I’m a collector. I collect everything from vintage Coca-Cola machines to really good sales questions. In this article, I’m sharing some of my favorite sales tips that I’ve collected from many great salespeople who’ve allowed me the privilege of observing them and asking questions.

I hope you find these sales tips as beneficial to your sales career as I have:

1. Define your Ideal Customer Profile. Define you target market first. Identify high probability prospects and stop wasting time pursuing buyers outside of your ideal customer profile. Of all the sales tips, this one comes first.

2. Gain business knowledge. Business knowledge is the backbone of professional selling. An integral part of sales training is business training. You must understand how each business functions and how your solution fits into the buyer’s business model in order to be a vendor of choice.

3. Make your CRM work for you. List building is critical. Use non-selling time to update and manage the data in your CRM system. Use the data to help set your schedule and focus on high probability buyers.

4. Focus on being a Trusted Business Advisor. You’re selling credibility and value. Don’t get stuck thinking you’re selling products and services. You’re not. Focus on what the buyer really needs and wants. Prepare your questions prior to your call and listen carefully to their answers. You’ll separate yourself from your competitors just by doing that.

5. Modify your personality style to accommodate your prospects. Buyers have different personalities. Analytical styles want lots of details. Directors, however, you must spoon feed them information as they request it. They prefer the big picture and don’t want to become immersed in details, either face-to-face or in emails.

6. Prospect with Quantity and Quality. Your lead generation strategy must consist not only of sufficient quantity of prospects, but your execution must be of sufficient quality to convert your touches into appointments. How well you engage the gatekeeper or prospect is just as important as the number of people you contact. 50 bad calls yields very few appointments.

7. Celebrate your wins. Use each sale, award or accomplishment as an opportunity celebrate and build bonds with family and friends. It’s motivating and can be a lot of fun. Don’t wait for someone else to recognize your successes.

8. Qualify first. Sell second. Your first order of business in the sales process once you have secured a meeting is to qualify the buyer. Proceed through the rest of the sales process with qualified buyer. This is one of my favorite sales tips and it’s quite simple: attempting to sell to unqualified buyers is a waste of time and junks up your pipeline.

9. Know why you do what you do. Your mission statement should clearly articulate why you’re in business, which is the unique value you bring to your customers. You must connect the value you provide to buyers with what you do each day. The greater mission will help drive your activities – especially when things get tough.

10. Keep your presentation simple. Confusing buyers with complicated presentations, industry jargon, complex graphs or the latest buzzwords will send them scurrying to buy from your competitors.

11. Gain depth in every account. Get to know as many people inside of every customer’s organization in order to prevent getting swept out with regime changes.

12. Good words, delivered well. Salespeople say they do not like scripts. In reality, they do like scripts. What they don’t like is to sound scripted. Memorize good words and phrases. Practice (a lot) using them in conversation so they flow naturally.

13. Discover the power of research. One of the most powerful tools you can use on a sales call is “research” because it builds trust and positions you as an expert. When you have facts to back up your claims, you separate yourself from your competitors and position yourself as an advisor, rather than a product representative.

14. Get your hands on your prospects free stuff. Sign up for a prospects newsletter, emails, product samples, RSS feed or social media pages to learn about their business. Use the information to equip you to speak intelligently about your value versus your competitors. You can sell with credibility this way.

15. Embrace objections. Objections are opportunities to uncover weaknesses in your selling skills. Prepare for them by anticipating what they are and having good responses for each one. In addition, objections also help you discover if you want to do business with the buyer.

Take these sales tips and apply them to your sales process. Always work to improve your performance. Remember, nothing happens until a sale is made. That means salespeople are the tip of the arrow driving the economy forward. That’s a great job to have and an important responsibility. Good selling!

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