“To me, job titles don’t matter. Everyone is in sales. It’s the only way we stay in business” , Harvey Mackay
Sales is an art. Sales is business. Successful sales mean successful business. No doubts on these. Finding this gifted God of Sales has the same chances of winning the lottery. However, making one just by following some simple tips it’s much easier. It’s a fact that persuading people to spend their money nowadays and buy your product is much more difficult than it was some years ago. Based on that, the following “Do’s and Don’ts” could help a lot in every business Sales process.
- Customers are people not machines: every salesman should always keep in mind that their main target is customer’s needs and that at the receiving end of their emails there is a live, busy, overworked and often underpaid with real life issues as Judy Crockett underlines.
- If you want advice, ask for money. But if you want money, ask for advice : Customers buy your personality first and then the product. being confident for yourself and your selling product is the alpha and omega of a successful sale, according to Virginie Stref from Magency Digital.
- Be your customer’s friend: Alexander Ruggie from Milestone SEO gave us an example of a salesman in his company who consistently does better at selling than others, basically due to the fact that he doesn’t only ask the clients how they are doing but also remembers what they have said last time and starts a conversation. Dustin Snipes and Lydia Sugarman agree in learning everything about your potential customer’s background. Being prepared to start a conversation, you need to find out about the person as well as their business needs at their time. If they like you, they will buy. It’s simple.
- Listen before you speak: Aaron Lin and Sarah Gershman point out the importance of listening to your clients. Remaining silent and listening actively to what’s not being said while responding using the customer’s language when making questions or giving answers are some simple things that can take you one step closer to success.
- Paint the picture: Erika Baez suggested every salesman to make the customers see themselves using the selling product in their everyday life. The more they can see themselves using it, the more instant value they will see from doing business with you. Erin Alli also encourages salesmen to be conversational and show them through stories and examples why they need what you have to offer.
- Calls, calls, calls : Phone calls have always been the secret weapon of every salesman. Dustin Snipes presents one more way to make every call count. Referrals. Most customers you sell know someone else in either similar industry or another company. Ask them for that referral.
- Follow a defined sales strategy: First of all define your buyer’s profile and the way you communicate, as George Schildge points out. Doug Mitchell underlines the importance of having a structured workflow, from leads to the closing and confirming installation. A CRM could help a lot in ensuring that no follow up calls are missed and accurate metrics are available for constant feedback according to Mack Dudayev from InsureChance INC. The whole idea is to work hard, follow selling strategies, social media campaigns and targeted marketing but above all the most qualified prospects are made either over the phone or in person, as Alan Vernon from CQ Fluency says.
- Get the most out of Social Media: Ryan Leavitt from Learn Core encourages everyone to jump into Social Selling this year, starting using social networks for research and warm up every cold message.
- You are not alone: if you find yourself worrying about how to do it or stuck in a rut, search for a social group regarding sales and marketing and discuss your concerns with experts. Ramon Khan strongly believes that you will quickly find out that your obstacles can be easily overcome.
- Foster positive reviews of your product or service online: David Scarola from The Alternative Board points out that 93% of business owners turn to independent reviews before making a purchase ( The Alternative board infographic).
- Provide a free trial or demo : David also refers to the results of a survey that shows 64% of business owners to prefer personal trial when selecting a product - almost double the 36% who feel comfortable with a vendor demo alone.
- Keep your sales team happy: this is the main suggestion of Holly Bennett, the PR Associate of TorontoVaporizer.ca. Tanya Mitchell from Learning RX insists on hiring highly influential people that know a lot of people and also give words of affirmation to all sales team everyday in order to feel liked and more willing to work hard.
- No more staggered work schedules: According to Doug Mitchell while there may be room for flexibility, your work day should look the same every day. You need to maintain a balance to prevent from working too little or too much.
- Don’t get stuck in the weeds: Sarah Gershman emphasizes the fact that every salesman is an expert in what you are selling. Don't let that expertise cause you to give unnecessary information about your product. Try to get the core of what your customer needs to know.
- ABC(Always Be Closing) : Don't wait for the end to ask for the money.We should be closing
throughout the entire sale. Ever heard the term ABC: Always Be Closing? It is true you start closing from the minute you say hello to your customer according to Erika Baez
- Don’t try to reinvent the wheel : Ramon Khan reminded us of an old but well known practice: do what your competitors do! No need to duplicate efforts. Take what you like from each top competitor then combine, improve and optimize it to your liking. But under no circumstances don’t bring down your competitor!
- Don’t be desperate: People can smell desperation on you, so don’t try to sell to people when you are in that mindset, Erin Alli says.
- Don’t be pushy: Nobody likes to be pushed to make a decision, Erin says and we all agree!
- Do not overanalyze: Keep it simple! Don't spread yourself too thin and focus on where your strengths are. It's great to have as many sales strategies at your disposal as possible but try to keep it to what you do best, that’s what Alan Vernon recommends.
- Do not underestimate sales goals: Barry Maher warns everyone about the importance of setting the right goals. If they're too high, they can be discouraging and after struggling for a while, you'll be tempted to simply give up. On the other hand, there are many people who slack off because they've achieved their goal for today or this week or this month, even though they're nowhere near their long term goal.
- Don’t be perfect: Apologizing, accept your faults and promise to make it right next time according to the client needs is the perfect way of dealing with a bug or any other problem, says Paul McGucken
- Don’t be busy: You should never be busy when a customer needs you. Brent Hale underlines the importance of being accessible to your clients or customers in whatever way that means to your business. This could mean answering their emails/comments promptly, offering incredible customer service or technical support, and backing your product up with a 100% guarantee. Trust is everything and without it, it won’t matter how incredible your product is, nobody will buy it.
George Fylaktopoulos is a senior software engineer with 9+ years of experience in Software analysis, developer of information systems, development of web applications, web services and mobile devices