22 Steps to Becoming a Better Salesperson
A post from our Sales blog
Written by John Boddington
Everyone who's involved in sales wants to increase their conversion rates, that's a given. But not many of those will actually take the necessary steps to make that happen. This gives you a perfect opportunity to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack – the following steps will get you there as you make the effort to implement them.
1. Develop a critical mind
Challenge everything and question your strategies, even if you're performing well and your numbers are solid. Never let your mind rest on your laurels, but keep on challenging your sales process on a consistent basis.
2. Become adaptable to any situation
The best salespeople in the business don't just rely on a script and let fate take over the rest. No, they tweak and adapt according to what the situation asks from them. If your lead throws you a curveball, you better be prepared to deal with it.
3. Work incredibly hard
Say goodbye to the snooze button, keep those HBO series for a lazy Sunday and that's it. To become a better salesperson, you're going to need to roll up your sleeves and put in a little elbow grease. You get the idea.
4. Be disciplined
In addition to logging the hours it's important that your routine is built around strong discipline. Don't let distractions take you away from your goal. The water cooler is your enemy – don't stand and chat or gossip. Put your head down and do what's necessary to get results.
5. Develop your listening skills
Sales isn't just about what you say. Listening
is perhaps just as important. It creates the platform where you can build an actual relationship with your potential lead, rather than coming across like a slimy salesman. You'll have the opportunity to find out what the customer wants, tweaking the service offer to something that fits their specific needs.
6. Work on your first impression
We all know that in social situations, first impressions matter
. In sales, it's no different. If your lead gets a bad vibe from you right from the start, chances are they won't buy from you. Your pitch after that can be flawless and your product exactly what they need, but by then you're already too late.
7. Think About the Problem, Not the Product
Selling is all about showing the consumer how your solution will help their business, whether it's through fixing a very specific problem that cuts into the bottom line or by leveraging existing assets. Instead of focusing on the features of your product, think about why your offer fits your prospective customers.
8. Join a Mastermind Group
If you want to get anywhere in sales, we highly recommend a mastermind group where you can join likeminded individuals that want success just as much as you do. Learn from one another; keep the group accountable and set goals with specific targets. Meet up or chat on Skype on a regular basis to ensure everyone stays on track.
9. Welcome Complaints
Yes, you read that right. The right complaint can even signal the turnaround of your sales career, giving you the information you need to craft your tactics to perfection. Give others the opportunity to tell you where you've gone wrong, welcome feedback wherever possible and don't react badly if it's not what you want to hear. Instead, go back to the drawing board and return stronger and wiser.
10. Think business, not sales
The most successful salespeople don't get stuck in the nitty gritty, but instead focus on the business as a whole. When you pick up that phone, try and establish a relationship that can turn into something more than just a single sale. Think about the long term, not a quick buck.
11. Leverage current customers
Sales will always involve cold calling or getting in touch with people you don't know. However, it's not just that. You also need to use your current crop of clients to improve your numbers. Get your hands on their recommendations (through platforms such as LinkedIn or your website), get them to put you in touch with others, and offer new services or products to existing clients first.
12. Go beyond the call of duty
When you promise your customer something, always deliver. And then some. To get more business, always go the extra mile. This will lead to more sales through word of mouth and repeat business.
13. Think ROI
Whenever you're working, think about ROI at all times. Don't waste your time on tasks that can be delegated to someone else. If a customer gives you more trouble than they're worth, don't be afraid to let the sale go.
14. Say goodbye to ‘good enough'
The best in the business are never satisfied. When you've made a sale, always start thinking about the next one. Push yourself towards improvement and always ask the maximum out of your performances.
15. Use your failures
Many salespeople make the mistake of completely ignoring their failures. It's often done with good intentions, as the many "no" responses can be a real drag on your state of being. However, failures should be treated as lessons. See where you've gone wrong and why your lead decided to opt out of your offer. Tweak your tactics accordingly and next time you'll get a resounded "yes".
16. Turn selling into your passion
If it's not already, selling should become your passion and a big part of your being. When you're having a quiet moment in the middle of the evening, you should be thinking about how you're going to make that next sale. Don't treat it as a job, but as something you actually enjoy doing.
17. Be competitive
Many people see competition as a negative thing, but in sales it's an integral part of a successful team. The truth is that humans are incredibly competitive creatures by nature and as long as you don't get nasty, being competitive is a good quality. It keeps you on your toes, you won't get lazy, and your work will be driven by results.
18. Confidence is key
We're not saying you need to become brash and loud, just confident
. Be aware of your qualities and don't be shy about using them. Never get discouraged by negative feedback or a stacking up of rejections. Always remain confident of your qualities and keep your chin up, no matter what happens.
Salespeople are a persistent bunch, at least the successful ones. You're going to hear a "no" answer from leads more often than not. The sound of a phone being slammed down at the other end will become familiar. But that shouldn't stop you from calling your next prospect. Persistence is a key attribute that every single successful salesperson has – make sure you keep at it and don't ever stop chasing that sale.
20. Don't waste time on the firm "no"
21. Honesty beats hype
Many would-be salespeople make the mistake of hyping up their products or services. They promise things they can't deliver, which creates countless refund requests and never-ending queues on the customer service line. They tell customers that products can do things they simply can't just to make a sale. That's not the way to do it – honesty will actually help you in the long run, as customers will trust your opinion and advice.
22. Build your knowledge
You should know your company's product or service as well as anybody. If a customer asks you a very specific question about your product, you shouldn't need to put them on hold. The answer should flow naturally and confidently.
Combined, these steps are sure-fire ways to get you to the top of the sales food chain. But don't forget that it's going to take effort, awareness, and help from others. The path is clearly marked out, however, so it's up to you to make it happen.
Do you have any other tips you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!