Sales professionals have many work methods for making the sale, from cold calling to direct response marketing. While some sales people focus on making the numbers, others concentrate on long-term relationship building. No two sales pros use the exact same approach, however there are some common elements that the “big dogs” have learned after years of struggling to hone their craft.
A recent Forbes article talked about how top sales people make the deals that we can all learn from. Here is what we learned about the secrets the pros use to make the sale and become better sales people.
Seek out the perfect client. Before you launch into a massive cold calling campaign, take a look at the people you are targeting. Ask yourself if these folks fit into your perfect client profile or not. You’ll end up with better results if you focus on working with people who are actually interested in your product or service, versus trying to force prospects into accepting your sales pitch. Narrow your calling list to those prospects first to be more efficient with your time.
Reach out the right way. When deciding to contact prospects to talk about your offerings, consider how these folks communicate and where they prefer to gather information. For example, if you are reaching out to business owners, who have very demanding time schedules, try email and follow up with a quick phone call at a less busy time. If you encounter uninterested people by phone and email, perhaps a personal visit is in order to bridge the communication gap?
Listen rather than talk. The best sales pros understand that being an effective listener is key to garnering the most sales. According to the Forbes article, “Remember to talk only 20% of the time, and listen the other 80%”. Additionally, don’t throw all your sales pitches at the prospect until you really hear what the person needs. Learn to listen between the lines and identify new sales opportunities. While you may not make a sale on the first try, you can use this information to make a follow-up call and land a sale next time.
Walk away from “bad fits”. One of the hardest lessons that any new sales person has to learn is the stress of dealing with a client who is not a good fit for a specific product or service. By forcing a sale, this can happen very easily, causing the client to become frustrated and creating a negative situation for all. Instead of focusing on just making a sale, focus on the actual needs of the prospect to determine if this is the right fit for your sales efforts and for the prospect long term. Sales is about developing relationships, not grabbing a quick sale and moving on.
Learn from rejections. Every sales professional gets rejected at some point in his or her career. Most of these rejections are minor and sometimes they occur on major campaigns. The secret to overcoming a rejection is asking the prospect what he or she is looking for and how you can best help? This creates a positive dialogue that can open up the door to more opportunities. By allowing the prospect to communicate, then providing solutions, you can oftentimes find unexpected sales gold. If you still get a “no”, be courteous and leave with a positive impression because you will be thought highly of and may end up getting called later for a great sale or referral.
Follow up is critical. The final secret to effective salesmanship is conducting follow up’s the right way. This can take practice, but it’s always a good idea to conduct a follow up with every contact, starting with your most valuable customers and working your way down your warmest prospects. By focusing on your customers, you can use the follow up process to ask for referrals and more business. Then use your follow ups with prospects to continue to develop friendly relationships with future customers.
Want to learn how to be a more effective sales person using tried and true techniques? Consider all the advantages of attending an upcoming Dale Carnegie seminar Sales Success featuring Jeffrey Gitomer…coming in March 2012! Get registered now before this exciting event fills up.