Successful salespeople have a true commitment to their company, products or services but more importantly, have an unwavering commitment first to their customersand then to themselves.
Here are some ideas that I want to share, and when put into practice, will help you to become a more successful salesperson.
Plan your day the night before -It is safe to assume that if you don’t plan your day the night before, then when you arrive at your office you’ll be more apt to spend “much of your time reacting instead of acting”, according to motivational author Jack Canfield. You might be able to sleep better at night knowing that you have a plan in place and ready to go before you hit your desk. More importantly, it will be much easier for you to avoid distractions that will keep you away from achieving your goals.
What to do with your day after you’ve planned it – Seems like an easy answer but can you effectively manage your day if you can’t manage your time? Time management is essential. In the world of business, no matter how successful one becomes, time is one thing that there is not enough of. All of the successful salespeople that I’ve worked with practiced disciplined time management and they spent the majority of their time on tasks that made them money and little time on things that were a waste of time.
Research and read every day – The importance of reading and researching your market every day cannot be overstated. I read the online version of my local newspaper, along with a handful of national new services, and I pay particular attention to each Business section. There are opportunities that present themselves in companies who both rise and fall and when you read between the lines, your product or service might provide a solution that’s at the right time and place.
Do your homework before you pick up the phone – Like reading daily, it is equally important to research the company and individual who you are about to speak with. Thanks to Google, you can find out as much about a company, their products, services and the prospect you are about to speak with as you want and you just might uncover a clue or two that will help you to break the ice before moving to your sales pitch.
Conscious repetition – Do you use the same old cookie cutter opening statement every time you contact a prospect or do you mix and match your delivery to fit who you are calling? The oil and gas company your about to call has a much different corporate culture than does the medical instrument manufacturer who is next up in your call rotation. Each prospective customer is a different animal so you need to tailor your message that speaks to their needs and not yours.
Are you in a “helping” or “selling” mode? – Most salespeople have adopted the principles of ‘sell’ and ‘close’ because that’s the way they’ve been trained. When you approach a prospect over the phone or in person with this mind-set, there is a high probability that he will be able to sense your intentions. When he does, it won’t make any difference what you are selling and at what price point, you’ll be out the door as quickly as you came in. Think of changing your thought process to “how can I help this guy” and see what a difference it makes in your close ratio.
Don’t look and sound like your competitors – Before you meet face-to-face with a prospective customer, you’ve uncovered some ‘buying signals’ that suggest your prospect is interested in learning more about your products and services. Let’s assume that there will be other competitors that will be invited to the table vying for the same piece of business. If all of you are pitching the same value propositions such as “We’re the biggest and best”, “We’ve been in business for 20 years”, “We’re the leaders in our space”, then your prospect has no other alternative than to choose one of you based upon price. Avoid this situation at all costs!
Build relationships across the customer organization – If you want to get a leg up on your competition and close more sales you must develop a business relationship with both the decision-maker as well as others who the decision-maker is directly or indirectly connected with. Successful salespeople never are satisfied with just one point-of-contact within an organization and are continually look for ways to build relationships and credibility with other members of the network.
Endeavor to develop your business and personal skills – When was the last time you ran into Joe the sales ‘expert’? Joe has tons of experience and knows his product inside and out. In spite of this, many of the Joe’s of this world consistently underperform because they do nothing to expand their skill set or learn anything new. When was the last time you ran into a Joe who is now working for another company? Joe “left” that company because he was passed over by a more successful salesperson who consistently sharpened his axe (business and personal skill set).
Following up with customers – Hotel salespeople are great at staying in touch during the sales process but virtually never ‘check in’ with a you after the sale is closed. They’ll be happy to include you in an email blast (this is called a shot gun approach or ‘trolling for leads’) but can’t quite find the time to pick up the phone and ask you how your event went. Successful salespeople understand that the customer/salesperson relationship doesn’t end with the closing of the sale. Following up with customers will ensure a higher level of satisfaction, generate repeat business, and foster relationships that may turn into referrals.
Make one more sales call before you turn out the lights – We all have good call days and bad call days. When you’ve heard your fill of “No thanks” then make it a point to make at least one more call or keep calling until you get a “Yes” before you call it a night. It will do wonders for your psyche and may move you that much closer to making your quota.
Tom Costello is the CEO and Managing Director of iGroupAdvisors, a performance improvement consulting firm that specializes in the hospitality and travel verticals.