We all want to improve as sales professionals and skill development is a lifelong process. Here are ten things you can do right now to become a better salesperson and improve your sales performance.
1. Remove demotivating factors from your life
Whether it’s toxic people, the 24-hour news cycle, demoralizing Facebook/Twitter posts, or TV addictions, you need to limit anyone or anything that adversely affects your motivation and mental focus. Instead, read inspiring books, listen to music, watch videos and invest in relationships that enhance your life positively. These things affect your mindset, outlook, attitude and performance.
2. Question your buyer’s assumptions
You differentiate yourself as a salesperson by getting your prospect to see their business in a new way or when you shed light on a persistent problem. Just because they are used to doing things a certain way, does not mean they can’t change. Some phrases to help them be open to new solutions like yours are: “Have you thought about it this way?” or “May I suggest you look at this situation from this angle.” Once you open the door with one of these phrases, you can showcase an innovative solution. This can dramatically increase your credibility with the buyer.
3. Listen your way through the sale
You learn nothing new while you’re talking. Instead, get the whole story from your prospect by asking great questions and listening to their answers. Listen for your buyer’s needs, wants, desires, expectations and intended outcomes. Also, listen for their motives for wanting to buy. Finally, listen for the experiences they had with previous vendors and what you should avoid. One of the best responses you can give a prospect when they finish speaking is: “Tell me more”.
4. Track your lead generation activities
Any lead generation activities that do not yield sufficient sales opportunities, eliminate them. Improve up those that do. You have only a limited amount of time and resources, so you’ve got to focus on the one’s that create the greatest ROI – not only in quantity of leads, but also quality. Track the source of your leads to inform you where to invest your time to generate more and maximize your sales opportunities.
5. Do your CRM work offline
There’s no greater time sucker than getting lost in a CRM system. It not only distracts you from prime selling time, it also affects your momentum. Set aside time away from prime selling hours to update your records, follow-up with potential buyers and build prospect lists as necessary. For sales managers, you need to know what your sales reps do all day. The CRM system is not always reliable.
6. Uncover your prospect’s value perceptions
Your job as a salesperson is not to push your products or services on a buyer. Instead, your job is to pull out of the buyer their expectations and value perceptions. Once you do that, selling is easy. When you find yourself locked in a discussion about product and price, shift the conversation to a business-focused topic with a simple question: From your perspective, how will this type of solution help you achieve your goals?
7. Prepare your questions in advance
What are the top seven questions you need to ask on every first appointment? What about every qualifying appointment? How about in every negotiation? Start with the end of the sales appointment in mind. What do I need to learn about this buyer that I don’t know now? Then write your questions accordingly.
8. Bring your witnesses
When we buy online, we tend to read reviews to help us make the purchase decision. Do the same for yourself: gather testimonials and case studies from your happy, satisfied customers. This is how you extend your credibility to new buyers and separate yourself from your competitors… even when you have a higher price.
9. Always retain your integrity
Tell the truth – even when it does not benefit you personally. If you cannot deliver your product or service at a certain time, then tell the buyer. Be honest and then give them some time frame options that you can deliver. Don’t offer terms you cannot honor. Tell them right away what you can and cannot do. If you make a mistake on a customer’s order, then admit it, take the blame and make amends. In most cases, a customer simply wants an acknowledgement of fault and a sincere effort to fix the problem.
10. Qualify, Qualify, Qualify
How do you become a better salesperson? Qualify. Never assume that a sales call should automatically lead to a sale. Not everyone who meets with you either can or will buy. It’s your job to distinguish between good customers, bad customers, and those who will simply waste your time. Since not all business is good business, be sure to qualify first – sell second. Attempting to sell to an unqualified buyer fills your pipeline with junk, wastes your time and adversely affects your forecast.