In B2B, the effort to get more sales from existing business often yields more than the effort to get new business. Moreover, in many companies the turnover is not equally distributed over all customers. A small number of customers generate the largest part of the turnover. What are the best sales techniques to use?
In this article you will learn all about sales techniques and how they can help you to get even more revenue from existing customers.
1. What is the SPIN sales technique?
The SPIN sales technique is all about asking the right questions. You let your customer do the talking. SPIN is an abbreviation of 4 different types of sales questions, aimed at arousing the interest of your customer or prospect and bringing him closer to a sale.
- S = Situation
- P = Problem
- I = Implication
- N = Need
The S-questions form the basis and aim at understanding your customer's situation. These questions are essential because the information you gain from them is useful throughout the process. An example question is: "What is your decision-making process for new purchases?" to identify a decision-maker. Or, "How do you currently organise your company car fleet?"
The P-questions make your customer aware of a problem that needs a solution, even if he did not really see a problem before. These pain points will help you later on in the process. An example question would be: "What is the biggest problem in managing your company cars?
The I-questions emphasise the urgency of the problem. "If you don't put in place a better repair service for your commercial vehicles soon, what impact will this have on your organisation?"
The N-questions help your customer to see the value of a structural solution. It is very important that your customer specifies the benefits. This is essential information, because your customer is telling you how your solution can help. An example question: "If you can use a cheaper repair service, what impact will that have on your organisation?"
2. What is the Sandler sales technique?
The Sandler sales technique is one of the sales techniques that identifies the needs of your buyer by establishing a relationship of trust between you and your customer. You act as a trusted sparring partner, looking beyond the technical problems your customer faces. You focus on the effect of a specific challenge on the entire company.
In asking your questions, you explore the following levels of pain in your client:
- Technical - You investigate the technical details of the problem but also encourage your client to outline the problem on a business and personal level.
- Business-Financial - Your customer is usually not so quick to buy something just to solve a technical problem. But if your solution, for example, also saves time and money elsewhere in the organisation, or helps him personally to spend time on more relevant projects, you will attract the attention of your customer even better.
- Personal - Try to put the problem in a personal context. People sometimes make decisions for personal reasons. A question like: "How does this issue make your life more difficult?" can help to bring this into focus. If your customer also benefits personally (e.g. less frustration, or less time spent on something), he will consider your solution much more quickly.
The Sandler approach focuses on applying the psychology of human behaviour so that your customer adopts an attitude that facilitates your sales objective. This is the key benefit.
Better a good conversation than a hard sale
Potential customers often seek information and advice before making a purchase or entering into a partnership with a company. With the Sandler technique, you leave your traditional sales approach and targets for what they are and enter into a conversation with your customer. You want to know what your customer needs, or what technical problems there are that you might have a solution for.
Especially with existing customers, the Sandler technique can lead to more sales. After all, you already have a relationship of trust and you can start a conversation more easily. In the first phases of the sales process, you emphasise things like your customer's needs and focus on the relationship of trust with your customer.
The buyer takes the initiative for the sale
In the Sandler approach, a motivated buyer ultimately takes the initiative. You have a more reactive attitude, whereby you are alert to possible opportunities to draw attention to your product or service. However, this is based on the reasons and needs of your customer. In fact, you are more of a discussion partner and advisor than a classic salesperson.
The Sandler sales technique has been compared to a submarine, as these vessels move silently underwater, waiting for the best moment to emerge.
3. What is consultative selling?
Consultative selling is a sales technique in which you, as a sales person, also act as a consultant. More than selling at any cost, you listen to your customer, understand their needs and look for the most suitable solution together.
You investigate whether the product or service you offer is useful as a solution to your customer's problems. Only then do you present the possible solutions.
Consultant and interlocutor
Consultative selling differs strongly from traditional sales techniques, which are aimed at closing the sale. With consultative selling, you prepare yourself as a seller by delving into your customer and his problems. By naming these well your customer notices that you understand him or her, and you create confidence in the solutions you subsequently offer.
Consultative selling as a sales technique is a good approach and not only for your customers. Customers who chose your solution to their problems usually use it longer and achieve better results. This results in a longer lasting customer relationship and less customer attrition.
4. What is the Challenger sales technique?
One of the most popular and effective sales techniques is the Challenger sales technique. Due to the changing world of sales, you as a sales person have to deal with the following factors:
- the high level of preparation of customers
- the evolution of products in complexity
- the complexity of the organisations to carry out the purchases
The model compares different types of salespeople, with the challenger appearing to be the most effective. Other personas are the relationship builders, the hard workers, the lone wolves and the reactive problem solvers.
The model uses a three-part sales model: teach-tailor-take control.
- Teach - For well-informed potential customers, you need to provide unique or instructive information or a new approach to their problem. The Challenger sale technique teaches customers how to overcome their challenge differently and identifies needs they were not yet aware of. A challenger brings a prospect to an aha moment.
- Tailor - Throughout the sales process, you talk to different people within the client organisation. Each person requires a tailored approach. To make sure your message lands, you personalise conversations. You are attuned to both the organisational goals and the individual goals, drives, needs and concerns of your contact person.
- Take control - Pursue your goal in a direct, but non-aggressive, way. Talk to the right people, decision-makers or influencers.
Discover your customers' pain points
Regardless of the sales technique you choose to increase sales to your existing customers, it is important to identify your customers' pain points in almost all of them.
There are three types or levels of 'pain' that your customers may be experiencing.
- Latent pain - A critical business problem that your customer does not know or has tried to solve in the past in different ways without success. Therefore, your customer thinks that it is NOT possible to solve it and therefore he does NOT consider it necessary to buy the product.
- Recognised pain - your client knows he has a critical problem to solve, he has recognised it but he does not know how or with which solutions he is going to tackle it.
- Pain with a view to a solution - your customer already knows he has a problem, knows what solution can help, knows roughly how much he is willing to pay and when he wants to implement it.
Use sales data and AI to increase sales with existing customers
Besides using a good sales technique and identifying your customers' pain points, artificial intelligence can also help in your sales process. How? By analysing unused data, discovering hidden patterns, predicting future customer behaviour and preventing or reducing customer drop-out.
Learn how to spot opportunities with sales data and AI.
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