Setting the background
It is widely accepted that convincing someone to shell out cash in order to purchase your product or service is one of the toughest skills to learn. People from all across the world spend a lot of money at B-Schools, at courses, at sessions taken by experts in order to learn this skill and this still doesn’t guarantee whether they will be able to become good salespeople themselves.
The thing about learning this skill is that hearing the experiences of someone who has successfully done it is way more effective than reading books or undergoing courses. The next step is to actually go out into the field and actually doing it. In this article, we get for you the first step, we share experiences of some of the most successful salesmen ever. It would then be up to you to take the leap and apply these principles in the field yourself.
So, let’s begin with these lessons.
Lesson one: Telling stories makes selling easier
Lee Odden, TopRank Online Marketing CEO
Because of how the human mind is built and how it is nurtured since childhood, stories are more relatable and easier to listen to. Imagine you are the head of purchasing at a company and sales representatives from many companies visit you on a daily basis. You are used to hearing the same functional information. “Hello, this is product XYZA. It is the best-selling product in the market. You know why? Because it offers the user….”. And this goes on and on.
Now in place of this enters another sales representative. He doesn’t try to sell the product. But, he starts narrating a story. He tells of how he was once in a very precarious situation having a lot of work pressure and having very little time to finish it. He then came across a product which offered him some services using which he was able to finish all of it in a very short span of time. This makes the story more relatable, doesn’t it? The purchase manager would have been able to imagine himself in the same situation and it would have become easier for him to take a positive call.
Telling stories increases your chances of making a sale.
Lesson two: Find the correct target customer
Samantha Stone, The Marketing Advisory Network Founder
This is the most intuitive lesson of all but you would be amazed to find that most people often keep selling to the wrong target group. It is very easy to understand that the product will be bought only by people who have a desire for it. As a result, it would be worthwhile to spend time and resources finding who these people are and where they reside?
In spite of this question having a very easy answer in the affirmative, once handed the product, people skip this step and directly move onto selling. They go everywhere, and this might or might not have a high probability of selling. What if they are not looking and selling in the correct place?
It is therefore suggested that salespeople identify the target customers and the target area first before heading over to the selling stage.
Lesson three: Learn from your mistakes
Jeff Shore, Shore Consulting President
This principle applies to all streams of professions and not particularly to sales itself. But any professional will tell you that this is the most important skill there is. Being able to learn from and then build on your mistakes is the most important skill one can learn and use.
The first step in this direction is to accept that making mistakes is inevitable. If you try avoiding that, you will not take risks which is the way to make it big in any profession.
Lesson four: You choose your clients
Colleen Francis, Engage Selling Solutions Founder
As much as the clients finding the right partner for themselves, it is up to you to find the correct partner client. If you try to serve anybody and everybody that comes to your doorstep, you might end up changing the very basics of what you stand for and why you built the business in the first place.
As a result, find the client that is the correct fit for you so that you would be able to serve them completely and fully.
Lesson five: Create trust by helping your customers first
Michael Brenner, Marketing Insider Group CEO
Happy clients are the best promoters of your business. It is natural for you to chase new potential customers and engage in self-promotion paying less or little heed to what your existing customers want and need. If you as a business spend more on engaging and helping your existing customers, the budget you would be required to spend on marketing campaigns would be reduced drastically.
We are by no means saying that you should not indulge in self-promotion. We are only saying that resources should be spent on engaging existing customers because businesses can tend to forget existing customers.
Lesson six: Go ahead, start out now
Matt Heinz, Heinz Marketing Founder
If you keep waiting for the correct time and the correct opportunity, it would never come. All parameters would not align perfectly for you ever. It is better to dip your feet into the water and then experience what starting out is like rather than sitting at the drawing board and keep thinking what it would be like.
Experiences are the best teachers and you should go ahead and improvise upon what you have learnt.
Lesson seven: Have short-term goals
Chris Snell, ezCater Head of Partnership Sales
Short term goals are easy to visualize and give you a path, a direction to achieve your eventual target. If you just focus on the long-term only, you might end up losing your way or losing motivation somewhere in the middle.
So, have a checklist and keep ticking each entry out until you complete each and every one of the subtasks to complete the eventual task fully.
Lesson eight: Work hard even to convert good referrals
John Barrows, John Barrows Sales Training & Selling Techniques Owner
We have often seen that once you get good referrals, you tend to get a little complacent and do not prepare as hard as you generally would. This leads to lesser conversion rates for clients which should ideally have been easier for you to convert.
The suggestion is that you work equally hard to convert each and every lead that comes your way no matter the source. Don’t take it easy if you have gotten a very good referral.
Lesson nine: Don’t take shortcuts
Doug Kessler, Velocity Partners Co-Founder and Creative Director
In order to reach success, you often end up skipping all steps and avoid putting in the hard yards. Your client can gauge whether you have actually worked hard on the task or not.
Hard work always pays and even if you don’t find how it works for you in the short run, you would find that it will help you some way down the road.
Lesson ten: Numbers don’t lie
Matt Bertuzzi, The Bridge Group, Inc. Sales and Operations
In order to understand what is really happening in the business and with your clients, you need to understand what the numbers behind the business are saying. No matter where you feel your business is heading, no matter what your gut feeling is, you should always look at the numbers to understand what the truth is.
So, in case you are not very comfortable with numbers, it is suggested that you work on this skill to make the most out of the power of numbers and what they might tell you.
We hope you would learn something from each of the lessons given by experts above. We do not guarantee that just reading these would help you go out and sell your product. But if you go out and practically apply each and every principle suggested above by sales experts, we are pretty sure you would improve your chances of selling and becoming a better salesperson in the long run.