1. Bring Passion to your Product and Business
Enthusiasm and passion are the elixirs of a successful life in sales. Passion for your products and the people who buy them will raise your game. There is nothing better than witnessing an authentic delight a sales person has for their product or company. It really sets them apart. I notice a difference in their way of engaging; they are curious, yet relaxed, because they embody the confidence they have in their product or service. They are also delightful people to deal with. Because they are passionate, they go the extra mile to learn and understand the value of their products and how to communicate that to their buyers. If you are not crazy about what you are selling, I suggest you find another one that you love selling.
2. Learn how Buying works in the Mind of Your Buyers
I’ve discovered in the past 20 years working in sales, that when a sales person understands the mind of their buyer and knows how to navigate through their thinking process, they can become excellent sales people. Their selling techniques become something else, they become buying indicators for them as to how interested the buyer is in purchasing the product. So the new way I am urging you to learn how to sell, is to learn how buyers buy and that’s about exploring the psychology of human behaviour .People behave in predictable ways when they are about to purchase a product, if you know how to steer through that, you will outsell your competition.
3. Know your Customers Better than You Know your Own Products
Have you ever been blinded by a product or service guru, who gives you all the information you are not seeking? I meet them every day in the work I do. They are so busy extolling the virtues of their product or company, they forget the buyer is not buying the company, but the value they can take with them long after the name and face of the sales person has been forgotten. Bite your tongue and resist your desire to talk about you, your product or what your company can do. Ask and listen to the reasons why your buyer is interested in your offering. Get to know them personally, their motivation, their interests and desires. If they feel you are interested in them, they are more likely to stay engaged in the interaction. Get to know them better than you know your own products.
4. Know your Product and Company like an Expert
This seems to contradict what I said in previous point It will show that you are deeply interested in understanding the company you work for and the solutions you offer. Even if you work in one section of your company, make a point of getting to know all aspects of the business and how they interact with each other. It will keep you mindful of cross-company opportunities the next time they arise. A sales person, who knows their company well, is ready for any client who throws tough questions at them.
5. Drop all the Tell- and-Sell and Learn How to Coach your Buyers
This has been my mantra in my sales training courses for a long time. Sell and tell is all about you, your product. Unfortunately the buyer is not interested. A buyer is only interested in how life and business will be better because of doing business with you and buying your products. So move from sell and tell to developing your skills in getting to know what motivates your buyer. The only way is to develop your coaching skills or questioning skills. Questions are powerful because they unlock the buyer’s decision-making process and coaching them along in the decision allows them to explore why they are buying. Simply consider this, who is going to make more progress, the sell-and-tell person or the salesperson asking quality questions.
6. Learn what Triggers the Idea of Value for your Buyers
If you asked all of your customers why they buy from you and what value you brought to them, you may find a different set of reasons among many. Some will see its value in terms of money they saved, others will see it as the convenience and ease of doing business, the experience of the service, the quality of your conversation, or how you made them feel and how you delivered the experience. Finding out what the product or service means to your buyer will point you towards their value triggers. For me, value is always about the personal experience I’ve had in dealing with the sales person and how I felt as a customer.
7. Build a Water-tight Case for Value
The expression used in legal profession, prima fascia means “at first face” or at first appearance. From the minute somebody meets you, you want give the impression that everything you offer is of value; from how you engage and create your sales conversations, build rapport with your prospects, how you speak about their business and what they are looking for and how you build the case for the prospect in making the decision to buy. When I say build a water-tight case for value, I am talking about using the skills of listening, questioning, framing and presenting in a way that fits exactly into how your buyer imaged the product or service would be within a price range they expected. To build your case, it is important to anticipate the dominant reasons they could say no to your offer and offer solutions around that. Often a case is built through questions that allow the buyer to explore their own reasons for buying the product in the first place.
8. Use Technology to Support your Business Development Activities
Even if you are of the old school and love the phone and meeting with clients, there is quite an amount of branding and prospecting you can do by using social media. The best tool out there for business developers, in my mind, is LinkedIn. It is rich in content, search functionality and it probably has data on many of the prospects you are looking to meet. To get the best from LinkedIn, take the time to build a complete profile, get your happy buyers to give you testimonials, answer industry-related questions posted in LinkedIn, join your industry groups, document the business books your read and connect into all your business contacts through LinkedIn. This is a great tool for building your profile as a sales professional to the wider business community. Over time, you will build a solid on-line business contact base that may bring you opportunities, when you least expect.
9. Learn how to Become a Top-class Presenter
A great salesperson can really enhance their selling skills by developing their presentation skills and know how to deliver a water-tight case for buying what they are selling. Top class presenters are great purposeful story-tellers, communicators and at a moment’s notice can put together a case for a buyer to commit, by blending questions, stories with a convincing value proposition. If you have neglected your presentation skills, take some time to invest in yourself and work on this non-stop. You can never be too good at public speaking. It may be the difference between you and a competitor.
10. Be a Life-long Learner
“Work harder on yourself than you do on your business” was the wise advice of Jim Rohn, a great business genius. He learned early on that if he continued to develop himself and read thousands of business books, he would eventually rise above the average sales people in his field. He was a life-long learner until his death at the age of 92. He built a huge business around his own personal development and made millions from it. Business is changing all the time and the more educated you are about what is going on, the higher your chance of success. The smartest business people are those that never stopped reading books after they left college.
If you have neglected this valuable habit as a sales professional in self-development, let me suggest you start with “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey. The most valuable habit of the 7 for a sales person is to Sharpen the Saw. Keep improving on what you already are to become the best in your game. Then nobody can touch you.