One of the most universally hated and commonly avoided selling tasks is cold-calling, and there’s a reason for that. That first contact point can be awkward, aggressive, or even overwhelmingly negative, and if your sales team is not armed with the proper training, you are destined to lose sales reps from burnout and stress. So how can you motivate your sellers to pick up the phone, make those calls and build new potential pipeline?
While making a sale looks different in every industry, the core of sales has to revolve around meeting customer needs. If you don’t know anything about your customer, making a sale inevitably becomes drastically more difficult. Because salespeople have to interact with so many different people all the time, it can be a psychologically overwhelming job.
You can turn that around by applying psychological principles to your problems. Sales gamification helps sales teams turn stressors into motivators by building better habits, incentivizing pipeline-building activities, and baking in incentives your team is happy to work for. By gaining insights into the human mind, you can help improve the success of your sales team without creating stress in the process.
Here’s how you can start applying psychology to your sales.
1. Your Inner Dialogue Matters
Salespeople are the lifeblood of every company. It sounds like a motivational poster, but the sentiment holds true. When you bring in new customers or help retain existing customers, you’re the one creating the revenue stream and building the pipeline for the company. Remind yourself that you’re important. Start viewing your job in sales as a privileged position. You get to interact directly with the company’s number one asset: the customers.
Your job is not to extricate their money from them, but rather to help improve their lives or their businesses with your company’s products. You also get to be the face of the company, the solution to your client’s needs, and help them find impactful solutions. Sales is not about squeezing people. If your inner dialogue towards your job is largely negative, that will show up in your results. Changing your mindset about what you’re actually doing can improve your ability to prospect and increase your performance. By training yourself and your sales staff to think in more positive ways, you can help your team reset, rebuild, and build better habits.
2. Sell Solutions, Not Products
While a good price and high quality are often reasons people like a product, they’re not the reasons people buy them. In both B2B and B2C companies, people buy products or services because they feel like it will help solve their problems and meet their needs. Products are always meant to accomplish something, and you need to understand the solutions of what you are selling as much as the product itself.
Approach prospects with an open mind, ready to learn what they actually want to accomplish and what they’re missing. Listen closely, then you can match a product to their needs and demonstrate how it will help them succeed. By hearing these needs, processing them, and suggesting a comprehensive solution instead of a knee-jerk response, your client is much more likely to trust you.
3. Be Persistent
Don’t let your prospects forget about you. No matter how important you are in your own daily life, no prospect is going to remember you without a good reason. The best way to be memorable is to be present. Regularly providing value to prospects and existing clients can keep you in their line of sight.
For some, this means sending out informative emails on topics the recipient cares about. For others, it could mean a quick call to check up on the product purchased or general customer progress. Depending on where you are in the sales funnel, you will want to build a routine for your general outreach. Being present keeps you in the game. Whether you see the benefits immediately or not, the efforts often pay off with direct sales to those clients, references to new clients, and even the potential to upsell when you discover new pain points.
4. Social Proof Matters
When you see a new restaurant open up, you might want to try it, but, you’re likely to be hesitant if you can’t find anyone else who’s already tried it to give you their opinion. If you find someone who liked the new place, you’re probably going to go. If they didn’t like it, you might stay away. This same scenario plays out in almost every buying/selling situation in the world.
The opinions and experiences of other people matter deeply to us. In many cases, the first opinions we hear about a company, product, or service hold more weight to us than what we hear later. A 2013 study by the Trust Centre for Neuroimaging showed a correlation between positive opinions and an increase in the value of something. It also indicated that we often feel better when we agree with the opinions of others, whether negative or positive.
When there are existing opinions expressed about something, we’re more inclined to agree with them. Make sure you’re showing the positive impacts of your products. Broadcast your happy customers and showcase their great results. This small step can create a better overall image. You can further this messaging by creating a personal brand to build yourself as a trusted expert as well as expanding your potential client list.
5. Scarcity Increases Value
When something is viewed as scarce, there is more value and importance assigned to it automatically. This looks different in each industry, but it always appears in some way. In direct-to-consumer industries, scarcity can appear in messages telling you that an item is low in stock or that a certain deal is only available for a short time. In B2B spaces, scarcity shows up as deadlines for contracts or time periods for deals.
A good example of a company selling through scarcity is Amazon. Once a product listed by the company reaches a certain lower inventory level, the number of available products is displayed prominently near the purchase buttons. Creating scarcity can be a great way to develop a sense of urgency around what you’re offering to your prospects or clients. This isn’t an underhanded practice with false narratives. Instead, it’s a way of working your sales around the natural product cycle in your company. You don’t want to manufacture false scarcity, but creating a timeline for a decision can help you create more structure around your sales process. Understanding some basic psychological principles can help you become better at sales.
Observing your own thoughts, the thoughts of others, and how you’re acting based on those thoughts can bring great insights to improve your performance. If you are interested in launching more of a thoughtful sales culture that taps into your team’s intrinsic psychological drives and motivates pipeline generating daily activities, sales gamification is the perfect solution.
Contributor Bio: Christine James believes that every customer has a voice. She is the Community Manager at HissingKitty.com(a customer complaints website) and loves talking to customers on social media about their challenges with Fortune 500 companies. Her work has been published on Huffington Post, Inc., SocialMediaToday, and Thought Catalog. Follow her on Twitter @hissingkittycom.