How to Work Smarter in Sales
If you find you are working harder, yet not seeing results, it may be time to assess your sales activities. It pays to look at the quality versus quantity of your sales calls.
Don’t Half-Ass It
Are you taking enough time to educate, inform and advise customers about different options, or are you half-assing it by skimming over information not critical enough to review? Do you describe the differences between your product and your competitors? This type of half-assing it leaves customers with unanswered questions. These customers will continue to shop until they find someone to answer their silent questions. Uncovering needs is a crucial part of effective selling. Make it a point to cover the details even when you think the customer already knows. Ask lots of questions and don’t be in a hurry to close or move Ifto the next sale.
It’s a Process
Are you consistent with follow up? Why bother to reach out if you are not going to follow up? Salespeople who regularly schedule follow up make the majority of all sales. Recommended follow-up activity is five to eight times, but can be as much as 20,30 and even 40 attempts in some industries.
Have a Plan
What’s your goal? Whenever I ask this question, most people say to close the deal. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. What steps are you taking to advance the process? Are these steps part of a repeatable, sustainable process leading to a closed deal?
How well do you know your stuff? How well do you know your customers? Are you an educator or a salesperson? People don’t want to be sold to; they want advice from a person they can trust.
Do you know the difference between suspects and prospects? Are you making a lot of friends and only a handful of sales? Take a look at your prospecting efforts. Are you all over the place, or hyper-focused? What criteria determines who you will work with to educate and help. If you don’t control your time, it will control you.
Past, Present and Future
What went right, or wrong in your last sale? What was unique? What did you learn from the sale that looked like it was going to close and evaporated? Reviewing your past sales experiences will help you learn from and refine your selling process. Once you determine your strengths and weaknesses, you can work on improving them.
Great achievers typically have an insane amount of drive. Being purpose-driven is the fuel that sustains you for the long race. Individuals with drive are never satisfied with their current state and are always looking at the horizon for the next conquest. These sales professionals are always learning to be better. If this describes your selling style congratulations! Remember to rest and recharge. Sales is a grind no matter how focused you are and all work and no play will take its toll on your physical and mental health.
The linchpin of long-term stability in sales is organization. Follow up, prospecting, customer service, and self-improvement all require organization. Sales professionals often complain they suffer from a lack of time. The question I ask; Is this a problem of time management or priority management? Get the clutter out of your day, focus on revenue producing activities, and allow your brain the space to achieve great things!
Is Your Heart in It?
Where your heart goes success flows. If you are not passionate about what you are doing get out of selling! Great salespeople believe in their product, service and have a sincere desire to help others. Money, success, and stuff is the byproduct of these attributes. Don’t phone it in. The “fake it till you make it” mentality will show in your performance and your actions. The worst part? Customers will smell it a mile away!
Make a friend first
Make a sale after you make a friend. Get to know your customers. They are trusting you to guide them on the buyer journey. Deliver on your promises and follow up after the sale to ensure they are happy. If they are over the top happy, ask for a referral. Satisfied customers will refer you to others. Trust me you will not need to go looking for new customers if you develop a customer base of raving fans.
Educate, don’t sell.
Be a truth slayer even when it costs you a sale. Building trust is the first step in the journey of a deal. Listen and ask questions to determine if what you offer is right for the customer. If not, advise them even if it means sending them somewhere else. They will remember your honesty and return the favor by referring you to the next person they speak with who needs your service.
Lessons in sales are all around us. Look at the people you buy from and trust, what’s different? Did you buy from someone if your bullshit detector went off? What made you choose one person over another? If you look, you will see a pattern emerge. Most likely you felt they cared more about you than the sale. They listened, asked questions and gave advice. They didn’t try to bullshit you; they gave you the facts.
Try looking for these attributes the next time you are in the market to buy.
You will learn a lot about how to work smarter, not harder in sales.