In this article, we’ll discuss the finer points of utilizing leverage in your selling technique.
Utilizing leverage in your selling technique isn’t always the simplest thing. In sales parlance, ‘leverage’ can refer to any number of things, but at its core it’s best described as anything that gives you an edge with a particular prospect, something you can use to crank the pressure up and push your sale through. There are pitfalls inherent when leveraging anything, problems that can only arise when you take an aggressive, relatively forceful approach. Do it wrong, and your sales numbers won’t improve–do it disastrously, and you’ll lose sales you should have closed. In this article, we’ll discuss the finer points of utilizing leverage in your selling technique, with advice that should benefit anyone from the rank amateur to the weathered sales veteran.
Nothing can grant you better leverage or otherwise improve the applications of your selling technique better than thorough research of your prospects, the companies they work for, the competition, anything that might play a role in the buying process. If it might possibly be of consideration to a prospect, it’s worth your consideration.
Personal information about the prospect grants leverage as well–knowing whether your prospect is single or married with children may not seem immediately relevant to your selling technique, but that information can prove to give to pivotal leverage. To put it simply, all information gives you leverage that can work with your selling technique; the trick’s in understanding how much leverage you get for how much time spent researching. Find the sweet spot and stick to it.
Prospects don’t exist in a vacuum. You should ideally know who in a company you need to talk to, to make your sale–but do you know their coworkers, their immediate subordinates, or their boss? Knowing the people who help them make decisions on a daily basis will give you quite a bit of leverage. Why?
Because we’re social creatures. If you get your name, your product, your pitch circulating that inner circle, you’ll have the leverage of ‘peer pressure’ working with your selling technique. This can be handled a few ways–the ‘not sure who to speak with’ route works well in some industries, where you communicate with that inner circle and profess an ignorance of who, exactly, you want to talk to. Alternatively, aiming for the most approachable member of that decision-making circle and letting them be the first to introduce you to the key prospect may be a better move–it’s a more subtle approach to the same selling technique. Experiment and learn what works best to back your selling technique with this form of leverage.
Being liked is perhaps the single most valuable leverage you can gain in a sale relationship. If you’re someone the prospect has learned they can trust and would like to do business with, you’ve gained leverage move valuable than the rest of your selling technique combined. The trick here is that there is no trick: it’s best to truly be someone worth that level of trust, who the prospect really will benefit from being in business with. If you’re not, you’ll eventually develop a bad reputation–and you don’t want that sort of anti-leverage haunting you, poisoning your efforts and rendering your selling technique worthless.
If there’s any ‘honest trick’ to use here, it would be to provoke some form of investment early in the relationship. Get the prospect to sink money, resources, or even just a bit of time in their schedule on you and your product. People want to believe they’ve made good decisions with their resources and time, so you create a sort of positive feedback loop. Yes, this works for the same reason the ‘sunk cost fallacy’ exists. Just don’t abuse it; it’s a small back door into the mind, not a route you can abuse to plunder prospects with impunity.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.