Sales is the lifeblood of any organization. You don’t have to like it, but sales is one of the essential skills and actions entrepreneurs need to have successful ventures. While a lot of people shy away from sales, we asked some entrepreneurs and business owners for their tips or advice when it comes to sales.
The key to sales is responsiveness. When someone contacts your company or expresses interest in your products it is because they have an immediate
need. The longer you wait to respond the greater the chance that their needs have been met by a competitor. Get proactive about being reactive.
Thanks to Garret Flower, Parkpnp!
#2- Sell what will help
“Approach Each Customer With The Idea Of Helping Him Or Her To Solve A Problem Or Achieve A Goal, Not Of Selling A Product Or Service.” – Brian Tracy Having a sales conversation is not about selling a customer. In fact, I encourage my team to lead every conversation with the client's best interest in mind first- we only sell what will really help our clients – even if it's less expensive than other options we offer. If we can't help a client with our services, we are honest and try to give them the tools they need to succeed or at least point them in the right direction. This sales style works very well – people want to work with someone they trust! And it helps us to get positive feedback and referrals.
Thanks to Jacqueline Basulto, SeedX!
#3- Carefully evaluate the profile of clients you want
“Focus the majority of your time evaluating the profile of clients you want, which will decrease the time and resources in the sales cycle, as well as improve your sales conversations. Not all ‘good prospects’ will make ‘good clients.’ Focus your prospecting and sales activities on prospects that will meet the criteria a ‘good client.’ Start by asking yourself the following questions: Is the potential client in your market (distribution channel) or other markets and distribution channels that you are not currently in, but share the same end users? How will it benefit your company in the short and long run? Do the potential clients in the business channel align to your current products and services? After you answer the above, you will have a profile of a “good client.” From there, you can focus your prospecting and sales efforts targeted at these clients, whom you know you can service at a profitable level, align to your short and long term goals, and have the least disruption in your company.”
Thanks to Jim Krampen, Seven Corners!
#4- Be yourself and qualify early on
Don’t try to sell everyone. the number of competing companies that come out these days makes it so there is a huge amount of choices to choose from for consumers, which makes the fight for customers even harder. It’s best to focus on your ideal customers, customers that vibe with your company the most. If you’re going to fight for customers, fight for customers that you actually want to deal with. This is why growing a tight fanbase is important these days, fans won’t be
too eager to leave you if they love you.
Thanks to Gennady Litvin, Moshes Law!
#5- Sell in a way that makes the customer sell themselves
In my times in sales, I’ve learned to talk less and listen more. This is true especially today because everyone has something to say. When you allow your potential customers the freedom to think for themselves and come to their own conclusion, they’ll be much more sure of their decision. This will decrease the number of returns or cancels due to buyer remorse in the short term and will increase the level of trust they have in your business for the long term. How you do this, is by making the presentation stage so easy to comprehend and such a no brainer that they can basically pitch your presentation to their friends the next day. Don’t make it more complicated than it has to be – keep it simple.
Thanks to Alex Altuhov, HandyKith!
#6- Four things
When it comes to motivation with sales, I've found there are four key factors of it – the first two being the more obvious factors of money and competition. But to truly be a successful salesperson, I believe you have to move beyond those two factors to the following: motivation by excellence, where you essentially compete with yourself to be the best you can be; and motivation by a cause, where you know that what you do – what you sell – will help others and can improve their lives. Being motivated by these latter higher factors can help any salesperson succeed.
Thanks to Brett Casey, HealthMarkets!
#7- System and Process Over People
It is extremely difficult to find a perfect sales person so the best thing you can do is develop effective and efficient systems. By doing so, you will be able to maximize anyone's potential that you have in the company's sales machine. In addition, your business will not suffer as much if you lose a top sales person. The best companies in the world, such as Toyota have notoriously focused on systems and operations instead of individuals which have led to groundbreaking results. I suggest you focus on the same!
Thanks to Jeff Butler
Research the company and the individual you will meet with. If the company is public you should know roughly what their last few quarters have looked like as well as what their initiatives are for the coming year. Reviewing their PR releases and searching terms like “Name of CEO + interview” will yield lots of great nuggets. While private companies are a bit harder, there is still plenty of information on the Internet and you may need to research more on the individual you will meet with. Review their career history on LinkedIn as well as their personal interests found on social media. There are very few people that do not have at least some internet presence and knowing their favorite sport team, charity or other board seats can help give you a leg up. Preparation in advance can help close the sale at the finish line.
Thanks to Carlos Castelán, The Navio Group!
#9- Ask more open-ended questions
The most powerful, easiest-to-implement sales technique any sales rep can employ today is to ask more open-ended questions. Open-ended
questions typically start with Who, what, why and allow your prospect to answer with a deep, introspective response. What's so powerful about open-ended questions is that you can go deep into what REALLY matters to the prospect. You'll discover his hot buttons, as well as what hopes, pains, or fears motivate him. This strategy will give you the ability to better custom-tailor your sales presentation around his concerns, giving you a better chance of earning your prospect's business.
Thanks to David Duford, Buy Life Insurance For Burial!
#10- Make a heart connection before meeting the client
Before I meet with a potential client, either in person or virtually, I take a few minutes and make a heart connection with them. Scientific research shows that heart energy can be transmitted through the quantum field. Within a few minutes, your potential client may begin to have positive feelings towards you. Because these feelings can be very subtle, the recipient many not be consciously aware of them. But it can affect their response to you. The process is simple. Sit quietly. Take a few deep breaths. Feel into your own heart space. Then imagine the other person. Visualize pink light connecting your heart to that person's heart. Feel loving kindness for this person. Think of how grateful you are to have the opportunity to be with this person. Visualize the best outcome for both everyone involved. Then let go of any attachment to the outcome.
Thanks to Olivia Parr-Rud
#11-Take a Consultative Approach
This negotiation style involves asking qualifying questions to identify customer needs and creating custom presentations that address them. If the customer tells you they can get a lower price elsewhere, ask where? (are they lowballing you just to lowball you or is your competitor cutting costs in ways you haven't thought of?) If the customer tells you they need more time to review your proposal, ask why? (Is it because they need to run it past someone else? Would it be easier for you to get in touch with that person directly?) When you have the answer to these hesitations, you can seek out solutions to overcome them.
Thanks to Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com!
#12- Always do what you promise
From very simple things to doing the heavy lifting for clients, keeping your promise establishes your credibility and separates you from the pack. Its the crucial building block for long term relationships. Follow up, take action and always keep your promises. People want to do business with people they can trust and rely upon. They know that you will be there for them.
Thanks to Lynn Whitbeck, Petite2Queen!
#13- Identify macro trends
Great salespeople sell the future and why it can be possible today. The foundation of any great sale always starts with intimately understanding the problem the customer faces. Customers don't care about your idea. They care that their problem can be fixed. The best way to do this is to identify macro trends that are impacting the world, show how those macro trends will make it possible to solve the customer's problem, and then show how you can make that future possible today.
Thanks to Nic Meliones
#14- Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up
We’ve all heard this, but most are lousy at it. How do I know? Because the clients and referral partners who choose to work with me tell me so, and the data from our converted leads confirms it's effectiveness. Even the warmest leads and your past clients (those who already know and trust you and should be your biggest fans) need to be consistently followed up with. With only a finite amount of time available, the best ways I’ve found to ensure this always happens are to either delegate or automate. We have a virtual assistant with scripts interacting with our CRM and consistently calling, emailing and texting leads and clients. We also utilize automated lead nurturing software to continue to engage with leads until they reply (there are many options available for this, depending on your industry). At the bare minimum, schedule follow-up in your calendar. We’ve found that even warm leads, that have specifically requested information on our product/service, don’t engage us until around the 8th contact.
Thanks to Bri Lindley, The Lindley Team!
#15- Be an expert in your own domain
The days of boiler room cold calling are over. No longer is reading the same script to every lead enough to move a conversation forward. To find success in today ‘s sales environment, it's imperative that sellers are an experts in their respective domain, as customers have never been as skeptical of new offerings as they are today. A rule of thumb I recommend is to enter every meeting and conversation with the assumption that each person you're speaking with has a search engine open and will try to validate your claims in real-time. Prepare for these questions and develop trust by being a domain expert, understanding your product(s) from top-to-bottom.
Thanks to Drew Trombley, Rekall.ai!
#16- Ask the right questions
When I first started selling radio advertising my boss told me that if I asked the right questions I would get all the answers I needed to show the potential client how what I was selling would solve their problems and ultimately close the deal. It was some of the best advice I ever got. Unfortunately, most people don’t do that. They forget that selling is not just about talking. It’s about asking questions and listening to the client. Like social media, selling is intended to be a conversation.
Thanks to Joanne Tombrakos
The worst thing you can do is act cheesy when in a sales conversation of any kind. Acting cheesy makes you feel cheesy and just makes the other person feel uncomfortable. The reason most of my clients choose to invest in me is because I'm not afraid to be myself and show my personality! So show up as yourself and everything will come more naturally to you.
Thanks to Liz Theresa
#18- Communicate The Uniqueness Of Your Product
In order to maximize the sales, you first need to make sure the product you sell is unique and has an advantage over your competitors'. The better your offering compared to the competition is, the more likely the potential customers will choose to buy from you. The difference in your product which can attract purchases might be the better material, nicer looking, more vibrant colors, extra functions, or a storage packaging. But it should be clear to the customer what exactly is different about the items you sell and why they need to pick you over everyone else. It's when you communicate that superiority of the goods to the shoppers that your business sales soar..
Thanks to Hassan Alnassir, Premium Joy!
#19- Never stop learning
So often I see salespeople find a sales methodology, a demo, an email pitch that works and use it forever. If something works for a period of time, that's awesome! But expecting it to keep working forever is just foolish. Keep learning, keep tweaking your pitch, read sales books, try new things. Your competition isn't going to stop learning and innovating, so you need to stay one step ahead of them at all times. If you do that, you'll be a better seller.
Thanks to AJ Bruno, QuotaPath!
#20- Know your audience
The key to selling is knowing your audience. This will enable you to establish rapport, lower their guard, understand their struggles, pain points, desires, ambitions and even spin your product to enhance its perceived value. Selling is not an art, it is a skill which requires many tools and includes a defined set of stage; but without knowing who you're talking to, there's very little you can do.
Thanks to Giacomo Balli, Cruiseable!
#21- Three tips
First, humbly seek to truly understand their problem or situation. This is accomplished through listening and asking thoughtful, yet probing questions. In that initial discovery meeting, success is defined by 1). Defining the problem/situation and 2). Identifying who owns the problem/situation. Before the meeting adjourns, ask the prospect if a solution is presented that exceeds their expectation, would there be anything preventing them from moving their business to me? As an aside, it is critical to understand not just the identification but the ownership of the problem/situation. If the prospect isn't the decision maker, you're not talking to the right person and the chance of success is greatly reduced. Finally, you need to address any obstacles to advancing the conversation (through the sales cycle) upfront.
Thanks to David J. Campanella, CFP(r), U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management!
#22- Ask for the sale
The most effective sales tip I've learned in my 20 year career in direct sales is to actually ask for the sale. It's human to fear rejection but asking for the sale directly has increased my closing percentage. When the time is right after you have listened to your customers wants and needs and hopefully laid out your plan to address them I find it works great to just tell the customer I want your business what do I need to do to make that happen
Thanks to Louis Wood, DefendItYourself.com!
#23- Integrity is everything
The best sales advice ever received was that Integrity is Everything because overpromising and under delivering can set both you and your company back months or even years if you lose the trust of your customer. In sales, some is not a number, and soon is not a time, so when executing your sales strategy and managing your pipeline, always be calculated with what you communicate and when you will deliver based on the best information available to you at the time.
Thanks to Christopher R Williams, Citadel Defense Company!
#24-Be impatient with the right activities but patient with results
As long as your sales team including yourself is doing the right things then you will eventually get the right results. The right results generally take some time. You have to be impatient on the right activities getting done. With the wrong activities will lead to wasted time and delayed results. The wrong activities deserve to be corrected immediately.
Thanks to David Muniz, PerfectTraining 101!