Part 1 of 3: how to use your sales skills to close deals, the most essential sales skill of all!
Part 1 is going to explore the AIDA acronym, part 2 is about how to manage objections effectively and part 3 covers how to ask for the business so that you’re likely to get it.
Stunning Sales Skills 1
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We’ll start of by looking at AIDA. There are loads of sales acronyms around and the best known one is probably DIPADA. But I like AIDA best because it’s shorter, easier to remember, easier to execute, it’s a marketing fundamental and, most important of all, it really, really works. Master AIDA and you’ve mastered a fundamental sales skill.
No, it’s not that opera by Verdi. Instead, it’s the simplest and most powerful way I know to get yourself into a position where you can sensibly close your sales pitch.
- A = Attention
- I = Interest
- D = Desire
- A = Action
Lets look at each element of AIDA in turn.
You need to grab the full attention of your client before you expect to get anywhere.
I remember once being asked to pitch a client whilst she was in the middle of her packed lunch. I figured that whatever I said I would always be competing with a prawn & salad sandwich and I didn’t fancy my chances. I politely declined, waited till she was done, (crisps followed), and only then did I get going.
Make sure that your statement is genuinely attention grabbing. Usually that means something that you know the client is deeply interested in and that does not necessarily have to be connected to the business in hand. If your client likes football then an informed comment about football it is.
Now that you have the client’s full attention you can start to build interest. You do this by matching the needs and wants of your client with the benefits of whatever it is you are selling. (Remember that in our pampered world, wants are more powerful than needs. I need water to survive but I want a gin and tonic badly….now).
By doing some research and asking appropriate questions, it’s usually pretty easy to identify your client’s needs & wants. It follows that if you can prove that what you have to offer satisfies/matches these needs & wants then it’s bound to be beneficial. Benefits generate interest.
Once you’ve got your client nicely warmed up it’s time to stoke up some serious desire. Just pile on more and more benefits and look out for buying signals. Some people are naturally cagey so they’re hard to read but if you look carefully you’ll spot them as it’s pretty much impossible to disguise genuine desire. Me, I’m a shocker. If I desire something I usually end up telling the sales person why it’s so great. This is ridiculous behaviour of course but it’s what most people do when they are excited and desirous of something.
Assuming you are getting signals of desire, you can now think about the best way of asking for the business and getting the deal closed. I’m going to be dealing with this in some detail in the third part of the Stunning Sales Skill blog but what I will say now is:
- Don’t talk money until you’ve built desire; then issues such as price become secondary
- Don’t attempt to negotiate until you’ve spotted desirous signals because then there’s only one way to go and that ‘s in the wrong direction
- If you haven’t built desire then the chances are your client is not ready to agree anything so go back to creating interest
- Desire cools quickly so your action needs to be fast; delays are deadly
AIDA in Action
Next time you see an attractive ad on TV or in a magazine or on a billboard, then stop and break it down step by step. The chances are that it has got your attention and you’ve found it interesting. Does it tweak the stirrings of desire and is there a call-to-action that you can follow up on? If so, then you’ve just been AIDAered! That’s what the best ads and the best sales pitches can do.
For fun why not check out this YouTube link to see the legendary “Coffee’s for Closers” sequence from Glengarry Glen Ross for the American version of AIDA. Be warned though. This is strong stuff.