Those of us that have made a career out of sales most likely are doing the things in the list without even thinking about it. However this list might provide value for those of us that are just starting out in the profession and looking to identify successful traits or techniques employed by the top earners. There is even value to those of us that have been in the game for a long time and need to focus our minds on areas that we may need a little work to stay on top as all of the techniques in this list are of equal importance.
Tip No 1 – The right attitude
Most of us have heard a million times advice like get up in the morning, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are the best and today is going to be the best day ever” or some such derivative. I am not discounting the importance of having a positive mental attitude – it sure does make a difference. However most of us forget the counterpart to this, in that to have the best day ever we motivate ourselves towards closing a sale no matter what. The missing part of this equation to balance things out is to have the right attitude towards our customers – that is our role as salespeople is to ultimately help our customers solve their problems. If we keep this perspective of the right attitude for us and the right attitude for our customers we are setting ourselves up for success.
Tip No 2 – Qualify Qualify Qualify
As a salesperson, time is our most valuable asset and se need to spend it talking to people fitting the criteria of our ideal customers. The first step to achieving this is to set out what your ideal customer looks like, the best place to get started on this is to profile your best customers that you already have. This way when it comes to qualifying new prospects that you are talking to, you can basically rank them in comparison to your ideal customer and this will give you a fair idea of how much time and energy to invest in your dealings with them.
Tip No 3 – Research
With all the tools that are available to the modern sales professional, particularly online resources such as Facebook and LinkedIn there really is no excuse not go into every meeting and presentation armed with some prior knowledge about the business that you are visiting and the people that you are meeting with. Believe me, this will make an impression on your prospect and it is a good source to break the ice on both a business front – asking them intelligent questions about their business and a personal front – establishing common ground.
Tip No 4 – Listening
Every sales book since Noah was a boy touts this notion yet it is still something that we forget to do from time to time. Let your prospect say what it is that they need to say and ask open ended questions to allow them to enter into dialogue. I know it is tempting to jump in and start selling particularly when a prospect expresses an implicit need but pause, wait a few moments and keep listening, you never know what else you might discover.
Tip No 5 – Overcoming Objections / Empathy
You might think that it is strange that I have lumped these two things together but there is a method to my madness – I believe they go hand in hand. The only way to truly overcome objections is to put yourself in your prospects shoes and to consider what they are saying from their perspective. Sometimes it is so easy to jump right in and try to handle an objection when you think that you have the answer. Trust me, stop, try to put yourself in their shoes and understand where they are coming from. This way when you do finally get around to trying to handle their objection, it will come from a perspective that they are likely to understand and have a positive impact on them.
Tip No 6 - Presentation
Now this technique is not so much how you dress or groom (which is very important) but rather your ability to present sometimes complex information in a succinct and easily digestible format. Your prospect does not need to know every technical fact or feature of your product or service, but only the ones that help them solve the problems in their business. This technique of simplifying complex information needs to be developed across the varying modes of media that are available and required in the modern sales environment which includes:
- Face to face presentations
- Telephone conversations
- Through Social Media
- On your company website
Tip No 7 – Trust Building and Rapport
One of the longest standing mantras of modern sales is that “people don’t buy from businesses, they buy from people” and this still rings true today. But the question is how to I build trust and rapport with my prospects? Well there are many techniques that you can employ to do this but from my experience, there is one common thread between all of them and that is to make yourself vulnerable. If you don’t know the answer to a question – tell you prospect, don’t try and make some weak answer up on the spot, they will smell this a mile away. If there is something that your company has done poorly in the past – tell them about it, however make sure that you also explain what was done to rectify it. You don’t need to portray yourself or your company as perfect – just a good fit to solve their problem. This is the most surefire way to build trust an rapport with your prospects as quickly as possible and set yourself apart from your competitors touting about their perfections.
Tip No 8 – Referrals
Far too often this is a forgotten sales technique with salespeople closing a deal and moving on to the next prospect. But by far the easiest way to find new prospects is by asking if people know someone that might benefit from your product or service. I mean ask everyone, your current customers, prospects that say ‘No for Now”, your family and your friends. Once someone has a good understanding of what your business does I can bet that they can think of someone that might benefit from it even if they cant.
Tip No 9 – Storytelling
I bet most of us are armed with a plethora of information and industry experience about the product or service that we are currently promoting. This is great and an essential step towards success. I bet even some of us have as per Tip No 6 – Presentation even thought of ways to communicate this to our customers succinctly. But there is one further step that we can take to make our points really stick in our customers mind beyond just promoting understanding and that is through storytelling. Who does not like a good story? We consume them all the time in movies and books. So why not incorporate this into our selling. Tell the story of how your business got started. Tell the story of my you decided to join the company that you work for. Tell the story of how other customers were able to overcome the problem that your current prospect is facing. Be sure to make these stories entertaining and even humorous when appropriate and there is a much better chance that a prospect will actually “get” and relate to what you are saying which is another step beyond just understanding.
Are there any sales techniques that I have left out here? Please comment below with your thoughts.
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