There’s no such thing as a born salesperson. Great sales people make it look easy, but superior performance usually indicates a salesperson has taken the time to hone their skills and is constantly iterating to better help their prospects. Whether you’re a first-time sales person or looking to get back to the basics, these tips are the essential pillars of successful selling.
1. Start with your goals.
If you’re learning to sell, start from the end and work backwards. Knowing your goals and measuring your performance against them (more on that later) is the most important place to start.
How many customers do you or your company need, and in what time frame? How many leads do you need to close that many customers? How many connections do you need to generate that many opportunities? And so on. Multiply your customer goal by the average sale price of your company’s product to get the amount of revenue you should be aiming for.
2. Recognise that sales is a process.
Sales is not an art. Selling is a set of skills and techniques that can be learned. Sales is changing rapidly, but some things will always be the same. To get customers, you’ll have to establish their needs and interest in your product, address inertia in their business, and determine a timeline to sell.
The way your company moves through the funnel, however, will be unique. If you treat every sales process the same, you could easily miss something. Understand that every business has its own way of working for a reason.
So work out how to position your product, develop strategies for speaking with prospects, understand your key value propositions, and identify what your ideal customer looks like, just to name a few factors of any successful sales process.
3. Identify business pains.
You must be able to identify your prospects’ business pain and distinguish it from their run of the mill business problems. If a step of their process is a slight annoyance, who cares?
Pain isn’t getting a cut on your arm — pain is your leg falling off. A true business pain is discussed every day in the boardroom. Someone may have set a budget to solve it. If it’s a critical factor to their business’ success, you’ve discovered a real business pain.
4. Measure every step.
Anything worth doing is worth measuring, and anything that can be measured can be improved.
Remember when you set your goals? Be fanatical about measuring your performance against them. At the rate you’re selling today, will you hit your numbers by the end of the month? Are your closing strategies converting prospects to customers? If not, change something up.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to reach your numbers this month. If you measure everything you do, you’ll be able to solve problems as they arise.
5. Sell to the right people.
This principle is at the heart of the inbound sales methodology. In the early days of my career, I spent a lot of time reaching out to people who didn’t want to talk to me. But now I spend more time connecting with people who want to hear what I have to say.
That’s the power of inbound marketing. By creating or curating high-quality and helpful content and letting prospects come to you, you’ll save time and increase your probability of closing sales.
6. Embrace team selling.
When you’re starting out in sales, you want to make a name for yourself, so embrace team selling. For example, if you’re unsuccessfully trying to speak with the CEO of a large company, ask a sales leader if they can get you in the door by using their seniority and making that first call.
Use the expertise on your team to close more deals. You’ll learn valuable skills along the way, and you’ll blow your quota out of the water.
7. Conduct call reviews.
Identify other salespeople inside or outside of your organisation who excel at different things. Ask them to review some of your recent calls. Zoom in on different aspects of your calls and meetings, and get granular about improving each part.
8. Shadow your peers.
Along those same lines, you can learn a lot about excelling in sales by listening to the best — your peers and teammates alongside you.
Whether you’re listening live or listening to recordings, you can pick up key phrases, rapport-building techniques, and closing strategies that you can personalise on your own calls.
9. Find a coach or mentor.
It’s important to check in with your peers to hone your selling skills and day-to-day workflows. But it’s crucial to pair with a coach or mentor who can help you plan and grow your career. This person should help you visualise where you see yourself one, five, and ten years down the road.
Identify a coach or mentor who:
Has found success in the career you aspire to
Has accomplished certain achievements or milestones you admire
Has experience that’s applicable to your own career path
Once you’ve identified someone who has the experience and availability to be your mentor, set up monthly or quarterly meetings with them. And discuss how you both anticipate spending that time so that it’s beneficial.
10. Ask the right questions.
Question-asking is an art form that is practiced and optimised over time. Work with successful people in your team, or with a coach to find out which questions prove most beneficial when speaking with their prospects. And build your own set of probing questions.
The most important piece of advice I could give you is to learn from others today, tomorrow, and 10 years down the road. That’s what makes you a great sales person. And that’s what makes sales a great career or builds a great business.
If you’d like to improve your sales skills and achieve better results, then get in touch.
Don’t forget to subscribe to receive regular tips and ideas via the form below!