When I snap my fingers, you’ll wake up and instantly want to buy my product.
…I wish it were that easy.
The SNAP selling method isn’t about snapping. Heck, it’s not even a fast-acting strategy.
But it is one of the most popular sales methodologies – and for good reason.
So what is SNAP selling and how can you use it to become a better salesperson?
Table of Contents
- What Is SNAP Selling?
- Key Concepts in SNAP Selling
- The Three Decisions
- SNAP Selling: The Book
- Key Examples: Keeping It Simple
- Key Examples: Being iNvaluable
- Key Examples: Always Align
- Key Examples: Raise Priorities
- Additional Tips for SNAP Selling
What Is SNAP Selling?
Big surprise here – SNAP selling is an acronym devised by author Jill Konrath in her 2012 book SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers.
Here’s what it stands for:
Keep it Simple.
The simpler, the better. Simple messages are easy to understand. Simple forms and interactions are less likely to deal with friction. Simple solutions to common problems are easy to pitch.
Simple sales approaches make for easier, more frequent final sales.
You’re not a salesperson in the SNAP methodology; you’re more like an advisor. You’re a partner and a trusted confidant to your prospects. The more valuable you are to them, the more likely they’ll buy from you.
You have to be specifically relevant to your target customer. You need to be seen as being on the same side and the same page. If you seem like an opposing force, your efforts are going to fall flat.
Your product seems like a good deal. So why isn’t your prospect buying? Usually it’s due to some combination of apprehension, procrastination, laziness, and an undying loyalty to the status quo.
If you want to close the sale, you have to raise priorities and establish some degree of urgency.
Okay, you get the basic picture of the SNAP methodology. But there’s a lot to explore here.
Key Concepts in SNAP Selling
These are some of the most important concepts introduced in SNAP Selling, other than the SNAP acronym content itself:
The buyer’s matrix.
The buyer’s matrix is a foundation of a sales strategy, which allows you to better understand your customer. It includes a number of variables associated with your customer, including their role, their business objectives and KPIs, internal challenges, external challenges, current strategies and initiatives, the status quo, change drivers, and change inhibitors.
In short, the better you fill this out – and the better you understand your customer – the better you’ll be able to serve them and sell to them.
The “D-zone” is a dreaded zone, wherein your messages are going to be deleted or ignored. Much like the Phantom Zone, f you get to this place, it’s hard, but not impossible to emerge from it. Best avoid it at all costs.
Frazzled customer syndrome.
The title of Konrath’s book refers to “frazzled customers,” who apparently, are suffering from a set of similar symptoms as if they all shared the same disease.
Frazzled customers are tired, worn out, impatient, and easily distracted. They’re also demanding and they want things to be as easy and streamlined as possible.
We could discuss the reasons for why so many people in the modern world are afflicted this way, but what’s really important is that you find a way to address it.
The go zone sounds like a kid’s playground or arcade, but in reality, it’s the opposite of the D-zone – a set of circumstances where your customers are willing and able to respond to your outreach.
The Three Decisions
Salespeople often make a critical mistake in thinking that sales is all about convincing a prospect to make a decision (at least under the SNAP methodology).
Instead, it’s about guiding your prospects through three decisions.
In some ways, this is harder. Three decisions instead of one seems like more work.
But it’s also easier, since it allows you to compartmentalize and better understand your approach.
The three decisions every customer makes are:
1. Allowing access.
First, a customer has to let you in. They have to be willing to respond to your messages, answer your questions, and give you enough information to actually work with.
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In many ways, this is the hardest decision to secure – most people don’t have the time or patience to deal with your messages and conversation starters.
2. Departing from the status quo.
Everyone leans into the status quo, whether they believe it or not. If you’re going to make a sale, at some point, your prospect needs to decide that they’re willing to change something – such as working with a different vendor or using a different piece of software.
3. Choosing you over the competition.
At this point, the prospect is ready to change something and, hopefully, buy a specific solution.
Now, your job is to convince the prospect that you’re the seller worth going with – above every other option.
SNAP Selling: The Book
I’m doing my best to recap the high points of SNAP Selling, the book, but it’s a long and detailed piece of work worth reading on its own.
I highly encourage you to read the book in its entirety if you want to dig deeper into the SNAP sales methodology.
Here are some of the main sections and topics you’ll find there:
- Introduction. The introduction summarizes the SNAP methodology and explains that modern salespeople can benefit from having fewer, higher-quality interactions.
- Decision making. Next, the book explores the concept of buyer decision making – and how to persuade buyers toward making decisions in a way that breaks the status quo.
- The SNAP approach. Sales is an outcome, not a goal. Here, you’ll learn the details of the SNAP approach in total.
- Frazzled customers. Who is the “frazzled customer?” Frazzled customers have packed schedules and are juggling countless priorities. They’re impatient and very used to the status quo. They have an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, and won’t spend time on something unless they need to.
- A breakdown of the SNAP factors. More information about the elements of the SNAP methodology and why they’re valuable.
- The buyer’s matrix. Who is your target customer? And how can you learn more about them in a way that helps you sell?
- The three decisions. How do you guide your target customers through the three decisions every prospect needs to overcome?
- Messaging and winning value propositions. Solid information about how to craft the right messaging, convey value (ie, value selling), reach the right people, and ultimately get better results.
- Trigger events. How do you trigger someone to take the next steps toward an eventual sale?
- Competition. Your biggest competitors are the status quo and “mindshare,” or the competing priorities that are already in a prospect’s mind. To win, you must help them realize that things need to change and become top of mind, above all those other priorities.
- Finalizing and follow-up. There are multiple other sections devoted to finalizing each customer decision, perfecting your approach, following up with your customers, and more.
Key Examples: Keeping It Simple
What does it mean to “keep it simple?”
Here are some great examples:
- Reduce page count. Are you about to send a 10-page manifesto about why your product is the best? Try to shrink it down to a page.
- Shorten the form field. Nobody likes to waste time on lengthy forms. Just ask for a couple pieces of basic information.
- Start small. Begin conversations with simple prompts. Don’t give your prospects a giant information dump.
- Focus on one thing at a time. You don’t have to be closing from the very start. Work on building the relationship first.
- The “tell me more” test. Get your prospects to use the phrase “tell me more.” Give them just enough information to pique their interest and keep the conversation moving.
Key Examples: Being iNvaluable
How about being “invaluable?”
Let’s take a look:
- Publish content. Whitepapers, eBooks, and other resources can be super valuable – as long as they’re well-written, with good research.
- Give advice. Serve your prospects as an advisor. Give advice and direction based on your expertise.
- Identify and explore pain points. Show that you understand the industry.
- Figure out what’s important. Find out more about your prospect and what they’re looking for – then give it to them.
- Explain trends. What’s going on in the industry? Why is this happening?
- Predict the future. What’s going to happen next? You don’t have to be right – you just have to look like an authority.
- Be the resource center. Eventually, you want to get to a point where your client trusts you on a number of matters.
Key Examples: Always Align
Aligned salespeople perform better.
Here are some of the ways they do it:
- Solve the problem. What’s the main problem and how can you solve it?
- Express sympathy. Don’t just identify pain points; express sympathy for the prospect experiencing them firsthand.
- Understand objections and motivations. The better you know your prospect, the more likely you’ll be to close.
- Work together. This is, in many ways, a collaborative relationship. See yourself as a partner.
- Avoid looking like a salesperson. Again, you’re a partner – not a salesperson. Don’t push too hard for the close. Build a good relationship and follow up.
Key Examples: Raise Priorities
Okay. So your prospect wants to change things. How do you convince them to change things now, rather than later?
Here are some of the best ways to do it:
- Make a limited time offer. A sharp discount or limited-time bundles can make people act quickly.
- Cut the price. Has this prospect seen a higher price point? Cut it.
- Point out losses and critical problems. Is your prospect hemorrhaging money or missing critical opportunities? Point this out.
- Remain top of mind. Don’t let your prospect forget about you. Follow up regularly.
Additional Tips for SNAP Selling
Finally, here are some additional tips you can use to perfect your SNAP selling approach:
Lose the sales mentality.
Don’t see yourself as a salesperson setting out to persuade someone to give you money. Instead, see the deal as already won.
This prospect is your partner, and you have the power to solve a major problem they face.
Focus on needs.
What does this prospect need? What are they missing in their current approach? Instead of pushing how awesome and amazing your product is, figure out how flawed and in need of change the prospect’s methodology is.
You have a lot of competition, including status quo – so what makes your brand different? Figure out a way to stand out.
Tell the truth.
Here’s a novel concept; be honest and tell the truth. In the SNAP methodology, you get ahead not with bold promises and grandiose claims, but with simple, straightforward helpfulness.
Simple is the S in SNAP, so reduce the complexity of your sales methodology in every way you can. Streamlined, lean processes will always win out in this approach.
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Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.