Creative minds tend to grow up with the feeling that we are incapable of making sales and talking to “business people” but I’m here to tell you that sales and user experience research have way more in common than you may think. let’s drive in, shall we?
What is a sale?
Well, I’ve always felt selling was only about asking for money and we all know what aking for money feels like. Creatives do not like uneasy confrontations so we simply avoid them or just accept the first price we are giving. We have all been in that position where you wonder why you agreed to do a job at such a low price, the common excuse is we love what we do but I see that as an excuse to not being committed to learning the sales UX flow.
Sales can be defined as the transfer of enthusiasm and confidence about your product or service to the client.
we sell all the time as creatives, we just don’t know how to ask for money because we feel that asking for money is when the sales process starts and ends but it’s not… So I’m here to change your perspective on sales
Creating your user persona
For the sake of this article lets imagine that your client is a user you wish to design a solution for, and not a businessman you need to get money from, and the outcome of a design that solves their problem is that you get paid. This a relatively simple right?
who is your customer? we create personas all the time for design projects, it’s now time to create one for our sales life. What do you sell and who would it be most valuable too. If you are a designer you likely sell design expertise and it would be valuable to a wide range of target markets, you should be able to pick only 1 market to get better sales results. Example, I design single page landing pages for social startups.
Focusing on a niche makes selling way easier, I know you want to do everything but that doesn’t pay the bills. You have to get known in your industry for being able to do one thing very well.
Your customers are everywhere, but you need to be bold enough to reach out to them. Just like you would do when looking to users for a user interview.
Find your users for the interview ( find leads )
After you have identified your ideal client you have to go out to the streets and talk to people. People that could potentially buy from you are called leads and you have to know where they spend their time in order to find them. If you sell to startups you know they are in co-working spaces, if you sell to coperate businesses you know they spend time in fancy hotel conferences. You have to be able to position yourself where your leads are. Like every good user experience researcher, we only interview the most qualified users. This is salespeople call qualifying a lead.
Qualify your leads
So you have found your leads, you can quickly qualify them. This means they are open to the idea of purchasing the product you are selling right now or later in the future. You can find this out by asking open-ended questions like we do during user research but with the goal in mind to figure if the person you are talking is qualified to make a buying decision now or in the near future. If you are trying to get a corporate company to try your sas product then a qualified lead would be either the head of the department that would likely be using your product or any of the C suite executives. In this case, you don’t want to be selling to the receptionist because he or she doesn’t have buying powers and would likely tell you “I’ll let the *insert actual leads name* know when he/she is available”. Its very important you are talking to the person with the purchasing power.
Building relationship and trust by asking the right questions
So you have a couple of qualified leads, you are doing awesome so far. This is somewhat the hard part because it can take anywhere from 1–5 days if you are lucky or months in normal situations and for those really high ticket sales ( mean you charge a lot of money ), can take years of back and forth. Your goal here is to put on your user experience designer coat and just ask questions that make you find out the clients pinpoint. Your goal at the stage is not to sell anything nor is it to talk about price. Your goal is simply to ask a lot of questions and let the client tell you where it hurts. As creatives, we think sales is about deception and betraying our good nature ( this is why hate sales )but that is just an idea planted into our minds by the media
Sales is actually about helping people identify and solve their problems
If you ask the right questions the client would give you a lot of “emotional hot buttons” that can be used to close the sale. Take note of them. Ill illustrate an example. The client says something like “We intend to build a high-class brand that would attract top business people in our industry” This is a hot button, you should take mental note of as many of them as you can. A hot button is simply a phrase or sentence said that cause an emotional reaction to the client. This can be gaols, objectives, dreams fears.. etc. be very aware of these as they are ammo to close sales.
Identify the problem
So you have asked questions and built a decent relationship with the client, you know where it hurts. This is where it gets interesting your job isn’t to sell your product or service. Your job is to offer the client the best possible solution for their problems and a lot of times that solution may not actually be coming from you? ( what? Did I spend all this time only to recommend someone else? ) Why yes you did, this is why you are a salesperson
Sales is actually about helping people identify and solve their problems
If you can solve the client’s problems with your solution this then you have to learn how close the sale and I’ll try to explain how.
Closing the sale
This is what separates the user experience designers from the salespeople. Salespeople are not intimidated by the close, in fact, they love it. So you know their problems and hot buttons. There is a simple formula to close a sale and it goes like this. You tell the client, either through a call or a face 2 face meeting. Taking into account *your emotional hot buttons*, *My product/Service* is the best way for you to solve *your problems* and it would cost *insert worth of your time/product or service*
Mr John Do, taking into account the fact you desire to build the biggest brand in the world in 3 years, Our world changer brand identity plan would be the best fit to solve your problem of not having a properly designed brand and it would cost you $1,000,000.
When you are done the client should say “Thank you”
After asking for money don’t say anything else afterwards. A lot of times the client would be silent for a while, This doesn’t mean they won’t buy from you. It just means they are thinking about it so let them think, just be quiet. They would eventually say something.
Hello, guys hope you liked this article. I just read a book about sales and it really expanded my ideas of sales and I decided to share what I’ve learned with you all.
My name is Henry and I am building the creative design community in Nigeria and Africa through a company called senpai. If this article brought you any value please share with other creatives
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