Here are a handful of tools, tips, and habits to show you how to improve sales and start closing deals
Do you know how to improve sales? It seems like an elementary question, but it is sometimes easier said than done. The greatest inventions in the world would have never been known if it weren’t for effective marketing and selling. Products and services that people use must be sold to people.
Selling is not excluded from just products and services either. Think about it. the sales process hits us at a very young age. Parents start to sell their children the importance of a clean room, and children sell their parents on letting their best friend camp over for the night. A boss sells the importance of working overtime, and an employee sells the idea of improving a company policy.
Humanity is a collective of salespeople. Our sales team is broad. Check out this sales pipeline and template. Imagine a brand new neighborhood that is about to break ground. The builder starts with a marketing plan. Then you have the new product, the house. The marketing strategy is the entire neighborhood, but the ideal customer is each and every homeowner buying into the same idea. The idea is that this neighborhood is amazing. Imagine the first person to buy a lot and move into the first home. They are an existing customer. They eagerly await the new customer, the next potential homeowner. If they like them, they want them to buy the house next door. The sales pitch now transfers from the builder’s original sales strategies down to the sales rep in the office and shifts to the first homeowner.
Everyone has a goal, and they are always learning how to improve sales. It may be a subconscious effort, but it happens nonetheless. They want their house to look great, they want a safe neighborhood, and the more quality customers buy in, the more quickly everyone reaches their goal. Now take this further, the neighborhood HOA has a perfect captive target audience. They sell us on grass, trees, and landscaping. Our neighbor sells us on the idea of pavers in our landscaping project. Our spouse sells us on hiring a gardener, the gardener sells us on fertilizer, and the sales cycle goes on. Sure the sales goal is to live in a gorgeous neighborhood, but the methodology is the same as any other genre of sales. The more the conversion rate sits in their favor, the better. Metrics go up, ie, home equity, and the customer base grow as you begin to grow more “team members” or neighbors to buy into the idea that the community is high-quality and, believe it or not, you are all sales professionals.
A sales career should be looked at as an optimized version of this very basic sales channel. You have something that you know will benefit others. They don’t understand that they need it, and it is solely up to you to convince them. Sounds easy enough, right?
Effective selling contributes to personal fulfillment and professional productivity. Here are a handful of tools, tips, and habits to show you how to improve sales:
1. Know what you are talking about.
This is also known as product knowledge. You are in big trouble if you are unsure about what your product or service offering is. You can’t expect a positive customer experience if you don’t research potential customers, understand what you are selling, and be prepared to convince them that your product rises above your competitor’s. Know everything there is to know about your product, service, or idea. Always be on the lookout for ways to improve your knowledge about your offering. Your sales performance is only a portion of the process. Deep dive into your product and your competition. Know what your shortcomings are, and be prepared to defend them. Nothing sells a product faster than being prepared.
2. Establish the right prospect targets.
Trying to sell meat to a vegan is unlikely. There is a reason cereal commercials aired on programs with a kid audience. Find out who your best prospects are for your product and service. Ask for a referral from friends, family, and current customers. Their testimonials are very helpful to get a foot in the door. This is a great way to ensure that you are meeting your prospective customer’s needs. Your marketing campaigns need to be precise. Create lists of the organizations, companies, and people that fit your target. Collect email lists, and use your own social media accounts to advertise. Follow your competition online. Those accounts are excellent resources to not only sell your product but to learn about your competition. Make the best use of your time and energy by focusing on your primary targets.
“Paralyze resistance with persistence.” – Woody Hayes.
3. Set your goals.
Earl Nightingale said, “To achieve happiness, we should make certain that we are never without an important goal.” Written goals help to focus the mind and provide personal motivation. When you are developing your written list, be sure to set timelines for yourself. This will help to hold you accountable for achieving them and provide space for you to celebrate your goals throughout the process. You might have a goal to make three sales calls to new prospects per day. You might have a goal to close one sale per week or to close 75 in a year. Your goal might be to earn $100,000 dollars. Set your goals, review them often, and evaluate your progress. Look to mentors in your field and follow them on social media platforms. Add them to Twitter and Linkedin. Watching them will serve as an inspiration for you to keep going.
4. Be organized.
If you show up to a sales appointment late and unprepared, you can almost guarantee to waste your time and your prospect’s time. Being unorganized communicates incompetence and withers credibility. Clutter is demotivating. Make sure your work area is clean and tidy. This will incentivize you to prioritize the organization of your work in general. Preparedness increases sales. Think about how much revenue is lost because of poor time management and disorganization. Give yourself a buffer of time between appointments to document the tasks discussed. Set them on your calendar and add reminders for follow-through. This will automatically reflect your professionalism to your prospect. Don’t, however, wait to be perfectly prepared because that rarely happens.
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.” – Abraham Lincoln.
5. Understand pain and pleasure.
The two most powerful motivators are pain and pleasure. People go to great lengths to avoid pain and to experience pleasure. How does your product or service solve a problem? What is the pain people experience by not using your product? How does your offering improve their life? Nothing shows you how to improve sales faster than realizing that you lost a deal because of something you could have done differently. We tend to buy products and services that we believe will lead to less suffering and more happiness. Your call to action should alleviate their pain points and have a sustainable solution. Albert Einstein correctly said, “We all try to escape pain and death while we seek what is pleasant.”
6. Close the sale.
Successful selling involves asking for the business and maintaining a relationship. You must ask for the sale in the form of a close. If your prospecting and qualifying are effective, the prospect will probably close for you. You might have to close more than once to make the sale. Once you close, you must follow up. Make sure to touch base and hit up those business owners and clients throughout the year. Their first-hand case studies of your sales skills are invaluable. These interactions provide an opportunity to upsell to them again and to hear their pain points to see where you or your product needs to improve.
Now is the time to use some of these tools, tips, and habits to increase your sales. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t close every deal. Bombing a few sales calls is inevitable.
Keep honing your sales pitch and reviewing these 6 tips for how to improve sales, and you will begin to make progress.
Best of success to you!