, or office use.|
|Each box includes 1,000 clips.||Offices can save time and money by purchasing clips in bulk.|
|Subscription delivery available.||
Enjoy peace of mind knowing your office is always stocked with the supplies it needs.
The bottom line: Presenting strong benefit statements will give your prospect tangible reasons to buy the product.
At the end of the day, no two deals are identical. Consider combining these mindset strategies to better tailor your sales pitches and create stronger connections with each unique prospect.
Originally published Sep 22, 2017 8:30:00 AM, updated September 22 2017