Like most artforms, sales is also a science.
And before you can master the art, you must master the science — in the same way that before you can draw a forest, you must learn how to draw basic shapes.
Here, we’re going to give you the tried-and-true sales techniques that top salespeople use to convert prospects into customers.
The more time you spend mastering your own salesmanship, the more that you’ll learn how to make these your own — the more you’ll turn sales into an artform. But these are the starting techniques; the scientific principles if you will. 9 of them, to be exact.
1. Start With a Sales Funnel
Let’s imagine that you’re the best salesperson who ever lived.
Everyone you speak with who is convert-able, you convert.
You’re a sales god.
Naturally, then, you spend a lot of time on the phone, trying to squeeze as many sales out of your uncanny abilities as possible per day.
Unfortunately, even you — the best salesperson in the world — have a limit.
Because there are only 24 hours in the day.
So you think to yourself, “What if there was a way to convert just as many people without talking to them on the phone?”
That’s when you discover sales funnels.
Sales funnels — contrary to websites — are page-by-page experiences that guide prospects toward taking one very specific action; opting in, registering for an event, purchasing, etc.
And because of their single-minded focus, they convert much more effectively than websites.
Check out the video below to see why we think that websites are dead…
In fact, sales funnels are a bit like having your best salesperson guide every prospect toward conversion… except that a sales funnel doesn’t have finite bandwidth and it doesn’t get paid a commission.
It just works to systematically turn visitors into leads and leads into customers.
The Tripwire Funnel for selling products…
And the Webinar Funnel for generating leads and making sales…
Of course, if you’re offering coaching, consulting, or freelance service, then you might still need to hop on the phone to close… but sales funnels can still help you generate leads and qualify prospects.
After all, why do person-to-person what you could automate?
2. Define Your Dream Customer
Who is your dream customer?
Ideally, you should understand your target market better than they understand themselves. Do you have clear answers to the following questions?
- What demographic do you serve?
- What are their biggest fears?
- What are their deepest desires?
- How can you help them?
- What objections do they have to your product/service?
- What drives them?
If you don’t, it’s worth taking the time to define your dream customer in detail.
Before you do that, it’s going to be virtually impossible to qualify prospects. And so you’ll likely spend too much time talking to people who will never convert and perhaps not enough time talking to people who will convert but need a little more convincing.
You might even consider giving your “dream customer” a name and finding a headshot on Google to associate them with. The more specific you are with defining your dream customers — the people who you most want to work with — the easier it’ll be to find them and convert them.
To learn more about identifying and finding your dream customers online, pick up Russell Brunson’s bestselling book, Traffic Secrets, for free.
3. Understand Your Value Ladder
If your business is like most, then you’re not just selling one product or service but an entire suite of products and services.
More than likely, it’s a suite of products and services that are meant to help your target market throughout their entire journey — from beginning to end.
Just consider our long list of offers at ClickFunnels.
- We have the One Funnel Away Challenge for people who are just getting started with sales funnels.
- We have our primary service, ClickFunnels, that helps people create sales funnels (whether they’re beginners or experts).
- And we have our 2 Comma Club Coaching program for people who want to learn to build million-dollar businesses!
We have many more offers, but you get the idea…
There’s something for everyone within our target market.
We call this suite of products a value ladder. Here’s what the value ladder looks like…
From left to right, every step represents a new product or service, simultaneously increasing in value and price toward the company’s ultimate offer. Meanwhile, there’s a continuity program at the bottom (like a monthly or yearly subscription) that creates recurring revenue.
The goal is to ascend customers up the value ladder over their entire journey.
Here’s an example for a dentist’s office…
And here’s an example from our DotCom Secrets book launch…
What does your value ladder look like?
Map it out! Once you know, you’ll be able to quickly and easily identify where a prospect lands, which products/services they’ve already purchased, and which ones come next. This knowledge, in turn, will help you sell to them in a meaningful way.
To learn more about the value ladder, pick up Russell Brunson’s book, DotCom Secrets, for free.
4. Build Rapport
Unsurprisingly, 84% of consumers (according to PewResearch) want to buy from someone they know and trust.
Sadly (but also unsurprisingly), only 19% of customers trust salespeople.
Trust is a rare and valuable commodity when it comes to sales — and so building rapport is perhaps the most worthwhile skill a salesperson can learn.
How do you do it?
Let’s look at an example.
A few weeks ago my wife and I went on an anniversary trip to Kauai in Hawaii. Before we left, we booked a helicopter tour to get some amazing views around the island.
But I’ve always heard about how helicopters are unsafe and I was kind of terrified. So I did some research on Google and found, much to my dismay, that the exact company we were going to use (regardless of their excellent online reviews) had had a fatal helicopter crash in 2018.
Just 3 years ago!
I talked with my wife and she encouraged me to call the company and ask some questions to make myself more comfortable. At this point, I was on the verge of canceling the entire thing. But I called anyway.
Here’s how the call went.
Me: Hi. My wife and I booked an upcoming tour with you but I had some safety concerns. Would you be willing to answer a few questions?
Rep: Of course.
Me: Well, I saw that you guys had a fatal crash in 2018… is that correct?
Rep: *without any hesitation* Yes, sir.
Me: Um. Yeah. Can you try to make me more comfortable about going on this tour? Because that kind of freaks me out.
Rep: I’m not sure how you want me to do that. But I can tell you how I see it. We’ve been operating since 1962 and that’s been our only helicopter crash. During our busy seasons, we’re doing 20-30 flights a day, the vast majority of them go smoothly and the people have a wonderful time. I’ve been on many flights myself and absolutely love it. And I always tell people that to get here, you have to get on an airplane, and I personally find that even scarier than the helicopter tour. So I hope that helps. But definitely do your research and look at all of our online reviews. I think you’ll find that there are way more good experiences than bad ones.
Immediately — while still a little bit nervous — I felt a lot more comfortable about the helicopter tour.
For some reason, knowing that this guy — who seemed entirely reasonable and level-headed to me — trusted the pilots, enjoyed the tours, and thought of helicopter flying as safe gave me a lot of peace of mind about the experience.
How’d he build rapport so quickly and seamlessly?
Well, he believed that he already had rapport, that he and his company were already trustworthy. He didn’t try to push me one way or the other, he didn’t try to over explain why I should go on the tour, he only told me how he saw it — and he had a quiet but sure confidence in his “product”, the sort of confidence you can’t help but trust.
And it turns out, that’s very effective.
5. Know Your Unique Selling Proposition
What separates your products/services from the competition’s?
This is one of the most common questions you’ll get as a salesperson, regardless of your industry (albeit perhaps not with that exact wording).
That’s why it’s important to know why your products/services are special.
You’ve got to find your “blue ocean” (a term I’m stealing from Russell Brunson) — the niche in your industry where the waters are mostly free of sharks (competitors).
Here’s a great video Russell made about how you can separate yourself from your competitors. Check it out!
6. Be a Problem Solver
The best salespeople are problem solvers.
According to a survey of business buyers by Salesforce, 83% want to speak with a salesperson who is focused on helping achieve their business needs, not just on making a quick sale…
In other words, they want their problem(s) solved.
Isn’t that what we all want when we’re talking to a salesperson?
They have something we think might be able to help us with a problem. But we’re not 100% sure yet. We want them to help us determine whether their product/service will be valuable to us or not. We want them to listen to us, to be flexible, to problem solve.
I remember when I called a salesman at a car lot and asked about a sports car that was just a few thousand dollars out of my price range — I wanted to pay all cash.
I told him how much money I had on hand.
And rather than tell me that wouldn’t work, he said, “Well, since you have most of the money. What if we just financed the remainder for 3 months with zero interest? Would that work?”
Indeed it did.
He was problem-solving and it worked.
Heck, I even appreciated it.
Learn to view your prospect’s objections as an opportunity to problem-solve — and then do so.
- How can you adjust the offer to fit this person?
- Is there wiggle room on the price?
- Is there a different offer that fits better?
- Can you add on a bonus to sweeten the deal?
7. Introduce Unconsidered Problems/Needs
When you find yourself on a sales call, chances are that the prospect is aware of at least part of the problem they’re facing. But they’re probably not aware of the entire picture.
You see, there’s often a gap between the scope of problems/needs that your prospect is aware of and the scope of problems/needs that they’re actually facing.
- Maybe they’re aware that they need a better sales system…
- But are they aware of how much money not having that system is costing them?
- Are they aware of how bad systems hurt employee morale?
- Are they aware that the survival of their business hinges on successful sales systems?
- Maybe they’re aware that they need to save for retirement…
- But are they aware that they’re losing money every month they don’t save?
- Are they aware that the only way to become rich is by collecting money and assets rather than liabilities?
- Maybe they’re aware that they need a sales funnel…
- But are they aware of how not using sales funnels will limit their business?
- Are they aware of the other businesses just like them who have grown to 7- or 8-figures with sales funnels?
I’ll never forget when my wife and I went to a nice clothing store in France. I wanted to let her have fun and so I resolved to not purchase anything and just keep an eye on our toddler.
But the highly extroverted saleswoman kept pressuring me to try on these nice leather coats, to which I kept cold-shouldering her and saying, “No. I don’t need a new coat.” Little did she know, the very coat I was wearing I’d only bought a few months ago… and it was a nice coat!
But she wouldn’t let up. And right after I told her I don’t need a new coat, she said, “Okay, okay. No worries. But look at your wife. She’s so beautiful. You need a sleek and handsome coat. Not a frumpy, lumpy one.” As she said it, she eyed the coat I was wearing.
Did this lady just call my coat “Frumpy”?
I said “No” again. This time more firmly, and a little annoyed.
She went to help my wife with her shoes.
And then I looked in the mirror.
Gosh darn it. Maybe it is a little frumpy, I thought to myself. And I couldn’t stop thinking about it. She’d touched on something that I’d thought about the coat for quite some time, that it was a little too bulky for me — and she was just friendly enough that I couldn’t be mad at her for it.
A few minutes later, I said, “Fine. Let me try on the coat.”
I bought it and it’s still my favorite coat to this day.
The point is, don’t be afraid to bring up the unknown problems or needs that your target market is facing that they might not be aware of — is their current coat a little “frumpy”?
Maybe you should tell them why your “coat” is a better fit.
8. Ask More Questions
Earlier we talked about how you need to define your dream customer.
Because if you don’t understand your dream customer, then you’ll struggle to find your dream customers and sell to them when the time comes.
It would stand to reason, then, that you must understand the specific person you’re speaking with on any given sales call — because if you don’t understand them, then you won’t know if they’re within your target market.
That’s why asking questions is so darn important.
Look at the difference between top salespeople and their lower-performing counterparts…
Here’s another chart showing that successful salespeople ask more questions…
There are multiple benefits to asking more questions on your sales calls.
Here they are:
- It helps you understand the person better.
- It allows the prospect to think out loud and process the things you’re discussing.
- It creates an open and honest discussion.
There are probably other benefits.
But the point is, ask more questions more often.
Here are some of our favorites…
- Tell me about what you do.
- What metrics are you responsible for?
- What problems are you facing?
- How can we help you?
- What’s your biggest priority?
- Who are the decision makers?
- What’s your budget?
- How can I make this easier for you?
9. Be a Mentor, Not a Hero
As a salesperson, it’s tempting to spend most of a sales call telling the prospect about how amazing your products/services are, why they need them, and why they should buy RIGHT NOW.
By doing so, you make yourself and the products/services the hero.
But for the sake of the sale, that’s not what you want to do… you want to make the customer the hero.
How do you do that?
Let’s take a look at the typical hero story to get a better idea…
- The hero has a problem.
- The hero meets a mentor who understands their problem.
- The mentor gives the hero new insight, provides a solution, and encourages them to take action.
- Armed with this newfound confidence, the hero faces and overcomes their problem, reaching their goals.
You — as the salesperson for a product/service that will help the hero (your customer) achieve their goals — play the part of the mentor.
Like Yoda, you are.
From a high level, of course your job is to persuade the right people to use your products/services. But practically, that means making the customer the hero, showing them you understand them, being a mentor for the specific problems they’re facing, and providing solutions (remember our section on “problem solving”?).
It means focusing on them and their success rather than you and your success.
Do that… and you might end up being their hero after all.
To become a great salesperson, you must master the basics — the tried-and-true techniques of salespeople who’ve come before you.
Some of those techniques — the ones we think are most important — are covered in this article: define your customer, build rapport, be a problem solver, etc.
Use them to get more conversions out of every call.
And if you want to really up your game, then create a sales funnel to generate high-quality by clicking below!