Every day is an opportunity to sell.
In the workplace, we persuade others with our opinions; we present ideas to our bosses or clients and how it will positively impact the organization or bring the company closer to its target goals. Even our personal relationships are filled with the constant process of selling. We try to convince our folks with our life choices. We prove to somebody that we are the perfect person to take on certain responsibilities.
Essentially, selling is the combination of explaining the logic and the expected outcome of a decision translated through action.
Selling is linked to persuasion.
Either way, selling is a natural part of our everyday business–from office meetings, school projects, conventions, customer service experience, job interviews, and so on. Each day, we are in the act of sealing the deal.
So, all of us pretty much have a sales background–whether you’ve got official sales experience or not.
One does not necessarily need to be marinated in the sales profession to learn the ropes because every encounter or experience–be it a fund raising activity, dance competition or extra school credit homework–watered the planted seeds of how to sell within us.
Here’s the reality: there is no clear path to becoming a successful salesperson.
But how do we differentiate ourselves from all the salespeople killing it in the profession?
To further elevate your success rate in sales, here are 15 skills you need to master:
Be an effective listener
A lot of people have the notion that sales is all about talking. But the truth is having a critical ear to emphatically listen to the needs and wants of your client provides the foundation of the sales transaction. Having a clear understanding of the client’s concerns or challenges will enable the sales professional to better position the product or service in a way that it addresses a client’s issues.
Also, it also shows genuine enthusiasm and concern for what the client has to say.
At times, sales professionals are known to have sales pitch spiels that are most often than not, contrite and lacks brevity. Smile, shake hands firmly, speak clearly when introducing yourself and be prepared to leave your me, myself and I mantra at the doorsteps to pave the way for an emphatic and clear dialogue.
Master the product or service’s blueprint
You cannot sell something if you don’t know its ins and outs.
Likewise, you can never convince someone to believe in you if you don’t even believe in a product yourself.
Remember that you are perceived to be an expert on the product or service you are selling, and your knowledge of it is sought by someone who knows a little or nothing about it.
Being knowledgeable not just about the superficialities of a product but the entire blueprint of what you are selling puts you in the best position to enlighten your prospect and influence his purchasing behavior.
As someone who is conversant with the language of his products or services, you are empowered to clarify doubts or disbelief on what you are offering.
Have a deep knowledge of the industry
According to the consulting firm Mckinsey, “the lack of knowledge about either the sales professionals’ products and its competitors” is a major loophole that answers why salespeople don’t close the deal at the end of presentations.
A conscientious sales professional knows that his competitor is not only his fellow sales team members but the entire industry as a whole.
Having a macro-understanding on the current landscape of the market distinguishes the sales professional from the rest of the pact.
He or she can use this knowledge as a unique selling factor in positioning his product or service against his major competitors. In most cases, the sales associate or manager with the most recent knowledge of the market ends up closing the sale. Over the years, successful sales professionals’ preeminent knowledge also gave them the opportunity to perceive their product with more credibility.
Create a strategic and solid sales plan
Never go to a sales pitch without a plan in mind. Successful salespeople know that every winning sale involved a solid and strategic step by step process in achieving it.
The plan must take into account every single detail that a prospect might ask. From cold calls, email blasts, product demos, sales presentations, networking—all of these must be strategically laid out.
Having a plan also allows the sales professional to adjust when there are unexpected changes. This will range from cancellation of deals, downgrading of product or services initially availed and even delayed approval of proposal.
The plan becomes a safety blanket that can address unexpected circumstances.
Establish long term relationships
Many sales professionals neglect to remain in contact with clients after they have won them over.
Remember that client relationships extend up until the service or product has been fully delivered.
Often, happy clients become repeat customers.
They even become your marketing ambassadors that can attest to the work you delivered. This is where the power of word of mouth transcends into viable referrals.
Also, in the face of client loss or sales pitch being turned down, a sales professional must remain pleasant regardless if the sales pitch did not come in full fruition.
Always have the never say die attitude
Sales professionals eat rejections for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even midnight snack.
Even those who are already considered veteran in the field agree to this. Rejection is just part of sales life.
Top sales achievers are those individuals who have learned to develop a can-do attitude regardless of the obstacles they face.
They never see a lost sale as a failure. In every rejection comes the opportunity to get back on track and hustle once more.
Know that prospects purchase you first
First impressions indeed last and they can make or break the deal.
In every sales presentation, salespeople are highly encouraged to look comfortable and professional. This does not mean sporting an Armani suit, a D&G tie or having Rolex on your wrist.
What we mean is clean fingernails, polished shoes and combed hair go a long way in making you look more credible and presentable.
Remember that you represent someone that these clients can potentially trust with their resources, so it is imperative that you give them the impression that you are capable and trustworthy.
Be a great time manager too
Managing one’s time is not only about being punctual in business meetings, it also applies in every aspect of the profession.
The best sales professionals who get the most out of their day are those who maximize their time effectively.
They strategize finding the best routes to their engagements.
If they are in one area, they try to accommodate not just one but more sales presentations or product as much as possible to make the most out of their time and resources.
Resourcefulness goes a long way
These days, sales professionals are endowed with so many resources to reach their target market and expand their network.
The advent of social media has dimensionalized how sales is conducted.
From mere face to face interactions, e-commerce platforms, webinars, conference calls and the like has changed the sales game.
Online media paved the way for any sales person to potentially reach millions of people in just seconds.
As a sales professional in the digital age, one must be able to maximize these accessible and low cost avenues to advertise their product or services, create interactions with clients and identify leads.
Sales professionals need their own Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts as professionals. Use these social media accounts to attract followers, publicize their products and services, establish yourself as an expert.
Learn the art of multitasking
Doing sales means being slave to many masters all at once. Yeah, it sounds bad, but it’s how it is.
There will be existing clients who demands assistance, a lead prospect that needs a follow up email or call, a sales pitch you are trying to win, or irate customers who requests refunds. You name it. That is the world salespeople are living in right now.
But the best way to navigate through these tasks all at the same time is through multi-tasking.
The secret in multitasking is having a clear flow that will address all anticipated queries, concerns or issues and how to deal with them two or more at a time.
Through this multi-tasking flow, you keep track of all incoming and outgoing requests or demands that needs to be sorted out whichever is the priority. Having this structure will enable you to have better performance and management of stress.
Commit but overdeliver
Real customer satisfaction stems from transactions that deliver far and beyond the client’s expected results.
It can be tempting for sales professionals to over-promise to a client just to secure the agreement. Yet overcommitment may inflict harm in a sales person career in the long run if certain expectations are not met.
So, the key is to be transparent and truthful with all the terms and conditions as well as the inherent value of the product or service at the very onset. Through this, ill feelings can be avoided.
But what makes the sales professional push the envelope further is when they’re able to exceed client’s expectations. Deliver something that gives added value to the customers that is not originally part of the contact. You can think of creative ways to express genuine care for the client’s investment and that you care beyond your commission.
Connect and engage
A high-stakes salesperson is as good as his network.
Sometimes, incoming leads and prospects could dry out.
The only way to replenish this is to put in the hard work in making new contacts or connections. Those who are in the upper echelon of the sales ecosystem may join exclusive and high end clubs while others attend seminars, conferences. The important thing to remember is to always look for new opportunity to meet new people and having the guts to make the first approach.
Invest in your learning
Don’t neglect improving yourself as a professional and as a person. This can be through self-help books, development seminars, sales conferences or coaching classes. The key factor is to seize every learning opportunity to improve your sales skill set.
Like other professions, being a sales professional requires continued training and development.
Being able to interact with your fellow sales professionals as well as mentors allow you to assess your qualities and expertise constantly.
The knowledge reaped as a result of continued improvement can also give you that confidence whenever you face customers.
If you can’t avail of talks or seminars that involve big names like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, the least thing that you can do is expose yourself to the same books or knowledge resources that catapulted them to greatness. There’s always something to be learned.
Steep your soul
Allocate time to meditate.
This will free your mind and being from negative thoughts.
Incorporating this as part of your daily routine will prepare you to overcome difficulties and challenges that arise each sales day.
The world of selling can be very toxic and demanding. Contrary to the general notion that sales professionals bask in their commission checks, many do not understand the blood, sweat and tears (no kidding) one must invest to succeed in sales. So don’t deprive yourself of the luxury of time. Make time to relax and take a step back to rejuvenate your spirit.
Have the burning passion to sell
Gary Zukav defines authentic power as the state wherein a person’s personality comes to serve its purpose.
No one ever got successful in life if they did not fully embrace what they do.
Beyond raking in numbers, what will sustain you in this rejection-laden and client appeasing field is your inherent calling to make a difference.
In every sales activity, your intention must be to improve other people’s lives with what you offer.
If you see yourself as a value bringer, then you’re in the right place.
Latest posts by Dan Sincavage (see all)
- Sales Pro-Tip: Talk Less, Know More - October 28, 2016
- Sales Managers: Help Your Reps Overcome Sales Fears - October 25, 2016
- 5+ Tips to Smash Your Q4 Sales Goals - October 20, 2016