Sales is a complicated business, especially if you are selling complex products or services.  So here are 10 simple golden rules to keep you focused when you are selling either face to face, over the phone or by the internet.

Golden Rule #1: Always Aim for Goal

Ask yourself this question: If you are doing something that isn't moving you towards your goal, then why are you doing it?

In sales, you need to be clear on what your goals are and configure your work to move towards them.  If you find yourself doing work that seems important, but on analysis, isn't actually moving you toward your goals – then why are you doing it?  A little self-analysis and checking your progress towards your goals will keep you on track.

 If it isn't moving you towards your goal, why are you doing it?

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Golden Rule #2: Never Tell a Customer "That isn't my job."

The last thing your customer will want to hear, when a problem pops up is: “It isn’t my job”.  As far as the customer is concerned you are your company.  Saying something isn’t you job or blaming someone else (even if it was their fault) for something going wrong will not put you in the customers good books – saying you will try to sort it out, and doing exactly that, will.

Golden Rule #3: Always Respect Others' Roles

Never undermine another person's job, whether it be a customer or colleague.

People like to feel their occupation is important (it will be to them, even if it only pays the bills), so in undermining someone's job you will be undermining them.  No one likes to feel put down.  Even if it is a job you would never do in a million years, respect their chosen occupation and you will make a friend, do the opposite and you are sure to make enemies.  Having enemies is bad for business.

Golden Rule #4: Focus on Important Tasks

The more you focus your time, energy and overall planning on the important tasks, the less time you will need to spend on urgent tasks.

If your spend most of your time planning ahead and focusing on the critical things you need to do to build your sales and business – then by default you will have to do less fire-fighting (urgent tasks) in the future.  As the old military adage goes: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Golden Rule #5: Control the Controllable

If you want stress, try to do everything yourself!  This will be difficult for the control freaks out there, but if you are in sales, things will go wrong.  Orders don’t get signed off, emails get lost in the system, the wrong products get picked in the warehouse, there are manufacturing issues in China, Bob’s goldfish died on Tuesday so he’s taking the week of work and the flyers won’t get sent out…the list goes on and on.  Do what you can to help the situation without getting distracted from your overall goals – then let the people who can control these situations sort them out.

Control Tower
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Golden Rule #6: Never Criticize the Competition

Finally, never ever, criticize the competition or their products – focus instead about what is so great about your products.  Having a go at the competition just makes you look mean–spirited and desperate – don’t do it.

Golden Rule #7: File It and Forget It

If you can easily look it up, don't bother trying to memorize it.

This, again, is all about focus.  Figures, prices, telephone numbers – trying to keep all these things in your head all the time is tiring.  There are a zillion ‘tools’ to help you keep these things ‘at hand’ for when you need them – use them.  Don’t clutter your brain with data; use it instead for thinking and planning.

Golden Rule #8: Say the Feature, and Play the Benefit

All products have features and benefits – the important bit is what a product can do for a customer (typically solve a problem) and that is called a benefit (to the customer).  So when in a sales call, mention the feature, but you must explain what that feature does for the customer – how it benefits them.  I have never seen a successful call that talked about features only – benefits are everything.

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Golden Rule #9: Never Show Off

Never boast about your sales achievements to a customer, even unintentionally.

Everyone makes judgments, including your customers.  And one of the judgments they make is about you.  Make sure they think the ‘right’ way about you - in other words that your are trustworthy, reliable and have their best interests at heart.  If you boast about your sales achievements then they might judge that you are only in it for the money and maybe you’re a ripping them off just to make your sales quota.

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Golden Rule #10: The Rule of Fun!

This a really easy rule to do, but sometimes in the blur of sales negotiations we sometimes forget to have fun.  Having fun is important, because when we are having fun - we are more friendly and more enthusiastic when selling - and customers like friendly and enthusiastic sales people.  So sell, sell, sell and have fun too!