Undoubtedly the sales department is crucial for any company’s survival. High sales represent the ultimate success, while low sales represent one of the reasons for failure. Although many think of the sales business as unethical and dishonest, if done properly, it could just be one of the most humane, rewarding and fulfilling jobs. But even if you’re equipped with the highest talent, there are some golden rules of a successful sale that are always advisable to follow.
Regularly applying these principles can virtually guarantee you to move to the top of your field and to feel the accomplishment of truly improving people’s lives.
Rules on how to be successful in sales
You could think of the sales process and strategy similarly to riding a bike. When first start your cycling session you need some extra energy to put the bike into motion. After developing a stride and a flow, things are going to come naturally. More so, after getting warmed up, every hill or challenge that’s on your path seems easier due to momentum.
So basically when you get the energy flowing, it’s easier to maintain a certain course. Of course you need to still pay attention to what you’re doing, but everything becomes easier the more time you spend cycling.
So let’s see what the rules for maintaining your “balance” are.
1. Have a positive attitude and take positive actions
The starting point of a successful sale is envisioning it. You know the old saying “fake it til you make it”, well that usually applies to our day to day lives as well. Convincing ourselves to be positive, confident and in complete control of what we do creates a baseline for actually becoming all of those things that we wish we could be. After being in the certain way we’d like to be, attaining our goals just comes with the territory.
Imagine yourself as an outstandingly performing sales person and control your inner dialogue. Talk to yourself the way you want to be rather than the way you might be at the present time. Convince yourself of all the qualities that you have and start being proactive and action oriented.
2. Figure out what you love to do and where you want to get
Truth be told, passion is probably one of the main traits of a successful salesperson. They all love their careers and their work and they commit to becoming extraordinary in their area of expertise.
When you realize exactly what it is that “makes you tick”, you’ll invest all the necessary means in order to become excellent at what positively consumes you. Just as the sating goes: follow your passion and you will never work a day in your life.
We get it, it’s hard to both face rejection and not be keen on your activity, so if you haven’t yet found your calling, try to explore within you and let things come naturally.
If sales is the path you choose, then try to be more specific and find a domain that you’re passionate about and get involved in it. Set goals along the way and determine what price (time and money invested, what you’re willing to give up) you are going to have to pay to reach them.
Both perseverance and a strong willpower are two of the most important key traits of a good sales person and chances are that they’re going to help you close a deal.
If you’re not satisfied with the level of your income or with certain aspects of your lifestyle, then try to improve them. Discover some values-aligned goals and find the force that pushes you to accomplish them.
Find a company that you’re enthusiastic about. Sell products that you’re not only comfortable with, but actually passionate about. Without enthusiasm it’s unlikely to actually succeed in the sales business.
3. Make it your job to discuss issues and solutions and not reach a sales target
Get curious about your prospects. Ask about the products and services they're already using. Are they happy? If they’re not, why? Is what they're using now too expensive, not reliable enough, too slow? Find out what they really want. Remember, you're not just conducting an impersonal survey with questions asked just for the sake of being answered. Ask questions that will provide you with information that really is of some worth to you in evaluating the situation.
When you learn what your customers need and you stop trying to convince them to do something that might not suit their needs, you'll find them trusting you as a valued adviser and wanting to actually do more business with you as a result.
4. Identify your weak points
Personal growth should be a must no matter what your area of expertise is. It’s true that career development isn’t necessarily an objective that we all have but if you set a professional goals, there’s no way around it.
You need to evaluate yourself and ask your peers and boss to give you feedback in order to identify what your weaknesses and strong points are.
Work on the things you’re not so good at so they don’t set you back and develop the ones that you’re skilled for to ace them no matter what.
5. Be hungry for knowledge
As mentioned in the previous “rule”, striving to become better should be one of your personal goals and constantly learning is a part of that process.
Your mind is your most precious asset, and the quality of your thinking is directly related to the quality of your sales career.
I cannot emphasize this too often. Listen to audiobooks, watch tutorials and expert speakers, read books, attend seminars and never forget that the most valuable asset you will ever have is your power of thought. As you continue to learn, you will eventually become the one of the most valuable salespeople in your company.
The more knowledge you acquire that can be applied to practical purposes, the greater will be your rewards, both emotionally and financially.
6. Follow relevant people in your business and surround yourself with smarter people
Successful people follow leaders, not followers and they look for being around smarter people, from who they have things to learn rather than hang around exclusively with people they can teach “a thing or two”.
Do what the top salespeople in your company do. Imitate the ones who are going somewhere with their lives. Identify the very best salespeople in your field, identify their work pattern and try to do as much as they’re doing.
If you want to become one of the best salespeople in your company, go to the top earners and ask them for advice. Ask them what you should do to improve your sales career. Inquire about their attitudes, life perspectives, philosophies and approaches to their work and their customers.
7. Ask questions, don’t jump into your presentation
Go to every meeting and presentation with the thought that nobody actually cares about how great you are. They probably care about how much you care about their needs, maybe even about how great you think they might be as a partner.
Forget about trying to "sell" your product or service and focus instead on why your prospect would need to buy from you. To do this, you need to get fascinated by your prospect’s story; you need to ask a lot of questions without seeming to have a hidden agenda or ambiguous motives.
Many of my work mates have told me that they had to learn this the hard way. They remember how even though they went highly prepared to their meetings, having gathered all the necessary data on their leads and carrying an appealing presentation, they still couldn’t close any sale.
Why was this happening? Well because they were trying to make a sale. And what’s so wrong about that, you’re asking? Well if that’s your purpose, then you’d better rethink your strategy because you’re primary goal should be uncovering you potential client’s needs, not just selling your product or service.
8. Listen and don’t talk too much
Needless to say that one of the most important qualities a salesperson should have is being a good listener and being patient.
After introducing yourself and telling your prospect the purpose of your visit (or phone call), you shouldn’t just start to ramble on about your product or service. After all, at this point, what could you possibly talk about? You have no idea if what you're offering is of any use to your prospect… Remember? The goal is not to sell, but to meet a client’s need.
So repeat this to yourself:
- don't talk about yourself
- don't talk about your products or services
- don't start reciting your product presentation
9. Take care of your body and your mind
You need high levels of energy to sell effectively and to be able to bounce back from continual rejection and discouragement. It’s true that especially for a salesperson, eating healthy could be pretty tough because they’re most of the time on the road, but you need to do the best you can.
Be sure to have a healthy diet, get into a fitness or exercise plan to produce those much needed endorphins and get plenty of rest.
And just as you take care of your body, you need to take care of your mind and soul. Keep a positive mindset and try remind yourself that every rejection is actually a learning experience and should not be taken personally. Don’t resign yourself to the disappointment of not being able to change a certain situation.
Have faith that things are going to get better by having a different approach and by constantly trying.
Summing it up, here are some of the mantras we’ve learned to live by during the years we’ve been active:
- Always tell the truth, even if it’s bad news, it’s better than to postpone
- Develop a high level of integrity
- Learn to be a good businessperson, not just a good salesperson
- Be professional in your style, speech and follow-up
- Listen to the customer and figure out what’s best for them
- Create win/win relationships with our partners
- Look out for each other, share information with your work mates
- Don't take yourself too seriously
- Have fun and keep a positive attitude
As you can see, there’s no foolproof technique for earning a sale, but a few simple approach methods on both your life and the way you interact with people.