Making a sale starts with a building a relationship – and building a relationship takes effort. A lot of it. That's not to say it's hard, of course; building a relationship may not be the easiest thing in the world, but it's certainly simpler than trying to push or bully a potential client into purchasing from you when your product isn't a good fit with their mission, goals or company. If you want to start closing sales and creating a fuller professional life, it starts with making yourself available to your prospects as a valuable source of trustworthy, honest and useful information. If you want to sell something to someone, it's essential to know what he or she is looking for. Think of it this way: You wouldn't try to sell a minivan to a childless bachelor, just like you wouldn't try to sell a Corvette to a mother of four. When you understand your client's needs, you can work with them show them how valuable the service or product you're offering can really be to them. To do this, you need to open up a conversation with them – believe it or not, they might surprise you. Don't try to guess what they'll want. You never know, sometimes that metaphorical mom really is looking for her own sports car.
A salesperson's role is to understand the unique challenges that a client faces in its specific market or environment, then discover a solution that will help the client overcome these issues. Rather than simply asking, many inexperienced salespeople try to guess what a client needs – or, if that doesn't work, start throwing out every possible service or product in hopes that'll something will stick. This, however, is a waste of not just your client's time, but yours as well. Instead of taking this amateur approach to making a sale, start by simply asking questions, listening to their answers and working with your prospect to devise a solution.
If you want to start see your sales close, it's time to stop focusing on yourself and start paying attention to your client. Don't just sell what you offer -sell what your client needs. To learn what that is, ask questions – What are their key interests and challenges? What do they struggle with in their industry? What are they looking to fix?
Even if it doesn't appear that you have much to offer them immediately, a little extra digging might uncover a way that you can aid them in their mission. And if not, at the very least, you've opened up a productive relationship and established yourself as a trustworthy source should they ever need a service or product that you offer.