One of the most important things I have learned about selling over the years is the requirement for authenticity. In order to be effective, you must authentically care about the customer and their needs. Once this box is checked, a simple organized pitch helping them understand your offering is the next step. Dr. Robert Cialdinis, author of "Influence" created a video on the "Science of Persuasion." After watching, I have used his discoveries to sharpen the pitch for our offering to include the following six components:
1) Liking: People want to do business with people they like. Take the time to get to know your customer. Learn enough about their business so that you can genuinely compliment them.
2) Authority: People want to do business with people they know are experts in their field. It's ok to let them know your level of experience and expertise. It's not bragging to assure them that you are very qualified to help them.
3) Consensus: People want to know that they are not the only ones doing it. For example, instead of a hotel asking for people to reuse their towels, they put a sign up that says "75% of our guests reuse towels to help the environment." Show them that others are doing it.
4) Scarcity: People always want more of what they might not be able to have. Unless your product is in infinite supply, help them understand that there is a limited supply.
5) Commitment: People are always more likely to follow through when they have made a commitment. For example, some doctors offices ask their patients to fill out the next appointment card and found that they are much more likely to come when they fill it out. This can be be accomplished with a simple non-binding letter of intent.
6) Reciprocity: People are always more likely to commit when they are returning a favor. Find a way to offer them something worthy of reciprocation. For example, waiters that offer something as simple as a mint receive higher tips.
Selling is a major part of any business. Being authentically interested in your customer and then creating a simple organized pitch based on the science of persuasion should help you increase your close rate.