Selling: the art and science of moving another person or organization toward you and/or your organization for a specific business purpose.
Doesn’t sound so hard. After all, our entire economy is based on, not the bartering of products and services, but the exchange of dollars for a product, service or intellectual capital.
Why then is it such a painful process? Why are there so many mediocre salespeople and why are so many sales conversations between salesperson and prospect, or salesperson and their manager, so painful?
Sometimes we just need a makeover. A fresh perspective, new ideas and approaches. We need to expand our mind and our skills.
This is a post designed to get you past the painful. Take stock, pay attention and see where you, as a sales or business development professional, can improve. You owe it to yourself, your family, your company and your prospects.
Don’t do them all at once. It’s too hard and success or sustainability too difficult. Choose a tip, consider it, study it, apply it, master it, and move on to another.
35 Tips for Your Sales Makeover
- Own the fact that you are responsible for, and control, your financial security and career path.
- Know who you are –
- Maximize your strengths and people will spend little time on your weaknesses.
- Surround yourself with optimistic, successful people who are passionate about what they do.
- Cast off the economy as an excuse for lack of sales.
- Refuse to believe you are too busy to prospect and sell.
- Prospecting is the foundation
- Outbound and inbound strategies go together
- Understand the preferred communication of your buyer and prospect
- Understand industry trends and how your product or service leads or meets upcoming trends.
- Realize the past is not an indicator of your future, good or bad.
- Every day is a chance to do better, until someone else (said manager) says you don’t.
- Don’t wait too long to get serious.
- Study your craft carefully.
- Track and review:
- Listen to how others sell well.
- Position yourself beyond the fray; Don’t sound like the others in your industry.
- Read –
- Take online classes. (Many are free).
- Unhappy with your company? Leave. Do everyone a favor.
- Set goals and meet them. That in itself, is an accomplishment.
- Reach high and believe you can, with great effort, attain stretch goals.
- Believe karma, luck, faith and hard work win races, build careers and distinguish you as a leader.
- Be prepared…Actually, be over prepared and you won’t need a Monday morning quarterback session.
- Don’t ever say, “I’m not tech savvy,” “I don’t like the computer” or anything that resembles that; you date yourself.
- Learn to be computer proficient.
- It’s more important to be respected than liked in sales. Buyers want people that can solve their problems. They don’t necessarily need a new friend.
- Don’t say, “they love me,” or “they love us.” They may until they don’t. Go for respect.
- Know the tools that make you look smarter and more productive than you looked last year; among your peers and in the world. (see tips above)
- Not so curious? Find a coach who will help you with the tools, accountability and strategies that keep you current and relevant for a wired, knowledge-packed buyer.
- Your products and services inside and out
- What differentiates you
- Who you should be talking to
- Know why you should be talking to them
- Share specifics (proof points are critical)
- Give more than you think you should
- Know where they are socially
- Be there
- Get serious about your digital profiles and presence.
- You might not like LinkedIn. That’s okay.
- If your buyers are there, you need to be
- You don’t have to like it, it’s part of your job
- Pay up. Upgrade your LinkedIn membership for greater accessibility
- Build a strong, up-to-date, professional story.
- Connect strategically with the right people. Your network is your currency.
- Strategic Partners
- Weave your online and offline activities together.
- Follow up through LinkedIn (B2B)
- Personalize your messages, 95% of the time
- Be real
- If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online
- Post, like, comment and share content, yours and others
- You might not like LinkedIn. That’s okay.
- Be more than knowledgeable, be:
- Mindful of time and effort; not every meeting needs to be an hour.
- Diligent. Fortitude should be a salesperson’s middle name.
- Organize. It’s liberating!
- Learn how to ask great questions. A series of great questions creates a conversation. A series of first level questions is an interview.
- Google this topic:
- 21 Powerful Open-Ended Questions
- Talk to your operations, customer service and marketing colleagues to understand things from their perspective.
- Never stop learning.
If you take an assessment and sales is really not your thing, it’s good to know. Selling is demanding, relentless and one of the greatest professions there is, if it’s for you. If not, it’s really grueling. If I managed your sales team, LinkedIn and several of the other tips would be key KPIs.
Do you have a professional development budget for yourself? Better, does your organization have one?
If so, great. If not, no worries. There is a free version for every tip. Just remember, the free stuff is what everyone can learn. It’s what gets you started but may not take you to the top. You decide. Start somewhere. You will reap the benefits.
This is not an exhaustive list, not by any means. We will continue to add to this post and keep you up-to-date on how the buying process has changed.
Now that you have your makeover plan, what’s stopping you? Don’t be schooled by your competition, your peers, your boss. Do the schooling.
These tips might get you through a bit more than a month, a quarter or all of 2015. I’d love to hear your sales tips. What makes you great? What differentiates you?