Top 10 Sales Tips of All Time (well we think so anyway…)
Sales is a serious and often quite stressful job, so my first tip for those of you who are in sales or are wanting to go into sales is to not take things too seriously. I’ve seen so many sales professionals ‘throw in the towel’ because they let the pressures of what a sales person’s responsibilities are get the better of them. If you’re a sales professional who operates in a market that is competitive, complex and continually changing (which is pretty much every market these days), then you have to be prepared to take some pretty hard knocks, dust yourself off and go at it again. I experienced a sales process that went on for 12 months, only to see it fall in a heap at the very last step. Yes, for a couple of weeks after I was wondering the streets aimlessly cursing how much effort was put in to it to and reenacting the moment when everything just disappeared in a puff of smoke, but there came a time when I had to accept what happened, what I had learnt and move on.
After all, it wasn’t as though I had lost the love of my life (pretty close though…)
9. Plan your week in advance
The moment I started to take Friday afternoons to plan the following week was the moment my life became a hell of a lot less stressful. Taking a couple of hours at the end of each week to quickly review whether the week went in line with the way you were expecting (and if not, why not), then planning out the week ahead to how you want it to unfold, is extremely powerful.
What this does is it creates an almost ready laid footpath whereby all you need to do now is step on the right stones laid to keep yourself on track. This may include blocking out times for new business market and company research, cold-calling periods, proposal creation and CRM data entry – all of which are often neglected or pushed to the side because of other ‘urgent’ matters.
8. Make friends, not clients
You want to know the secret to consistently hitting your sales KPIs? Take greater care in looking after those who you’ve just worked so hard to do business with. I’m amazed how many BDMs move so quickly onto the next ‘deal’ without realising the golden goose they’ve left behind. That client you’ve just brought on could not only feed a fraction of you sales KPI every month, it could also be your golden ticket into many other warmed-up opportunities.
There is no easier, more efffective and proven way to win more business then to leverage off the business you have already brought in. Trust me, if you do this, your new ‘friends’ will be more than accommodating to help you become more successful. You might even receive the odd ‘a friend of mine told be about the work you’re doing with them’ surprise call. There’s no sweeter call.
7. Instant Acknowledgement
Why is Facebook, Instagram and twitter so popular? Because they all satisfy our fundamental and emotional need of acknowledgement. We selfish beings enjoy nothing more then being acknowledged and the faster that happens the better. Don’t tell me that as soon as you post a status update on Facebook or a photo on Instagram you’re not checking your iPhone every couple of minutes to see how may ‘likes’ you’ve received.
This same emotional trigger applies in sales too. As soon as you receive an email or message from a client, the sooner you get back to them, even if you don’t have the answer, the better. Simply replying “I’ll look into straight away and have an answer for you by COB tomorrow” will work wonders in building your credibility and reliability as a sales professional.
6. Don’t spread yourself too thin
We all want to be able to sell everything to everyone. However, as soon as you become more focused on a particular niche market with a handful of services/products, the sooner you will have prospects coming to you (a sales professional’s dream). Why? Because you have become the guru of that particular domain and no one else knows more or can do it better than you.
5. Use your CRM software (or if you don’t have a CRM, record your every action)
This point ties in quite well with tip 9 and the reason I’ve made it a separate point is that, not only will this make your life easier to manage and operate, it will also make your manager’s life easier. We all know that keeping your clients is only half way to becoming a great sales professionals, the other other is keeping your boss happy.
The other important reason for continually updating your activity into a CRM is to track your success (and failures), so you can continue to grow and develop as a sales professional. How can expect to improve if you don’t have anything to compare yourself to and learn from?
4. Get out of Closing and start Guiding
There’s so much written on closing the sale. Say this, then say that and do this, then do that and you’ll then be able to (drum roll) Close The Sale. Here’s a tip – you should never have to close anything. It should be simply a matter of taking the prospect on a journey to do business together. There’s no need for that awkward moment of “So….. are you going to buy our products/service?”, it should be a smooth, seamless step-by-step process that leaves you with absolute confidence they are a client from the moment you say “Hi”.
2. Ask. Listen. Ask. Listen. Ask. Listen… (you get picture)
This is the simple two-part equation that the majority of sales people just don’t get. These single-equation-only sales people seem to think that talk + talk + talk = sales. It doesn’t, it equals ‘a pain in the ass’. Before you head off to your sales call, write down a handful of open ended questions that evolve around three key factors: 1) A greater understanding of their personal role responsibilites & the company’s current situation/activity around what your services/products relate to 2) The areas they would like improved, saved or refined that relate to your services/products 3) What they are looking for in a partner that provides your services/products.
1. Try on their shoes
This rule has been ingrained into my mindset, and I apply it immediately every time I am about to contact a client/prospect. In other words, if I was the person who I’m just about to speak to, what questions would get me engaged and wanting to hear more form this person, how would they sound, what would they be wearing? If they called at this time of the day, would I generally be in a good mood or have enough time to speak with them? By asking yourself these questions before you act, it can shine a light on how you really should be going about approaching your sales.
For example, a classic sales wives tale is ‘you keep calling them until you get a hold of them. Don’t you dare leave a message!’ Let me ask you something – after receiving a hundred calls from the same number do you suddenly say to yourself “Oh, this person’s called me 134 times, he must have something amazing to tell me”? Of course you don’t. Just like in the tip above, you’re thinking it’s that ‘pain in the ass’ again. Sure, try a couple of times to get a hold of someone and if you can’t after a couple of attempts at different times of the day, leave a professional, informed and compelling message (note: always end the message saying you’ll try and get a hold of them later). Again, putting yourself in their shoes, if you noticed that you had a couple of missed calls and listened to a voice message mentioning something you were interested in, with a number to call back and the person said that they would try to contact you later, you would either phone them back, or, when they do call again, you would certainly be more receptive to answering, right?
So just remember – taking a little bit of time to put yourself in their shoes could get you to the finish line a lot sooner.
Your comments and any other tips you think are worth sharing are most welcome 🙂
Posted on July 3, 2012, in Account Management, Business Development, Sales Advice, Sales Management, Top Sales Lists and tagged sales, Sales Advice, sales basics, Sales Skills, sales success, sales techniques, Sales Tips. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.