Sales is not an easy job, and, although I am not a salesperson, I know what I am talking about. I have worked hand in hand with top sales managers in the most competitive industries. A quite challenging experience.
In those days, I helped them to design effective strategies to connect with their leads and guide them through the sales funnel until they could close the deal.
Now, I work with my cofounder, a veteran salesperson, and help B2B companies to get more qualified leads and effectively close deals.
Currently, we are facing difficult times with trade wars, economic instability… Many salespeople are afraid of this situation, because it may affect their sales deals and performance.
Therefore, sales professionals have one of the highest churn-rate among all based on the chart below :
Two sales skills every salesperson must master
Well, our goal is to help those salespeople who are afraid of the future. Based on our experience, we will give a valuable tip to help them to sell more despite the current instability. Here we go:
Invest in yourself.
That´s all. Yes, we are not joking at all.
It seems obvious, and you have probably heard it. But it is completely true, your success depends on how you invest in yourself.
After 15 years of working with top sales managers and working in marketing, we found two key areas. If you master these skills, you will become a successful salesperson:
1. Salespeople must master their communication skills
“One easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now at least is to hone your communication skills — both written and verbal.”Warren Buffet
Where should you start? Your sales pitch!
You need to able to communicate the value of your product effectively. The best salespeople we met are good communicators. To be good at communication you need a bit of practice. Here you have some recommendations:
Study print ads.
Choose and collect the good ones that make you buy the product and learn from them. How can they sell anything in just a tiny piece of paper?
Hone your skills in writing.
Write your sales pitch. By writing your thoughts you can review your speech and improve it. Follow these considerations when you write your sales speech:
- Be clear and point out one idea that the listener can understand and follow easily
- Keep it simple and avoid jargon. Use the language your listener use
- Be concise, just include the information you think it is useful to solve your client’s problem
- Write/speak like a human and transfer a clear emotion of certainty
- Tell a story, with a beginning, normally your client’s pain point and a happy ending, the solution you offer. Use metaphors that will help your client to visualize the solution.
- Practice your speech. Record yourself and pay attention to your body language. You need to be confident and persuasive. It is what you don´t say that counts.
As Amy Cuddy advises, you must fake it till you make it. It doesn´t mean you have to lie; it means that most people don´t feel comfortable speaking in public or giving presentations. Salespeople need to overcome these fears and feel confident. So, fake it till you make it real.
2. Salespeople must commit to continuous training
Sales is a life-long learning journey and there are three key areas you need to master:
Build fluent product knowledge
Salespeople should know their product perfectly, and it is not the case in many companies.
In order to gain this knowledge, it is necessary to connect with other departments and managers. You will need a lot of social skills when you look for assistance.
Both parties must consider this exchange of information as a win to win cooperation. Sharing information and getting support from other departments will help salespeople to sell the product better. And, at the same time, they can also help other departments.
For example, the marketing messages will be more effective or product managers can get first-hand information about customer feedback.
So, study and become a product expert and do not try to sell something that you wouldn’t buy yourself.
Salespeople must be a source of market information
This part is crucial, the more you know about the market in which you are going to work, the lower the probability of running risks. At the same time, you will gain authority among your clients and people will listen to you.
Study your competitors and their products and check their customers’ feedback and reviews. You will learn a lot from these. You will identify new applications, pain points or new opportunities. You can also study why they are successful and try to get some good ideas.
“The surest way to achieve success is to model someone who is already successful.”Tony Robbins
Read articles, research papers, reports, attend seminars, conferences, tradeshows, relevant networking events related to your industry … You will always find out new information or learn a new way of doing things.
With all these methods, there is no excuse for not knowing your market. Research is the strong foundation of success.
Learn from your customers
Let’s focus on your current clients. People who are already using your products. You need to know more about them.
Why don’t you invite them to have lunch at the beginning of the year and listen to them?
It sounds simple, right? But forget about selling to them. You just want to have a chat, improve the relationship and, finally, you will probably learn a lot about their businesses, their problems, their projects and goals for the year.
Practice active listening, build rapport for a productive, working relationship and focus on how you can help them instead of how you can sell them.
Trust requires time. Once you gain their trust the closing will be much easier and faster, because you will spend less time overcoming objections.
At the same time, you will get very valuable feedback about your product that may help to improve your current offer.
Finally, you also must build a network in your client´s organization and meet the decision makers, the C- Suite and the CEOs. They have the money to purchase the product and they will make the final decision.
You need to adapt your sales speech to the decision makers and offer a reliable and easy to implement solution that can save time, money and resources to the company.
How to Sell More in Tough Times: Invest in yourself
In conclusion, remember, you cannot spend the whole time selling! Almost everything that works on sales has been already invented, so relax, you don’t need to create anything new from scratch. Sometimes you need to stop and listen to people and learn.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Invest in yourself! Please, keep this quote in mind, it will help you a lot during the difficult times:
“ The quality of your thinking will determine the quality of your sales career. ”Brian Tracy
What about your thoughts? Do you have other suggestions or pieces of advice? Share them with us, you will help other salespeople as well.
P.S. Before you go, you may also be interested in the following articles:
POST WRITTEN BY
A Madrid Polytechnic University International MBA has worked as global marketing director in B2B and B2C international leading companies implementing global marketing and communication strategies to ensure business objectives and to optimize brands’ reputation and visibility on a global level.
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