12 Selling Skills
Chapter 8: Making Persuasive Offerings
I am not judged by the number of times I fail,
but by the number of times I succeed;
and the number of times
I succeed is proportional to the number of times
I fail and keep trying. – Tom Hopkins
The sale is a “mental game” of selling,
where real deals are made.
During your pitch,
you convert skeptical
and distrustful potential customers into dedicated customers
An effective sales pitch
can increase your sales many times over
than a fragmentary and unprepared explanation
or proof of the product/service you are trying to sell.
During the questioning phase of the sales process (see chapter 6),
when you ask well-prepared,
well-rounded questions that elicit wants,
desires, and purchases,
both Both you
and your potential customer must understand four factors:
Potential customers really need the product to improve their life
or work in specific ways.
Potential customers can use the product
and enjoy the full benefits of what the product can do.
Potential customers can benefit
from the product in specific ways at a reasonable cost.
Potential customers can purchase the product;
it’s not too expensive considering their current financial situation.
Once you and your prospect know these four conditions well,
it’s time to convince the prospect to take action.
“Cherish forever what makes you unique,
because you’re really a yawn if it goes.” -Bette Midler
Developing presentation skills
The majority of offers,
probably around 95%, could be improved.
The good news is that presentation skills,
like sales skills,
can be learned.
With a bit of thought and practice,
you can become extremely good at delivering a persuasive pitch
about your product/service.
Many of my graduates have doubled
or tripled their sales
in just 30 to 60 days
by increasing the quality of their offers.
Before moving on to the sale,
you should restate
and agree on the issues and needs
that you and the prospect have discussed
and identified in the questions section of the sales process.
Then explain why your product/service
is an ideal solution to your customer’s problem.
You should explain exactly how the customer
will benefit from your product/service.
You should be careful in how you present it
so that customers can see the features
and benefits of the products
and services you are offering
to suit their specific needs.
You should ask questions throughout to ensure clarity,
to get feedback,
and to reach agreement.
• Does this offer mean anything to you?
• How do you feel about this proposal?
• How do you see it?
• How do you feel about this proposal so far?
• What do you think about this?
• Do you have a question or concern that I have not mentioned?
(This is a wrap-up question,
asked once you’ve completed your pitch.)
Remember, the best salespeople are constantly
asking questions aimed at enticing,
engaged customers out more information
for a chance to be heard,
to build credibility
and to make sure they’re on the right track.
“You have to tell a story before you can sell a story.” – Beth Comstock
Encyclopedia for sale
A good pitch is carefully designed and rehearsed.
It is a logical, orderly way
to move from general problems
to specific problems.
It cannot be said indiscriminately
or haphazardly in the course of your client meetings.
There is a very famous story that took place around 1952,
a large encyclopedia company commissioned
a group of behavioral psychologists
to create what would come to be known
as “Encyclopedia Offer”.
It is designed with 42 questions
and each question needs
to be answered “yes”
in order for the presentation to continue.
The last question is
to confirm the transaction
and write the payment slip.
As far as I can remember,
when the salesman knocked on the door,
the first question was:
“Do you live here?”
This is an important element to start your offering.
There’s no point in starting a sale with a visitor.
The second question is:
“Do you believe in the importance of higher education?”
If the prospect does not believe in the importance of higher education,
the sales visit should stop
and the salesperson should seek out a new customer.
Each question will become more specific,
and the sale will continue
as long as the customer
answers these “sweet questions” with a yes.
And when the offering was completed,
it was rolled out around the world.
Everyone has been trained
by dozens of other people
to knock on doors
and make this sale.
Due to the offer for sale
that the encyclopedia company made billions
of dollars selling the series
all over the world,
and sometimes they sold English versions of the series to people
who didn’t even know the language.
“To build a long-term,
when you don’t close a sale,
open a relationship.” – Patricia Fripp
Time is very important
Before you start explaining the benefits your product/service offers
and why it’s a good choice
for a potential customer,
he or she must be interested
and curious about what’s going on,
and you are selling.
The process of asking questions
to determine the need has fueled customer curiosity
to the point that they want
to know more about buying your product.
Where you make your offer is also important.
You need to make sure that the customer is completely free
to focus on the salesperson
without being interrupted or disturbed.
It’s the salesperson’s job to schedule an offer
to make sure the prospect can fully
focus on what he’s saying.
“Keep your sales pipeline full by prospecting continuously.
Always have more people to see than you have time to see them.” – Brian Tracy
An offer to a salesperson is like a doctor’s surgery.
It needs to be well prepared in advance.
Plan your pitch step by step.
before each client meeting.
Never assume you already know enough about it.
Many years ago,
as an aspiring professional speaker,
I gave identical lectures to different audiences
across the country.
After three or four presentations
to a positive audience
with good feedback and acclaim,
I concluded that there was no need
for me to prepare any further.
The next time I gave that presentation,
I went unprepared and started speaking.
It’s a mistake! I remember,
what I presented sounded really bad.
I remember the disappointed faces of the audience
because I didn’t review my notes carefully
before making the presentation,
it started to malfunction after a few paragraphs.
Then everyone started to stand up,
shake their heads,
and walk out of the room.
I learned my lesson.
And that never happened again.
Review your pitch before every client meeting.
Never assume that you are smart enough
to remember every detail of the offer.
Today, even if I’ve given
that presentation a hundred times,
I still spend an hour or two
before each presentation going over every word
and every detail before actually doing it.
This has made a significant difference in my career.
“The best way to sell a product is
to make people want the product.” – Ted Nicholas
Here’s the rule:
Preparation is an expression of professionalism.
The word “over-prepared” never existed
in the dictionary of true experts.
Sales professionals prepare and prepare,
and then prepare again.
They review every detail of their offering,
and then review it again.
They do not surrender to fate.
The huge benefit of thorough preparation is
that it allows you to focus completely on your client.
Instead of trying to remember what you want to say,
you feel relaxed, confident,
You feel positive and completely in control.
You can focus all your time
and attention on your customers
and make them feel good about themselves.
“People buy emotionally,
and they justify their decisions intellectually.” – David Sandler
How to make an offer?
It is like a play on stage,
where all the props are carefully positioned
and each actor has to move in a prescribed manner
and say specific sentences at specific times.
your offer also needs to be carefully considered
and executed as efficiently as possible.
Start with your positioning,
when talking to customers.
Avoid sitting on the other side of the table.
This is a confrontational position,
even if subconsciously.
Instead, look for the opportunity to sit diagonally
with the prospect,
or in a chair where
there is no table separating the two.
If you find yourself sitting
across from the customer
as you prepare to deliver,
politely ask if the prospect would like
to move to a position
that makes both of you comfortable.
In all my sales career,
around the world,
I have never met a customer who said “no” to this offer.
“Good content is not storytelling.
It’s telling your story well.” – Ann Handley
VIEW, PROVIDE INFORMATION AND ASK QUESTIONS
Think in three directions.
People will be most happy
with information presented in three directions.
It’s a special tool that has been used
by professional speakers
to make the most of their audience,
and you can use it in your pitches.
The best trilogy is called “show,
inform and ask questions”. Such as:
“This is a new feature we recently added to this product.”
“Here’s what it can do, how it does it,
and the benefits it can give you.”
“Do you see any features that you can take advantage of?
Is it for your job?”
(Make a question)
When you show,
and ask questions,
you keep the prospect fully focused on your offer.
Continually find ways
to get customer feedback
by asking questions.
The person asking the question is the one in control.
“If you are not moving closer to what you want in sales (or in life),
you probably aren’t doing enough asking.” – Jack Canfield
BECAUSE… YOU CAN… THIS MEAN…
Teach your customers how to get the best benefits
from using the product/service you are describing.
The most effective way to educate customers is
to use another three-step method:
“Because…” (Describe product features)
“Can you…” (Describe the benefits of the product)
“What does that mean…” (Describe the customer benefits)
Here is an example:
You are selling a flat screen TV and you say:
“Since this is a flat screen TV,
you can mount it anywhere on your wall
( benefits of the product),
which means you can turn your family room
into a movie theater for your family
and friends (customer benefit).”
Of course, the reason customers buy is
because of the benefits they will receive.
But customers also want to know
how they can get those benefits,
and why they get them.
When you use this three-step method in sales,
you’ll be amazed at
how quickly the prospect you’re dealing
with makes a purchase.
I taught this method
to a national sales organization a few years ago
and it was immediately taught
to all salespeople in the company.
Sales managers later told me
that their sales skyrocketed from $50 million
to $75 million the following year,
due to the adoption of the three-step selling method.
“You are your greatest asset.
Put your time, effort and money into training.” – Tom Hopkins
POWER OF PHOTOS
Here’s an interesting discovery:
Customers won’t buy your product/service unless
and until they can envision themselves actually using
and enjoying the benefits of what you are offering.
How are you selling?
People must be able to create a really clear mental picture
of how they will use your product/service.
Without that mental image,
they will almost always respond with words like,
“That sounds great,
but let me see.”
Your job is to create interesting images of how potential customers use
and enjoy the benefits of the product you are offering.
That’s why photos of your customers
using your product/service will have a big impact
on the quality of your offer.
That’s why TV commercials have
such a powerful effect.
As soon as customers visualize themselves using a product,
they are ready to buy it.
Think about going to buy a new car.
The first thing the customer does is invite you
to sit in the car and take a test drive.
Your desire to buy that car will increase 10 times
after you have tried driving
and experienced the feeling of sitting in the car,
having memories and images of yourself sitting in the car.
It is very simple to create this mental visualization.
Say: “Imagine it!”
“Imagine yourself using this product/service!”
“Imagine how you will feel once you start enjoying the benefits
and results of this product/service!”
“Try to imagine yourself achieving this result!”
Whenever you say,
“Imagine,” the other person will immediately imagine themselves
actually using what you are suggesting.
You can also say:
“Think of what difference it could make for you!”
“Think about what difference
it could make in your life
if you achieve complete financial freedom
and you never have to worry about money again.”
“Think about what difference it could make in your life
if all the reports are on time and accurate
and you don’t need to double check them.”
Whenever you ask people if they can imagine
or “see” themselves using your product/service
– “Can you see yourself using your product/service?”
this product into his work?
Can you imagine yourself using this product at home?”
– they automatically create a mental picture
and put themselves in the center of that picture.
“Unwillingness to do what no one else wants to
is why people lack money.” – Grant Cardone
KEEP CUSTOMERS PROACTLY ENGAGED AND ENGINEED IN THE CHAT
In addition to sitting in a comfortable position
with the customer during the sale,
you should get the customer actively engaged
and engaged in the conversation.
Ask the customer to do something.
When I’m selling,
I ask my prospects to calculate numbers,
learn to read a specific passage of documents I’ve prepared,
or grab or hand me a piece of paper.
The more customers participate and have
The more influence they have on the offer,
the greater the likelihood
that they will really want to use and enjoy the benefits
that your product/service brings.
The more proactive a customer is,
the more they see themselves benefiting from what you’re selling.
“Ninety percent of selling is conviction
and 10 percent is persuasion.” – Shiv Khera
END OF SALE CARDS
Trying to close the offer
during the offering helps elicit feedback from the customer.
Closing the offer is sometimes called the “close test,”
when you test it out to see if what
you’ve done up to that point is OK.
It’s sometimes called a “closed-sale guide”
because you’re looking for cues from your prospect
to decide which direction you should go in at that point.
It’s also sometimes called a “closer’s pulse,”
when you actually “take the pulse” of your customer during your offering.
Trying to close the sale is the mark of a sales professional.
Inexperienced salespeople will often
go through a circuit from start
to finish without allowing
or enabling customers to have any comments or opinions.
By the end of the offer,
the customer’s mind will be so overwhelmed with facts
and details that he can no longer afford
to make a buying decision.
As a result, the customer will say,
“I’ll think about this.”
Many people think that trying
to close the offer can get you a “no” answer
before you even close the offer.
It’s not really, it’s merely giving you feedback
that can show you which direction
to continue and which direction to stop.
For example, you could say,
“Do you like this color?”
and potential customers might say,
“Oh, no, I hate that color so much.”
And then you can say,
we have a lot of other colors for this product
and there’s bound to be one you like.”
You might ask,
“Are you going to need to use this new feature of the product in your work?”
The prospect might reply,
“Oh, no, we won’t use that feature.”
Here’s a pretty useful piece of information you’ve gathered.
This information prompts you to stop talking about new product features
and move on to other features
and benefits that customers may be more interested in.
“For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic,
you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.” – Zig Ziglar
ALWAYS BE POSITIVE
Successful selling is really a process of “transforming enthusiasm”.
Transactions are made when your belief,
your enthusiasm for what is good
and the value of the product/service you are offering,
is communicated like an electric arc,
from your mind to your heart and mind of potential customers.
For this reason, you need to stay positive,
confident and optimistic about the quality of your product/service
and the good it can bring to your customers.
The level of trust you place in the quality of what
you’re selling creates a positive effect on your customers.
It’s one of the most powerful influences
you can have on your customers.
The most successful and highest-paid sales
people seem to really love their products/services,
really care about their customers,
and really believe that the products/services
they offer can make a difference,
help clients improve their lives
and work in some way.
Emotions are often contagious.
When your positive emotions are strong enough,
it will actually translate to the customer
and make the customer want
to buy and use what you are selling.
“If you are not moving closer to what you want in sales (or in life),
you probably aren’t doing enough asking.” – Jack Canfield
This is possibly the most powerful part of an effective pitch.
In selling anecdotes,
you tell success stories of customers
who have been satisfied with the product.
When you tell a success story,
other customers automatically put themselves in the shoes
of a satisfied customer
and imagine themselves enjoying the benefits of your product/service. again.
The person who won the Nobel Prize
for the work that discovered
the secret of the cerebral hemispheres
and brain activity once said that
everyone has a left brain and a right brain.
Each side of the brain performs completely different tasks.
The left hemisphere of the brain
is responsible for language processing,
classifying, remembering words,
and perceiving time.
It is the left hemisphere of the brain
that carefully analyzes,
and evaluates information and ideas.
The right hemisphere of the brain is different.
The right hemisphere is stimulated by stories,
In fact, the left hemisphere of the brain is responsible
for learning new words and their meanings,
while the right hemisphere
is responsible for integrating those words
and phrases into the language.
All purchasing decisions are made
by the right hemisphere of the brain.
The right hemisphere of the brain takes in all the facts,
and feelings and merges it into a single conclusion set up,
buy or not buy.
When you create mental images
and tell stories of satisfied customers,
you stimulate the right brain
and drive purchasing decisions.
When you talk to a customer,
depending on whether the audience is male or female,
tell him/her stories about male/female customers
who have purchased your product/service
and the benefits that he/she received from that product/service.
Since time immemorial,
stories have been the most powerful means of conveying information,
“What we really need is a mindset shift that will make us relevant to today’s consumers,
a mindset shift from ‘telling
& selling’ to building relationships.” – Jill Stengel
All good stories have a hero or a heroine.
When you tell a story about a hero or heroine,
the listener automatically puts themselves in the shoes of the hero
or heroine you are describing.
That’s why men like action movies
with action heroes and women like romantic movies
with female stars who have similar characteristics
and traits that they wish they could be too,
should be like that.
Who is the hero or heroine in your story?
Those are satisfied customers
who have purchased your product/service
and have made certain improvements in their life
or work as a result of that purchase decision.
Whenever you tell stories of happy,
successful customers after using your product,
you create in the prospect’s mind a deep subconscious desire
to become a customer,
become those people.
All good plays/stories have a villain as well as a hero,
which is another way of semi-anecdotal.
Who plays the villain in your story?
Those are the people who failed
to buy your product/service
and then feel extremely sorry for the missed opportunity.
Here’s a story:
“About six months ago,
I called Bill Smith.
He turned me down
and decided to buy a cheaper version
of the product from our competitor.
Bill just called me last week
and told me it was his biggest mistake.
He saved a bit of money,
and then he had a lot of problems with that product.
Now he wants to give up
and buy my product,
even though our product is more expensive than the one he bought.”
When you use stories in your pitches,
you make the biggest impact of all.
You talk about people
who have purchased your product/service a
nd how satisfied they are after using that product/service.
You also tell a story about the person
who didn’t buy your product/service only
to feel disappointed and regret later.
When your customer wants to be that hero
and doesn’t want to be the villain,
the customer finds himself buying
and using your product/service.
And that’s when the transaction is made.
“Arouse in the other person an eager want.
He who can do this has the whole world with him.
He who cannot walks a lonely way.” – Dale Carnegie
Plan, prepare, review and improve
Your goal is to plan and refine your offer
so that it is convincing enough to build trust
with potential customers
and make them decide to buy in nearly all offers.
At the end of every great sale,
the customer should be eager
to enjoy the benefits of what you’re selling.
Fortunately, this largely depends on your thorough preparation
and continual improvement of your offering.
And mastering presentation skills
is a skill that you can learn.
When I was first trained to sell technology software products,
I was given a series of slides
and asked to memorize them.
During the first few pitches,
because I relied entirely on the structure
and timing of those presentations,
the way I communicated
with clients seemed clumsy and unnatural.
Those slides destroyed my ability
to communicate effectively,
and my sales suffered as a result.
Slides should only serve
as a support for the structure of the offer.
Use them as a reference to reinforce points
and provide visuals.
Don’t rely too much on slides
when making your pitch.
Instead, use the headings in each slide
as a general guide
and talk passionately about your product/service.
Emphasize the benefits your product/service can bring
to customers and give real-life situations.
Do not read the slides.
our potential customers may have read those documents.
Your job is to consolidate information,
add value to the slide, not read the slide.
The best slides are the simplest ones.
Sometimes just a single word
or an interesting image is
all you need to convey the necessary information.
When designing your presentation slides,
I recommend designing two copies.
The first version is the one you will present.
It should provide a sequence of points to present
and images that can make a positive impact that
you can interpret with passion and enthusiasm.
The second copy will be what you send to the customer later
offer for sale.
This copy should be designed
so that potential customers can read a
nd learn the information without further explanation.
Imagine going to 10 different people,
in 10 different industries or sectors.
Make it simple and clear enough for
the reader to understand,
especially the benefits they can enjoy
from using your product/service.
“To sell well is to convince someone else to part
with resources not to deprive that person,
but to leave him better off in the end.” – Daniel Pink
Here are seven exercises that you can use to help yourself make
even better presentations in the future.
Explain why a well-prepared presentation is far more effective
than a sketchy presentation
and can change with each new client.
List three reasons why your position in the customer’s mind
is important to a prospect’s buying decision.
Identify three words that customers use
to describe the best salespeople.
Identify three sales methods used by the best salespeople.
List three presentation techniques you can use
to increase the persuasiveness of your offer.
What are three things you can say
to help potential customers develop a mental image
in which they are using
and enjoying the benefits of your product/service?
What are three benefits of using an anecdote in your pitch?
Finally, if there was one action you would take
immediately following the lessons learned
from this chapter, what would you do?