When you start a business, you land in a sales position whether you like it or not. Selling is a key aspect of growing your business, and ignoring this task is a non-starter.
So, how can you quickly become the top producing salesperson in your own company? Here are 10 practical sales success tips that top entrepreneurs apply consistently.
1. Learn how to get over rejection.
It’s said that on an average we have 50,000 thoughts running through our mind and half of those come from negative self-talk, things like “I should have done this, I should have said that”… and so on. I don’t know of any salesperson who feels great about losing a sale.
Rejection hurts, period. When we feel bad, our natural inclination is to ignore the feeling or numb it so we don’t feel the pain. This makes it really hard to let go of negative emotions. And it doesn’t help to get advice like “let go” unless we know how to let go. Simple exercises and releasing techniques like the Sedona method can help you hit the reset button so you don’t carry that rejection to your next sale.
2. Don’t just look the part, embrace the character.
In acting it’s said that “It’s not about the lines or the look; it’s about how well you become the character that makes you believable.” The rules are no different in sales. Your prospect forms 90% of their opinion about you in the first 4 minutes and 60-80% of that impact is non-verbal. How you come across determines whether you will close the sale or not. Reset your non-verbal language for success. Get a friend to give you an honest critique of your appearance, your body language, and your voice.
3. Understand the numbers game.
If I speak to 10 prospects a day, I might get two out of ten to buy which means that my close ratio is 20 percent. Now if my goal were 50 accounts a month, how many prospects do I need to speak to in a day? Work out your closing ratio or activity number to work smart and you’ll know the right amount of activity needed.
4. Apply the rule of three.
Have you heard of the “backup rule of three in computers (in essence three copies of everything you need)?” This practice applies to most things in life including sales. Have at least three strategies for prospecting so you are not completely dependent on one strategy to generate all of your leads.
5. Stop having ‘great conversations’.
“We had a great conversation” does not necessarily equal a closed sale. Your job as the salesperson is to direct the conversation to a close or the next best step. Everything you do in the presentation is deliberate from the way you build rapport, open the conversation, use questions, and handle objections so that the close becomes a natural outcome and not just another great conversation.
6. Share exactly what problem you’ll solve.
I once had an insurance agent come to my office who wanted to sell me an education plan. I was interested in the product, so I kept asking questions to understand it better. Very soon I realized that she couldn’t address my concerns. She lost her credibility and I lost interest in the product. How well do you know your product or service in terms of the problem it can solve for your prospect?
7. Stop pitching and start listening.
Yes, that totally means stop talking about how great your product or company is because they don’t really care and you’ll lose them faster than you can imagine. Get real and start asking questions that will help you understand what’s important to them and then, listen with both ears. Your prospect will feel understood, you will build confidence by listening to them, and most importantly, only present solutions that actually make sense to them rather than telling them everything under the sun about your product or service.
8. Keep your top 5 questions ready.
It is said that 8 in 10 sales people don’t know how to use the most important tools in their toolkit: asking the right questions and leading the prospect to a close. Do you go into a conversation with the top 5 questions that you know will uncover the prospect’s real pain and tell you exactly what your prospect needs? Try it out and experience the difference for yourself.
9. Always have the answer.
You’ve heard most of the objections to your product or service by now, right? Have you figured out how to answer them? More importantly, have you practiced how to turn that objection into a question that’ll end up closing the sale? Very frequently, this part of the conversation turns into a justification game (e.g., better quality, best price, etc.) and suddenly you find that you’ve just handed over the reins to your prospect to lead you down the spiral of an unclosed sale.
10. Ask and you might receive.
I remember my first sales conversation. As hard as I tried to will the prospect to write a check without me having to ask, it didn’t work. Thankfully my sales partner stepped in, asked for the check, and put me out of my misery. I tried my technique many more times without much success. Lesson learned: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and ask for that sale!
11. Bonus. What happens after the sale, travels everywhere.
This the best part because it’s really your opportunity to shine. Deliver on your promise and go the extra mile, which could be as simple as a thank you in the mail. This is just the beginning of a relationship that could go a long way.
Ending up in the default sales position might not be that bad after all and who knows you might be on your way to becoming the top producer in your own company.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Yamini Virani is the Founder of Celebrus Business Strategies, a management consulting and training firm specializing in business coaching, sales, and leadership training. Connect with @yaminivirani on Twitter.
© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.