- Remember who’s in charge of the sale. It’s not you. Sorry about that, but selling is no longer about getting customers to do what you want, to follow your lead––or to buy what you want to sell. The customer is in charge today and this requires listening and patience.
- Make the phone ring. It’s not how many calls you make that makes more sales. It’s how many customers who call you that makes the difference. The goal in selling is getting the customer to want you (and not just what you sell).
- Become a brand. Don’t look and act like every other salesperson. Develop your own personal style and establish an identity that’s all your own. What do you want your customers to think when they think of you? What sets you apart? What makes you unique? The goal is to make yourself memorable.
- Be known for your ideas. Women are good in sales because they aren’t hung up on schmoozing and all the “good ole boy baloney.” Use ideas to connect with customers. If you don’t have any they can use, you don’t get the business.
- Follow up furiously. Most sales are lost because of a lack of consistent follow up. Buyers are taking longer than ever to make decisions. Most salespeople drop prospects too soon. As a result, the deal goes to the next salesperson. Never stop following up.
- Always be accessible. Accessibility is a top priority. There’s no wiggle room when it comes to communicating: you’re either available or you’re not. If customers can’t find you when you’re needed, they’ll find someone who is always accessible.
- Be candid with customers. Puff and fluff, blowing smoke and exaggeration are all out. Customers want your knowledge and experience. This is what makes you valuable. Respect comes from giving straight answers.
- Always act in the customer’s best interest. Don’t just talk about it; do it. Just because you or your sales manager wants to sell it doesn’t make it right for each and every customer. Here’s the message: Making the wrong sale is worse than not making a sale.
- Be known in the marketplace. No one wants to deal with an unknown company, product––or salesperson. If you’ve made an effort to be known in your industry and have strong visibility, you will get more appointments and attract more customers.
- Prospect constantly. Never stop identifying those you want to do business with if you have the opportunity. A good database is the lifeblood of selling. Get in touch and stay in touch with as many prospects as possible. With a good database, you can communicate easily and quickly.
- Create your future. While you’re thinking about this month’s sales, create your own future by adding names to your database that may not become customers for one, two or even five years. Cultivate them so they know you.
- 12. Fight stupidity. When you’re constantly prospecting and looking ahead, you won’t be wasting time cold calling, an outdated practice that antagonizes prospects and makes it impossible to turn them into customers.
- Become indispensable to customers. If customers don’t need you, they don’t need what you sell. Always look for ways to be a resource for both customers and prospects. Supply information. Help them do a better job.
- Don’t pull the plug on prospects. Don’t assume that customers should be ready to buy just because you want the order. Selling requires working in two directions at the same time: You must stay in touch with those you’ve talked with but who have not ordered as well as on upcoming sales possibilities. Both are equally important activities.
- Don’t confuse activity with action. Salespeople waste time. Unproductive meetings, extra calls because you like to be with the customer or prospect or doing lunches that don’t do anything; it all adds up to activity but no action. The key is staying in touch with prospects, figuring out new ways to respond, and managing more and more prospects.
- Make news. Become a source of information. Talk to editors of local, regional and national trade, industry and business publications. If you’re in consumer sales, become known to daily and weekly publications, as well as radio and TV outlets. Ask them how you might be helpful. You can write short articles that provide helpful information to readers.
- Be interesting. Dull doesn’t do it. Neither does blah. If you blend into the woodwork, you’ll never be remembered. Maybe you have a distinctive business card or are known for giving away quality pens. Grabbing attention is the way to cut through the clutter.
- Get inside the customer’s head. Your workshop is inside the customer’s head. If you know what’s going on there, you can be helpful and respond appropriately. In other words, it’s your customer’s agency and priorities that are important, not yours.
- Know when to say no. Salespeople want to say “yes,” of course. But there are times when it’s impossible. Saying, “We can’t help you with that,” can build credibility. Then go out and find someone who can meet the customer’s need.
- Be known for your knowledge. Far too often, salespeople hide their knowledge and experience from customers. Be known for knowing something, not just for selling something. If customers don’t perceive your value, they feel free to go elsewhere.
- Get organized and stay that way. Few salespeople like paperwork and fewer still are well organized. Here’s the message: if you don’t put it on paper (or in your computer), it isn’t real. Salespeople thrive on hyping themselves on self-created fantasies (that they like to think has substance). That’s right. They like to kid themselves––and anyone else who comes along. As the kids say, “Get real.” It will mean more sales.
- Present personalized proposals. Boilerplate sends the message that your proposals are all the same. Instant proposals let you tee off faster, but they also tick off customers who expect a personalized approach. Spend time creating individualized proposals, and get someone you trust to review them and cut out the hype before sending them off to a prospective customer.
- Be enthusiastic. Whether it’s the tone of your voice, the way you move or your facial expression, be genuinely enthusiastic. People want to do business with those who are upbeat, positive and demonstrate in their manner that they like what they’re doing.
- Admit your mistakes. Mistakes happen. Even with excellent safeguards, they still occur. With everything so fast paced, mistakes slip in. This is not a justification for the all-too-common “everyone makes mistakes” nonsense, however. There are times when we must stand up and say, “We made a mistake and we’ll take care of it.” This is what earns respect and credibility for salespeople.
- Make it happen. Selling isn’t about trying. This is what separates the stars from the “second string” players. It’s the difference between those who walk out the door when the clock strikes the hour and those who accept responsibility. In the final analysis, making it happen is what selling is all about. In a word, this is commitment.
Selling isn’t about learning clever sales techniques. It’s not about becoming a better closer or memorizing the right words. That was yesterday. Selling in the years ahead has to do with recognizing what’s happening with customers and finding ways for helping them become more successful.
In effect, selling is no longer about getting the order. Sales is about winning customers who are eager to do business with you because you understand them and what they want to accomplish.