7 Tips for Successful Sales
Tried and True Sales Tips
I’ve been in sales for the past 19 years and I love it. I’m able to solve problems, meet great people and learn a lot about different businesses. It’s a very fun job.
Over those 19 years, the role of the salesperson has changed quite a bit. We’ve seen the change from relationship builder, to technical expert to consultant/advisor. With this evolution, the overall skill set of the salesperson has also changed. And yet, there remain some tips I’ve learned over the years that I believe to be helpful no matter what sales arena you’re in.
1. Ask questions. The only way to maintain control of a sales meeting is to ask questions. Questions are the best way to guide a conversation and get the prospect talking to tell you what they need. Simple questions like the ones listed below can all be effective open-ended questions that elicit a lot of information.
- "How has this affected your business?”
- “Is this something you want to change?”
- “What is the cost to you if you don’t change?”
- “Oh really, how so?”
2. Silence is golden. When meeting with a prospect, if you talk more than 30 percent of the time, you have a major problem. The right questions should allow the client to do most of the talking. Too much talking by a salesperson will shut down a sale. Also, when asking questions of the client, be comfortable with silence. Waiting for a response in silence is an imperative for salespeople. You should be able to do it for at least ten seconds. The phrase, “the first one who talks loses,” is a good thing to remember.
3. Take notes. When talking to a prospect, always take notes. The process of note taking shows you’re interested and care. Even if you have a photographic memory, at least make it look like you’re taking notes. The prospect will think better of you.
4. Re-summarize. During a conversation with a prospect, take a moment to re-summarize where you are in the conversation and the issues/pains you’ve heard. This process will let the prospect know you heard him or her. Also, if you misinterpreted anything, it gives you the opportunity to clear up the mistake.
5. Understand psychology. There’s a psychology to sales that everyone must recognize. People generally won’t want something if you tell them they should have it. Most people tend to go the opposite way. Statements like, “This is probably something you wouldn’t consider” or “It might not be important to you” can have a great effect. If you tell someone your product or service is something they probably don’t need, their first response is generally, “Oh no, we need it.” It’s psychology. Think about how you get your spouse to do things. Same general principle.
6. Inspiring voicemails. Please don’t leave boring and long voicemails. No one listens to them. Try to leave three to four sentence voicemails that give the listener a simple call to action. For example, “….we recently worked with a company like yours on improving their CRM system. Through our efforts, their sales increased by 18 percent and their bottom line improved by $1,000,000 on a $100,000 investment. Please give me a call back and I will explain how we did it. My number is…”
7. Have an agenda. For each meeting, have an agenda you can walk your prospect through at the beginning. An agenda will let the prospect know at the outset what you’re trying to accomplish and also keep them focused.
I hope these seven tips help you improve your sales methods. Sales is an ever changing profession, but still one of the best and most important in the world. Happy selling!
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