Know how to build trust. Learn how to read people. Adapt to any situation.
Attitude – Start as you mean to go on
Whether you’re in the blossoming stages of a career in sales, destined for success, or you’re celebrating decades of experience in the field, there’s always work to be done. Having the right attitude in sales is paramount to moulding successful salespeople. Having the wrong attitude can leave you unprepared, unmotivated and uninterested in your job, which is the last thing anybody wants – including your prospects. Find our top tips below for keeping your head in the game, and your prospects and customers happy.
1. Don’t Fear The Fear
Contrary to what you may have been told as a child, being scared can be a good thing. It shows that you care, and it keeps you motivated. Whether it’s flutters before an important pitch or that constant shadow reminding you of the significance of every move you make, feeling the fear is a good thing. Those who use fear to keep themselves motivated can often perform much better than when they are too relaxed. So, while you don’t need to scare yourself beyond function, it’s always helpful to stay on your toes.
2. The Classic: Stay Positive
Though seemingly obvious, the effects of staying positive in a sales job can be profound. When successful, life is easy. However, the true test comes when having to bounce back after things don’t quite go the way you expect. Some things are often easier said than done, so remaining optimistic in more challenging situations is an important trait to hold onto, especially when the opposite can have a negative effect on your daily responsibilities – which can start a cycle that you most definitely don’t want to get stuck in.
‘Every “No” means you are one step closer to a “Yes”’
3. Persevere. No Matter What
No one has perseverance hardwired into their psyche. Though some have to work harder than others to keep the fire roaring. Knowing how to get back up after falling down is an essential part of working in sales – however high you fall from. The difference between giving up and pushing yourself further after initial failure can make or break you as a successful salesperson.
To achieve high determination levels a salesperson has to have self-discipline, optimism, competitiveness, initiative and be resourceful. Many of these are not learned skills but inherited. Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States puts it best, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.“
Take Bob: he hasn’t closed all morning. He goes to lunch, somewhat disheartened, and returns with even less vigor than before, striking out for an entire day.
Now take Bill, he too hasn’t closed all morning. He goes to lunch disheartened, but determined to show morning Bill what afternoon Bill can do – making a handful of successful sales in the process. Persevering in even the hardest of times shows great determination and makes a great salesperson.
4. Thick Skin Is King
One of the most common sales tips given to new salespeople for how to succeed in sales is, “don’t take it personally”. Rejection is a natural part of sales. So natural, in fact, that it more often than not may form the majority of your day. If it didn’t, you’d either be very, very lucky, or the best salesperson the world has ever known. Remember that you’re very often invading other people’s day to offer them something that they didn’t know they needed. Wouldn’t you reject that offer first time, too?
5. Let’s Be Honest
If your response to the statement ‘be honest’ is ‘how honest?’, then you’re not being honest enough. Transparency is key when it comes to making sales and building relationships, which is why lying or bending the truth in any manner is never likely to end well. For example, if you offer an introductory price on something, stick to it. Using low offers to draw prospects in is a pointless exercise when they’re out the door before signing because you hiked it back up again. Believe it or not, prospects respect honesty much more than just being told what they want to hear all the time.
6. Failure Is
Not An Option
Failing might seem like sacrilege in a world as competitive as sales, but it can actually be a valuable learning tool. Hurdles are a part of any job, and experiencing them only teaches you how to tackle them better in the future. Never experiencing any form of failure can actually be quite dangerous. One day finding yourself bearing the brunt of a mistake while in a position of seniority, without a clue on how to tackle it, is not a situation you want to find yourself in. So feel free to fail – just try not to make the same mistake twice.
Whether you’re starting your week or your career, starting it off right is what counts. And having the right attitude helps to build success in sales. So, be scared, positive, perseverant, objective, honest and open to seeing failure in a positive light – all at the same time. Achieve that and Monday should be alright.
Action – Don’t just say, do
Having the right mind-set is a perfect start, but knowing how to translate that into meaningful actions is where your skillset really gets to flourish. Successful sales techniques entail knowing what to do and when to do it, based on who your prospect is, what they say and how the situation evolves. Preparation can take you far, which is why abiding by the following tips on how to improve sales will mean that you’re ready for your next pitch, regardless of what turn it may take.
7. ‘No’ Does Sometimes Mean No
Regardless of what you may have been told, endlessly hounding a prospect until you get a yes is not a smart selling technique and probably won’t end the way you want it to. While you should never give up after just one ‘no’, the difference between pushy and persuasive is one that you need to be aware of. Sensing when a prospect is fishing for more information or a clearer explanation and realizing when they are plain not interested is paramount to your success. Focus on this and you’ll save yourself a lot of wasted time with no-go prospects, which, in turn, will give you a lot more selling time with those who may be interested.
8. Listen Here
While it’s pretty necessary that salespeople talk a lot, you should never underestimate the power of listening as well. How do you expect to even know what to say if you don’t know what the prospect wants, who they are or what their mind-set is? Starting off strong can lead into very fruitful discussions if you simply give your prospect a platform to speak and then note down anything of importance. Responding to their specific needs will be met with much higher success than simply trawling off a script detailing all of the reasons they should say yes. Listen up and you’ll have a much better chance of giving them what they want, but failing to do so means your pitch will just be a shot in the dark.
9. Build On Your Relationships
Possibly one of the most valuable sales tips out there is to never underestimate the importance of building good rapport with your customers. From first contact to well established partnerships, focussing on the specifics of a sale can always wait. It’s in both party’s interests to develop the relationship into a comfort zone that allows cross-selling, up-selling or first time sales to be done in a mutually beneficial way for both you and your customer.
10. Know Your Product. Know It Well
It almost goes without saying, but the difference between knowing your product and knowing it well can be the difference between closing your next sale and not. Your prospect expects to be able to draw all the information they need from you, so you need to be able to provide it. Whether it means making notes in the company handbook or talking to the right people in the business, make sure you know what you’re selling inside out.
Take 5 minutes to list 5 USPs for the top products your company has to offer. If you’re struggling, do the relevant research by speaking to the right people or reading the right documents. Once you’re finished, keep them stored where you’ll always have easy access to them.
11. Know Your Prospect. Know Them Well
Much like your need to know your own products and company history, you need to know your prospects and customers, too. You can’t expect to make a sale if you don’t know what your customers’ needs are. Initial research will take you so far, but writing down any essential questions for the prospect can really help you to identify their specific requirements once you begin a detailed discussion. Ensuring you’re always curious about any industry updates is also a good way to stay on top of what your prospects need, so you can tailor what you offer when necessary.
"You don't find customers for your products. You find products for your customers."
12. Sell What They Need, Not What You Want
Filling quotas or making the biggest sale should never be your primary concern. “What can I do for you?” is the cornerstone question of succeeding in sales, and the question you should ask yourself before offering a prospect anything. Giving them what they want is much more likely to see you succeed than offering something they don’t need. Once you’ve discovered what makes your prospect tick, selling the benefits of the product to them specifically, as opposed to the generic features, should bring the sale in for a perfect close.
Just image you have one of those toys by which children have to put certain shapes through certain holes. If you don’t find out what shape the prospect is before trying to sell, you might wind up trying to force a triangle through a circular hole, in which case the sale probably won’t go through. If, however, you work out exactly what shape they are, you can work out if you have a product or service that will fit through the hole and, if you do, a sale is much more likely to happen.
13. Why Do You Ask Open Ended Questions?
Because an open ended question can only result in some form of explanation – like this – which can then continue to shape the conversation and send it in the direction you need it to go. Close ended questions, such as “Do you ask open ended questions?”, can simply be met with a yes or a no, which mean you can easily hit a brick wall. Keep them talking and steer them in the right direction – your direction. Make them explain themselves and you’ll soon find yourself with more resources to play with.
The most successful salespeople know that fulfilling their role requires time, effort and action. Acting in the right way at the right time can mean the difference between making a new best friend and losing a prospect. Make sure that you’re prepared for any eventuality by taking the right action. Well, go on.
Adaptability – Change is good
Being averse to change is rarely a good thing, but in sales it can be your downfall. Successful sales rely on the ability to provide a tailored approach to your prospect, meaning there is often no rulebook to follow. While being prepared is always recommended, being ready to change your approach when necessary is one of the most successful sales techniques out there. If a prospect smells a script in any way, shape or form, it can put them off immediately.
14. You Are A Human. They Are A Human
Salespeople can sometimes concentrate so much on making a sale, that it’s easy to forget the normal conventions of a conversation. Remember, when you strip away the essence of the interaction, you’re really just two people having a chat. Being professional doesn’t mean that you can’t be natural and personable, and finding common ground is one of the best ways to get the ball rolling. Knowing how to find the right connection with your prospect based on their approach to the conversation is essential to starting a good relationship.
15. Be Liked. Everyone Likes To Be Liked
In sales, whether it’s your real persona or not, you have to focus on expressing a persona that each prospect enjoys talking to and who customers are happy to contact. With so much riding on first impressions, coming across as likeable and approachable early on is key. With something as seemingly trivial as smiling while talking on the phone being such an important tell, adapting your style in order to get the prospect to like you is one of those sales tips worth remembering.
16. Learning Is Good
Just because you’ve landed your job in sales doesn’t mean the journey is over. In fact, it’s exactly the same for the seasoned salesperson. There’s always something that can be learned to help professional development, which is why it’s important to be open to new avenues of education. Whether it’s participating in relevant online courses, seeking out sales coaching or simply taking notes from the salesperson beside you, learning new techniques is always important.
17. Technology Is Your Friend
The days of the Y2K bug rumours are long gone and with them should have gone any lasting technophobia – especially for the modern salesperson. Succeeding in sales is all about efficiency, which is why anyone in sales wanting to make the most out of what’s available to them should embrace the software and systems that can make their day-to-day lives much easier. Though relying on automation too much can take the heart and soul out of sales, there are many laborious tasks that can be done in half the time with the right system in place, leaving you and your team more time to actually get back to the fun stuff.
18. Every Prospect Is Different
If you’re looking at all of your prospects with dollar signs spinning through your head then you’re going about sales the wrong way. Each and every prospect you have is individual; they’ll want different things, need pandering to differently and expect different approaches. The challenge is to remember each prospect’s individual requirements. Though it may sound difficult, if you develop good rapport then it should come to you naturally. Knowing each customer’s preferences can keep you in good stead at the most difficult of times and understanding your prospects’ individuality means you can tailor your pitch to them in any way necessary.
Set up a role play game where your colleague plays a prospect or customer and tries to think of some of the more challenging responses that could occur in an interaction. This will help you prepare for anything that may come your way.
19. Be a Chameleon
We’re talking less eating crickets and mealworms and more blending into your surroundings here. Knowing how to adapt to any given situation so that your method matches the needs of your current circumstance is the sign of truly honed sales skills. Even the most predictable of situations can often throw a curveball at you – so expecting the unexpected and knowing how to adapt to get your interaction back to where you want it to be is something that may take practice, but is largely rewarding. After all, who said good sales techniques came easy?
19 sales tips, one you!
Being in sales is challenging, but that’s usually what draws salespeople in. In such a competitive, highly-motivated and fast-paced setting, it can be easy to forget the intricacy involved in being a successful salesperson. Coming in with the right attitude, preparing for the right actions and learning how to adapt when necessary will allow you to construct a ready and motivated sales persona, equipped for any trials and tribulations that come your way. With a little practice on our sales tips listed above, you’ll soon find yourself progressing even further into the successful world of sales.
About the author:
Hi, I’m Chris Bourne.
Just to set the record straight: I’m not related to Jason Bourne. (But how cool would that be?)
With hundreds of go-to lists on the web surrounding how to succeed in sales, I thought I’d compile the best of them right here, in an extensive list, just for you.
Though 19 might seem like quite a large number, the tips were designed to complement one another in a way that makes them easy to follow and implement. Whether you’re a rookie or an expert, my 19 Tips Everyone In Sales Should Follow were created for you to better your selling game, however it may need improving.
If you found our sales tips for success useful, be sure to check out the rest of the resources across the site.
Hope to see you soon!
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