Sales is a highly competitive industry, and you need to be your very best in order to succeed. You’ve likely had mentors and colleagues all telling you the “best” path to success. Everyone has their own tips and tricks and tactics and methods, that they rely on to prospect, negotiate, and close deals. With so much competing information being thrown at you from all directions, you might be completely lost as to what advice to take and which recommendations to ignore.
You’re not alone. And we’re here to help. There are five key steps for success in sales, and we’ve outlined them below.
1. Be an Active Listener
Customers are now in the front seat. They’re in total control and everything needs to be about them. Not about you, your company, or your product or service. So when interacting with customers, you must make them feel like they’re cared about and valued. You must make them feel like a person, not a number.
The way to do this is to listen actively. Active listening will not only let you gain insights into the customer’s needs, wants, and challenges, but it will also show the customer that what he’s saying matters to you. Stop talking about your products, services, company, and awards. Start listening to the wants and needs of your clients. To actively listen, don’t multitask, don’t jot down notes, pay attention to what the buyer’s tone and body language is telling you, acknowledge what you’re hearing, and ask questions for clarity.
The importance of listening while selling cannot be understated.
2. Go off Script
While having a script is a good idea when selling over the phone, especially if you’re new to your position, you cannot read through a script on a sales call. It will come off sounding completely robotic and unauthentic. Your script should only guide the direction of the conversation, nothing more. Edit the script to match the vocabulary that you normally use so it sounds more natural. Read it many times ahead of time until you have it down pat.
3. Ask Questions
Asking the prospect questions will also show that you care about their unique wants and needs. You might think that your product or service is awesome, that the features are amazing, and that the value is astounding, but if you just keep talking about your product and giving information that the prospect doesn’t want, care about, or need, you’re just going to waste his time and annoy him. Instead, ask him open-ended questions to get him talking, keep the conversation flowing, better understand his needs, and to show interest in providing a real solution.
4. Don’t Give Up—but Don’t Be a Stalker, Either
Persistence is a good thing when selling. Many new and less skilled sales people can’t close deals because they run away at the first sign of an objection or a rejection. But the truth is buyers rarely agree to a deal from the first moment that they talk to you. They need to be able to trust you and build a relationship with you first. If you give up when you feel resistance, you’ll never be able to get to this critical relationship-building step. Keep sending valuable sales emails, keep in contact, and keep trying.
But at the same time, understand when no is really no. If a prospect is never going to buy, you’re going to waste time, effort, and resources on him when you could have been pursuing more fruitful opportunities. To avoid doing this, make sure you’re only persistent with sales-qualified leads.
5. Show Value
People no longer care solely about price. They understand that cheaper doesn’t necessarily translate into better. So to close deals, you need to showcase the value of your offerings beyond your price. Paint a picture of how your prospects will benefit from purchasing your product or service and also mention what they stand to lose if they don’t.