Science unravels the mysteries of the universe, but it can also unravel the mysteries of being a better salesperson. Here are six tips — backed by scientific research — that will dramatically improve your sales technique and guide you on how to be a better salesperson:
1. Be curious.
A 2011 study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that 82% of top salespeople had extremely high curiosity levels. Why is curiosity such an important trait for salespeople? Because it drives them to ask customers questions. And the answers that salespeople receive from those questions give them a better understanding of customers and their needs.
2. Be ambiverted.
You’d think that extroverts would be the best salespeople, but a UPENN study found that the best salespeople are ambiverts — people who possess the traits of both introverts and extroverts. Ambiverts are successful because they’re skilled at both talking and listening: they can pitch to a customer and they can listen to that said-customer’s interests and concerns.
3. Follow your customers’ buying process.
In 2006, the Harvard Business Review surveyed customers about their biggest grievances with salespeople. Of the people surveyed, 26% said their biggest grievance was salespeople not following their companies’ buying process. This shows the importance of adapting your pitches to the way your customers and their companies make decisions.
4. Don’t compare prices.
Saying that your prices are lower than your competitor’s might not be the surefire tactic you think it is. According to a Stanford Business study, telling customers to compare prices made them worry that they were being tricked. As a result of the price comparison, the customers became more cautious, and they were less likely to buy the advertised product.
5. Have an ego.
A 2006 Harvard Business Review study lists “ego drive” as a basic quality for a salesperson. Ego drive is when salespeople want to make the sale not just for money, but to boost their ego. When they succeed, their ego is boosted. And when they fail, their ego is hurt. But they’re determined to learn from their mistakes and improve themselves to bring their ego back up.
6. Use your real name.
When you communicate with customers online, it’s better to identify yourself by name rather than stay anonymous. An American Marketing Association study found that customers were more impressed by forums where people used their real names than anonymous forums. Using your real name builds trust and lets you form relationships with customers.