Salespeople are no strangers to daily cold calls, emails, presentations and client meetings. These rituals have been fully ingrained by doing all of these things in practice during company training and sales conferences. The rules and mechanics are mostly universal, but the execution differs from person to person, garnering different results.
Gaining a winning sales strategy is not a birthright, it is a skill. It’s what salespeople do beyond selling that makes a difference in closing a deal. It’s the fixed behaviors and established routines of a salesperson that lay the foundation of their successful work ethic and business strategy.
A University College London study reported, “It takes 66 days on average for a person to get accustomed to a new habit.” Keep this in mind before acquiring habits that drive sales performance. Establishing a routine will take time, but once it’s implemented, it will become your reliable strategy for how to win in sales. Consider the following habits:
Set goals and monitor them
People tend to feel higher motivation when they have goals to meet and see results once those are achieved. Treat your sales goals as a commitment to yourself, as that will help you strive harder to not break them.
Whatever the goals may be–making a certain number of calls per day, sending a certain amount of emails, following up with certain contacts, it’s important to monitor whether goals are being met so you can track progress, providing a tangible glimpse at your daily routine.
Study the product extensively
You can’t sell a product if you don’t know how it works, so study the product extensively. Know it inside and out–everything from its flaws to knowing how competing products compare. It’s imperative to believe in the capacity of the product and how it will provide solutions to real-life problems and improve the customer’s well-being.
Ask questions before making a proposal
Customers are empowered, but often guarded consumers. Express that you’re after their best interests through effective listening, which involves:
Once you have enough information and understand what the customer needs, it’s easier to come up with questions specific to their situation, helping them feel like they’re experiencing more of a personal interaction rather than something that’s scripted.
Absorb the customers’ thoughts and feelings
Be empathetic. If your prospect is resistant to your proposal, don’t pressure them. Put yourself in their position and try to predict what they’d like to hear, which requires paying attention to what they’re saying and not being dismissive.
Uphold integrity and honesty in every sale
Be honest about the product and never boast. Customers don’t want to hear the best things about your product or your company, they’ll tune you out. Just focus on the product or service and the benefits that it provides that makes it worthy of a sale.
Promises are great devices of persuasion, but they can also backfire, resulting in unsatisfied customers.
Use promises to your advantage by adhering to an old business truism: under promise and over deliver, always delight and surprise. For example, promise five-day delivery and beat expectations with two-day delivery. Know what’s within your limits and if you can exceed the possibilities, then that’s the best case scenario.
Be present online
It’s important to be as accessible as possible, within reason of course, there is work/life balance to consider. However, creating a professional profile on LinkedIn, for example, will help increase your credibility as a sales rep that states your credentials, your achievements and create a corridor to your content, whether it’s in the form of blogs, reviews or information about your company and products.
Get in the habit of checking your social media profiles at least once a day to keep up with alerts and new contact requests as well as uploading new content to keep your contacts engaged.
Join LinkedIn groups
Speaking of LinkedIn, everyone in the sales business should be on LinkedIn–it’s a great way to network, post updates and keep up with the industry. One way to maximize your presence on LinkedIn is to join LinkedIn groups.
LinkedIn groups help you meet professionals in your field and exchange ideas with them. Keep up on the group’s activity from week to week and provide regular input to let other group members become more familiar with you.
Note: Joining a LinkedIn group is not an excuse to spam people or promote your product. It’s only an opportunity to make yourself known and attract prospects organically.
If you insist on using LinkedIn as a way to correspond, use LinkedIn messaging as a way to grab the attention of your clients. Emailed messages tend to get lost in the shuffle on any given day. LinkedIn messages are more personal and tend to get noticed more quickly if people are keeping up with their notifications.
Ask for new prospects and referrals
If you see that it’s not likely you’ll close a sale, take the opportunity to ask your prospect if they know anyone who actually would be interested in your product or service at this time. This will help ensure you’re still making the most of your time and energy on the call. The next best thing to closing a deal is getting a lead.
Conquer one territory at a time
Make a map or grid of your territory by day and stick to planning appointments and making calls within that area. You can leverage a CRM to run call lists by geography-based attributes, helping you stay organized and cover more ground.
Sure, sending a canned message in the form of a template makes life easier for everyone, but prospects can see right through the generic nature of it. Before making calls or sending emails, try to customize your messages by sprinkling in personal touches to make them sound more authentic and inviting.
These days, most people don’t answer their phones, giving you an opportunity to leave an uninterrupted voicemail that’s compelling and detailed. Treat it like a performance–write a script, especially if you’re reaching out to a prospect and want to make the perfect first impression.
There’s nothing wrong with composing your message beforehand and practicing before recording it, this way, you can avoid stumbling over your words and sounding like you’re reading a script once you hear the beep. You want to sound as authentic as possible.
Use dual monitors
You’d be surprised how much having that extra monitor helps, especially if you’re someone who tends to have over 40 tabs open at once. You can be writing an email on one screen while looking up your prospect’s information on the other, preventing various problems such as split screen, switching tabs and errors with clicking.
Keep a huge “Rolodex”
As you accumulate a list of clients throughout your sales career, organize this data in a directory that’s always easily accessible during calls or important meetings.
Upload all of the information onto a spreadsheet or CRM system and make a habit to do it each time you receive a business card or any other forms of contact.
Much like the way advertisements in print, commercials and other types of media leverage the power of a narrative to move a person, salespeople should use the same technique.
The beginning of the sales conversation should focus on personalizing the needs of the customers, getting them more invested in the story and the outcome. This is also an opportunity to share case studies or the stories of other clients. Ask other customers if you may quote them or use their testimonials as a way to share their experience with others.
You can also add these to your website, email signature or other marketing materials.
Research customers before making a call
Having more information about a prospect can better prepare you for a call or compose the right kind of message. Check out their LinkedIn profiles, Twitter or Facebook accounts to get ideas on how to best engage your prospect.
Ask for feedback
You should always strive to improve as a sales rep so don’t be afraid to ask for the opinion of others during sales calls, in meetings, or in correspondences with clients. Ask them for their honest assessment of their experience with you. This will help strengthen the trust between you and the client. Any feedback is constructive, whether good or bad.
Present something new during follow-ups
Following up with clients is standard procedure and crucial to solidifying a deal. But you can also add value to your follow-up by presenting your clients with something new such as a case study, deeper insight into their company’s needs, expert advice, etc.
Remember special occasions
In an effort to nurture a relationship with your clients, go the extra mile to make them feel special and cared for by acknowledging them on special occasions such as their birthdays, the anniversary of the day you decided to do business together, or thanking them for sending a referral your way. Send them a gift card, an edible arrangement or a certificate to the movies, something that expresses your appreciation for their devotion.
Keep a to-do list
Lists really help digest information and put more control over your tasks and your time. Getting something out of your head and onto paper frees your mind for more important endeavors and gives you something tangible to reference later, provided you remembered where you put it…
Focus on one task at a time
Yes, multitasking can be looked upon as something impressive, but it doesn’t always benefit us. Multitasking can actually drag tasks out when you’re trying to save time. You may find yourself wondering where you left your planner or your phone as you’re trying to juggle calls, emails and meetings. Instead of becoming a master of none, zero in on carrying out each task with great effort. It’s a game of quality over quantity.
Get adequate sleep and stay positive
This is easier said than done with a full-time schedule and activities outside of work, but getting plenty of sleep and feeling refreshed is imperative. As people, we need to hit the reset button every so often so we don’t burn out. It’s even more important for salespeople who are literally putting on a performance every day that needs to elicit affirmative responses from clients.
Getting plenty of rest, eating healthy and exercising will help you sound more positive and engaging before picking up the phone to make a sales call.
Expand sales network
Having a wide customer database directly contributes to better sales with frequent and deeper interactions with fellow sellers. People who find ways to build more relationships increase their exposure to more ideas in the market and are able to access expertise quickly when needed.
Read sales blogs and books
Staying educated should never stop, and for top salespeople, this lesson should be taken to heart. The best salespeople stay sharp in their industry by reading sales blogs and visionary books authored by experts in the business to improve their skills.
End each day by checking performance metrics
A top salesperson is goal oriented and seeks to develop skills and knowledge to their fullest potential. The best way to keep track of your daily progress and gauge whether you hit your targets is by reviewing your metrics:
Mastering new habits and sales strategies depends on your determination to change and improve your sales routine. Start adopting these new sales habits and watch those conversions increase.