In this series we’ve been talking about the four elements of the sales process that you can directly impact for sales success AND growth; your conversion rate, the volume of sales, the average sale value, and the length of the sales cycle. Making changes in just one of these areas will result in greater revenue, combine more than one and watch your sales steadily climb.
In this post we’ll look at increasing average sales value, arguably the factor you have the most influence over as a salesperson.
This is selling expertise at its purest.
By taking the time to truly understand your customer’s needs you have the opportunity to craft the solution that is the most beneficial for your customer AND will yield you a greater return.
Adding 30% to the Sandwich Shop Sale
It’s the difference between selling someone a sandwich only, and considering that your customer is likely having a meal – you also have the opportunity to sell him a beverage and possibly a dessert. And now you’ve just increased your total sale by 30%, simply by understanding your customer’s actual need. Apply this to every selling encounter and you can see what will happen to your bottom line.
Better Questioning Increases Average Sale Value
So how do you do it? The answer lies in improving your qualifying skills and managing your sales conversations better. Better questioning is the key. Don’t leave money on the table because you don’t ask the right questions – you must uncover your prospect’s real needs. There is real skill in doing this. I call these questions ‘compelling questions’. As Jeffrey Gitomer says, you need to ask questions that make your prospect think. These are the questions that make your prospect think in terms of their needs but answer in terms of your needs. And they most certainly aren’t the kind of questions that can be answered with a yes or a no – how can you continue the conversation then?
If you’re following along with our sandwich sales opportunity questions like: How can I make this the best lunch you’ll have this week? What’s the dessert you’ve been dreaming of? Will you be picnicking or having lunch at the office? In a business to business setting, these questions become even more important as you are often crafting a custom solution that may involve many components.
Solving Customer Problems, Not Selling
Remember that you are approaching the sales conversation from the point of view of solving your customer’s problem, whatever it might be. But you are also a business owner or someone responsible for making bringing in revenue. And if you can do the first while also keeping in mind the second, EVERY SINGLE TIME, you’ll find that you are consistently creating win-win situations and growing your sales. You want to make sure you aren’t leaving any possible revenue on the table by simply not discovering the opportunity.
Selling Skills Add the Extra 30%
You see how this is the difference between the skilled salesperson and the unskilled one? Back to the sandwich shop. In the busy lunch rush you’ve probably ordered a sandwich and the transaction ended there because the server behind the counter is being paid a minimum wage and is focused on making your sandwich and getting you out the door in a timely manner. Also important. But just think what the cumulative impact of a smile and the simple question like, “Can I get you something to drink with your sandwich today?” might be. Or, “We have freshly baked cookies today. Could I add one to your bag?”. It’s little, but impactful over the course of every transaction.
My astute readers will have noticed that these questions are also closed questions, usually something you would like to avoid in a sales conversation. They do have their place though, and this is an example of where a closed question is appropriate because it’s extending the selling opportunity.
Increasing the average value of a sale isn’t difficult, but it does require focused effort. It’s about using your selling skills to make sure you leave no stone uncovered during the sales conversation. It’s also about making sure you look for opportunities within the sales solution to add in some extras that will make both you and your customer happy. And these things take practice. Some skill and some concentrated effort consistently applied.
Manage your sales conversations optimally and consistently through great questioning and you’ll see your average sales values rise and rise. Add in one of the other four elements, and boom! You’re well on your way to sales success.