So you’ve mastered the fundamentals of selling (see our previous blog post), but every day on the job remains difficult.
Congratulations, you’re now a salesperson!
Now, how can you take your sales game to the next level and consistently outperform your quota? There are simple strategies you can implement to help you keep up with the industry and make the most of your time with customers.
1. Effective Time Management
It’s no secret that time is money in sales. As a result, treat calendar blocks as the commodities that they are.
A salesperson’s life can feel like a juggling act with a dozen balls in the air. Prioritizing your time and making the most of every hour of the day is an important sales strategy.
To be a great salesperson, your calendar should be the first thing you look at in the morning, the last thing you look at before bed, and something you’re constantly aware of in the hours in between.
Getting caught up in a conversation with a customer is a major time drain for salespeople. While it is critical to connecting with customers on a personal and friendly level, you must also know when to cut to the chase.
When the conversation deviates too far from business, you can politely suggest a future time to return to the personal side of the conversation. This allows you to meet your next customer at the agreed-upon time and maintain a friendly demeanor while your sales pitch moves forward.
Spend more time closing deals that will generate more revenue. This is not to say that you should ignore clients who are willing to spend less money, but it is important to prioritize your client list and make the best use of your time.
It is also critical to use the proper tools to organize your schedule. This leads us to our next point…
2. Make Use of the Appropriate Technology
Any customer information a salesperson requires is now just a few clicks away, thanks to mobile devices. Using these cutting-edge tools designed specifically for your needs is the best sales strategy.
You can take advantage of some of the most advanced sales-enabling technology in the world by using the right resources to keep your day organized, your customers happy, and all relevant information accessible at a moment’s notice.
Digital calendars and appointment scheduling software can help you organize your days. It’s also useful for matching your schedule to the schedules of your customers. Industry favorites include Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar, while Calendly integration allows prospects to schedule meetings on whatever days and times work best for them.
For outside sales tips, one of the most time-consuming aspects of their day is time spent behind the wheel. Using the right technology to optimize your routes will save you time and money on gas and vehicle wear and tear. Badger Maps is an excellent all-in-one tool for on-the-go route optimization and visualization features, customer check-ins, and lead optimization. There is no better time-saver for traveling salespeople.
Prospecting new clients are critical, and it has never been easier thanks to technological advances. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the way to go for prospecting tools. It’s ideal for finding ideal potential customers because it gives salespeople access to relevant information about their prospects in advance of important meetings.
Using the right CRM is also important, but which CRM your company uses is sometimes beyond your control. While Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are the industry’s two largest CRMs, there are a plethora of great options designed specifically to help you sell more.
3. Recognize Your Prospect’s Role
There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” approach to sales. Sometimes the person you’re speaking with isn’t the one who has the purchasing power. Sometimes the person you’re speaking with is the CEO, and she’s expecting you to impress her with your sales pitch. And, every now and then, your customer is a regular Joe who is looking for a good reason to spend his hard-earned money.
Do your homework before each customer interaction to understand not only who you’ll be speaking with, but also where they fall within their company’s hierarchy, if applicable.
It all comes down to planning. It makes no sense to speak with a sales representative about something that should be handled by their manager. It’s also pointless to talk to your retired next-door neighbor about B2B software if they have no need for it.
A salesperson’s success or failure is determined by the quality of his or her prospecting. You must understand who you are dealing with and how your product can positively impact their life.
It also has an impact on how you should approach the prospective customer. Speaking their language is critical for customer connection. When dealing with different personas, you must know the lingo and use the proper vernacular.
The use of appropriate language fosters credibility and is a quick way to gain the customer’s trust.
4. In sales, never stop prospecting; there is no such thing as resting on your laurels.
In this line of work, complacency is never rewarded. It is critical to always have a new business on the horizon in order to enjoy continued success as a salesperson. The only way to accomplish this is to prospect on a regular basis.
Always be on the lookout for new business opportunities, whether they come from customer referrals or your own prospecting research. You can more effectively find and connect with those in need of your product if you identify and understand who your customers are.
Prospecting technology is one of the most effective ways to find prospects. The internet is a goldmine of customer information. One of the best sales prospecting tips, as mentioned above, is to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator, a fantastic prospecting tool that can provide you with a goldmine of business opportunities.
There’s also the old-fashioned method. Cold calling and emails are still effective ways to connect with prospects while also demonstrating your willingness to put in the effort to close the deal.
Again, think about who you’re reaching out to. When prospecting other businesses, it’s often better to aim higher in any organization, because decision-makers are more willing and able to buy if they believe your product can help them in some way. By aiming too low, the process may pass through too many hands, causing the transaction to stall indefinitely.
Your pipeline should never be empty — spend time each day reaching out to potential leads to ensure that you’re never short on new business prospects.
5. Improve Your Objection Handling
Remember how we talked about how rejection is a big part of sales earlier?
You can turn some of those rejections into wins with experience, handling objections, and a little know-how. It only takes the right approach to any concerns your clients may have.
This comes down to product knowledge and understanding the ins and outs of your product — the good and the bad.
Consider your sales strategy to be a game of chess. Always think three steps ahead of your customers and anticipate their moves, both good and bad. Countering these concerns and steering the conversation becomes second nature if you have a plan in place for every potential objection.
Don’t wait for prospects to express concerns. Bring them up first to clear the way for the roadblock. That way, you own the objection while also demonstrating that you are someone the client can rely on to see things from their point of view. Preparing ahead of time to understand your customer will help you anticipate any objections they may have.
For example, if price objections are a frequent stumbling block, a good response is: “A lot of people ask about pricing, and that’s always an important thing to talk about.” This allows you to show why the value gained from your product outweighs any price paid for it.
By skillfully handling any objection, the final detail holding the customer back can become the deciding factor in the sale.
6. Use Empathy to Make a Connection
If a customer does not trust you, he or she is unlikely to purchase your product.
Nobody wants to feel manipulated into buying something by someone who is only interested in their money. That is why it is critical to connecting with customers in a meaningful and human way, rather than simply speaking with them.
Empathy is one of the key characteristics that distinguish good salespeople from great salespeople.
Sales empathy entails getting to know your customers as if they were friends and tailoring your message to this person’s specific personality type and unique problems. It entails genuinely wanting to assist them and cooperating to make that happen.
The ability to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and guide them through the buying process is critical for building trust and loyalty. The longer and happier a customer relationship is, the more fruitful it can be for both parties involved.
This is a difficult skill to teach, but it is possible to strengthen it within yourself like a muscle. All it takes is some physical activity. When interacting with customers, forget about the money; instead, imagine you’re two friends, one of whom has a problem that needs to be solved and the other who has a solution.
At the end of the day, you became a salesperson because you enjoy interacting and connecting with others. Now is the time to use these bonds to do more than just meet your quota; now is the time to spread a little goodness in the world.
7. Prioritize quality over quantity.
Many people are perplexed when looking for closing sales tips: isn’t it better to have more customers rather than fewer?
What is the solution? It is conditional.
Having too many balls in the air during the sales juggling act can be overwhelming and confusing. Not only can it become too much to handle, but each customer’s experience suffers as you become too bogged down by a roster of customers that is simply too large.
It’s tempting to try to make as many sales as possible as quickly as possible in order to impress your managers and feel like you’ve performed well.
What’s the issue? This can quickly lead to burnout, as well as falling short of the sales numbers you were hoping for.
Instead, concentrate on acquiring more high-quality customers who can be counted on for consistent, stable, and dependable business. Organize your days so that these customers receive the majority of your attention.
Having the time and energy to engage with your most profitable customers will provide you with a solid foundation for meeting your quota month after month, while also allowing you the freedom to gradually branch out and expand your client base toward other high-quality customers without feeling rushed.
Finally, selling is a marathon, not a sprint. By nurturing your best customers and giving them your undivided attention, your calendar will be less crowded, you won’t be constantly rushing around town in a panic, and you’ll forge bonds that will make exceeding your quota easier than ever.
8. Maintain Consistency and Integrity
It’s critical that each of your customers receives the same high-quality pitch for your product, and that your sales game is consistent throughout each interaction.
Your pitch will become nearly effortless if you ensure that your sales interactions are consistent and delivered in a manner that demonstrates discipline and dedication to your craft.
Like most other occupations, sometimes it’s just plain hard work that gets you the most places. At every turn, you will face fierce competition. Your bosses will be looking for results month after month. Put in the effort, and everything else will fall into place.
If you tell a customer you’ll be there at a certain time, make sure you show up on time. If you tell a customer that a feature will solve a problem, you must tell the truth. If you lose a customer’s trust, it’s gone forever. It’s a difficult thing to earn back.
If you believe something in your pitch needs to be tweaked, don’t put it off until later. The great thing about sales is that you have numerous opportunities to try out new approaches. Experiment with clients to see what works and what doesn’t, and then refine your pitch for maximum impact.
There is no secret weapon that will instantly propel you to the top of your sales class. As much as the most cutting-edge sales-enabling technologies and tactics can help you close deals, nothing beats good old-fashioned hard work to give you a real advantage over your competitors and sell your product.
9. Use a Measurable, Repeatable Sales Process
Metrics are a salesperson’s best friend when used correctly.
You can track the effectiveness of your pitch with customers by using a repeatable sales process. Then you can keep an eye on your numbers and see how each minor adjustment to your process affects the big picture.
Understanding the flow and fluctuations of your numbers will help you determine how successful your customer interactions are and whether you should stay the course or make changes to your process.
Determine which KPIs are most important in your specific selling situation and keep an eye on them as you go. If the metrics that are most important to you aren’t quite where you want them to be, make significant changes with the explicit goal of raising these numbers. If your statistics drop dramatically, you’ll have a wealth of information to determine how and why this happened, as well as what you can do to fix it.
The best salespeople have a foundational process that they use every time they interact with a customer, but they also understand that these processes must evolve from time to time in order to remain competitive.
By approaching your own sales strategy and process almost as a scientific experiment, you can learn what is truly the most effective approach with customers and fine-tune your process to maximize your performance month after month.
10. Look for Referrals
Despite technological advances over the past few decades, one thing hasn’t changed: word of mouth is still the best, most dependable way to reach new customers and earn their business.
When a customer refers you to a prospect, they are making an instant and trusting connection that money cannot buy. It is now easier than ever to connect with and acquire a new customer.
Nothing piques a prospective customer’s interest more than positive feedback about a product that could benefit them from a peer they respect. Why shouldn’t it work for them if it worked for someone else? Referrals are essential for growing a client base because your clients do the work for you.
Not only is it the most effective form of prospecting and advertising, but it is also free!
What are the best strategies for converting your best customers into referral machines? Examine your client list and consider the following:
- The duration of your relationship
- Overall customer satisfaction with your product or service
- Communication frequency between you and the customer
- How attentive is the customer?
Approach your best customers and ask them if they would mind referring you to people they know who could benefit from your product.
LinkedIn is also a great resource for learning about your customers’ connections and then pursuing those connections with a referral from your customer.
If you can persuade your customers to feel so strongly about your product that they will help you sell it to their friends, family, and coworkers, you will not only expand your client base, but your customer will also feel a personal investment in your product. They’re supporters, and their dedication and enthusiasm can pay off handsomely.
When it comes to sales, there is no finish line.
Sale is a continuous process that requires you to evolve in order to stay competitive, whether you’re just starting out or have been doing it for decades. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, changes in the industry forces you to adapt.
By viewing sales as a never-ending evolution of your own process, you can not only survive but also thrive in one of the world’s most competitive and exciting industries.