10 Sales Tips to Help Your Results Flourish
Author: The Humble Sale
Posted: July 1st, 2021
Looking to boost your sales performance in the months ahead? If so, here are ten handy sales tips to help you do just that!
However, there are some basics that we should all keep in mind and this quick list covers ten that will seriously improve your sales performance.
This one is so important. To be really successful you must get good at organising and planning. Years ago I used to scuba dive, and the mantra to ensure a safe, successful and enjoyable dive was to “plan your dive and dive your plan.” Sales is no different. Good sales results can be planned.
When creating your plan, consider how to divide your time to maximise the hours available to actually speak, meet or communicate with your customers and prospects. Ensure that these hours mirror when they are likely to be available, which will vary depending on their roles or industry sector.
Establish a routine that is repeatable, with time allocated for all aspects of your sales process, from researching new prospects to meeting with established clients. This repeatability, maybe following a weekly or monthly structure, will also help ensure it is habit forming.
Naturally, your process will be different depending on your role. Above all else, most time should be given to the furthering of your objectives, which will usually be linked to your targets, whether company issued or self-generated.
True success is unlikely to come from sitting on your hands and waiting for the phone to ring. So get active! Forget what leads may be generated by marketing or others in your sales funnel and take responsibility for your own business.
In this day and age we have many routes to market and many mediums through which to communicate. Successful salespeople use them all in conjunction to devastating effect, rather than leaning heavily on one or the other. For example, purely prospecting within LinkedIn will deliver some reward, but using your LinkedIn network to ask for actual introductions to other contacts – either by phone or in the flesh – will work better.
With email, video, social media, networking events, the telephone, pen and paper (yes, actual pen and paper) all available to us, a multi-channel strategy will ensure you increase your chances or reaching your target contacts. Also, look to what your competition are doing and try and differentiate. If they are all emailing, write a letter… It’s all about standing out.
Finally, despite much press to the contrary, there is a very real place for the telephone in modern prospecting. More and more people these days shy away from it, so I would suggest honing your skills. After all, many good relationships start with an actual conversation…
What’s important to you? Getting results or getting meetings? Hopefully as a sales professional you’ve said results. That means you need all your contacts, conversations and meetings to really count. Therefore, they need to be with the right people.
Normally the correct path means involving those people actually involved in the client’s overall business strategy not just the buying process. Typically these are C-Level people. So, challenge yourself. If you can get an easy meeting with a procurement category manager but the real strategy is set by say, an Operations Director, work hard to get the meeting with the Operations Director.
You’ll get more insight into the problems they need to solve and deeper answers to any questions you may ask. This will inform your proposed solution and make it more relevant than the competition who may have had a higher level discussion with the easier contact.
It is a real shame, but still today, many sales organisations drill their staff on Closing and techniques for doing so (I blame Glengarry Glen Ross). However, those sales people who Open their sales cycles brilliantly, are more likely to achieve lasting success. So, plan for your first meetings well.
Put more time into preparing questions and displaying curiosity than prepping your own company information. Consider what your objectives are and what you may need to know to achieve them and use this as a starting point. Remember, the buyer is interested in achieving a positive outcome not buying your product, so try and understand what that outcome really needs to feel like to them. Also, remember that all of the trauma and uncertainty can be removed from a sales cycle by Selling Time. Click here to explore the technique of Selling Time in more detail.
Quick tip this. Just listen more when talking or meeting with your customers. Brilliant salespeople spend more time listening. They truly absorb the thoughts, challenges and ambitions of their customers rather than talking about or promoting themselves. We’re not saying don’t talk, just get the balance right. Also, actively listening will help you pick up on the things others miss, to give you a good edge.
Following on from Tip 5, when you do talk use it as an opportunity to add value and educate. Serious buyers want to be helped and they crave genuinely expert advice, so be helpful. Think about things from the buyer’s perspective and try and help them see the problem from a variety of angles. If the buyer walks away from your meeting thinking they have learnt something and have genuinely found their time with you refreshing, it’ll lead to better results than you displaying impressive knowledge of your particular product or service.
Put another way, try not be too scatter-gun in your prospecting approach. Look for a niche where you or your company have been particularly successful. This may be a vertical market, a geographic region, a type of business department, a certain type of buyer, etc.
Make a list of all of the things that your customers in this niche have in common. This is a rudimentary way of developing a profile for what your ideal customer looks like.
Next, write down all of the reasons why you believe these customers bought from you and then re-package these into a key message or value proposition.
Armed with this information, look for other organisations that you don’t do business with who have similar profiles and focus your prospecting activities in this area.
Such an easy one this and tragically under-utilised by many salespeople. Once you’ve done all the hard work of helping someone solve a problem or achieving a great outcome ask them if they know of anyone else who they think may benefit from similar help. A sure-fire way to a warm introduction and another sales opportunity in the not too distant future.
We only know what we know. All of us are the by-product of the experiences and advice we have been exposed too. Yet our individual perspectives are small in comparison to the wealth of knowledge and education out there. To stay at the top of your game and keep refining your skills set aside some time to read other perspectives related to our great profession (you must care about this already given you are taking the time to read this blog, for which I humbly thank you).
There is a wealth of material available and you don’t need to agree with everything you read. You just need to immerse yourself in different ideas which will lead to discovering the occasional useful gem or some quality time out challenging your own thinking. Here are 5 books we recommend reading and here is a link to our Resources page, where you can find information regarding Selling Professionally, in our opinion the first truly academic text book for Sales.
You are not alone. Sometimes to win a deal you need to involve others. This could be for advice or real, active involvement.
For advice you can turn to your colleagues, mentors, managers, professional network or even us here at The Humble Sale (seriously, just drop us an email)! It really is true that two minds are better than one.
When it comes to active involvement, I’ve always found the chances of success increase when taking a team approach to a deal. This serves two overall purposes. The first is to ensure that you play to your strengths. Involving more people means that the tasks within the sales process can be distributed so that people operate within their natural area of expertise (for example your best problem solver may not be your best presenter so you could use different team members to consider the problem and convey the solution).
The second is that it shows the prospect you are organisationally capable, have depth within your team and are well set-up to help them now and into the future.
You may want to print these sales tips out for quick reference when embarking on your plan:
Hopefully you’ve found these sales tips helpful. Building personal success in Sales takes real focus, effort and learning. However, it also starts with you and an honest self-evaluation of your priorities and style. Without authenticity no sales person will maintain success for long periods.
For some key areas to think about to get you well on your way to Sales greatness, have a read of this article on How to Make 2021 Your Year to Shine.