Sales is a tricky business. Make one mistake in the midst of doing most things right and, potentially, you could lose the opportunity. While thousands of people hold sales positions, only a few know how to approach it well. Only a few view each encounter from that big picture standpoint. Only a few see it all as it really is.
Sales is a mindset. It’s more about being than about doing. And it starts with being the right kind of person with the right frame of mind. One or more of the following tips can make the difference between winning the sale and losing the chance.
1. Identify your attitude toward salespeople and selling.
If you secretly believe that sales is a cheap way to make a living and salespeople are less than honorable, don’t be surprised if you find you can’t succeed in the sales arena. Your beliefs determine your reality. It’s that simple.
2. Redefine your role from salesperson to informer, educator, and service provider.
When you offer people the opportunity to purchase something you perceive as valuable, you want to educate them about how that item or service can positively benefit them and even change their lives. When you focus on the benefits and positive impact upon the other person, you stop focusing on yourself and the “salesy” reputation of your job.
3. Demonstrate genuine passion for your work.
It’s difficult to function in a sales position if you feel no passion for what you do. If you feel little or nothing for your job, you need to leave. It’s never going to work out. Very simply, you won’t make any money and you won’t serve your customers.
4. Serve rather than sell.
In every interaction ask yourself how you can honestly serve the potential customer. Look for ways to make a difference for that individual. When you do this, you’ll find that you make the sale far more often because people can sense your sincere desire to help them.
5. Stand apart from other salespeople.
Avoid using a cookie cutter approach to sales. Be creative. Step outside the box that most of your peers live and work in. Care more than your peers. Educate customers more than your peers. Get to know people more deeply than your peers. Be memorable.
6. Take the initiative.
Don’t stand around waiting for somebody to hand you leads or pump up your ego. Learn to motivate yourself, and search proactively for opportunity. The difference between average salespeople and superior salespeople? The latter category takes responsibility for their own success.
7. Build and nurture relationships.
Sales is all about relationships. There’s no way around that. You can’t develop a lucrative career in sales if you don’t have good relationships with others. Good relationships result from taking a real interest in your fellow human beings. Frequently people buy because they like and respect YOU. While somebody may end up buying once in spite of you, know that he won’t return in the future.
8. Connect with potential customers.
To form a connection with another person you have to relate to him, and he must relate to you. This goes way beyond the trite pleasantries that abound today. Show that you understand the person on some level. Demonstrate your concern for his wellbeing and happiness. Inquire about his elderly mother or his son’s soccer game-and mean it.
9. Ask the right questions at the right time in the right way.
There is truly an art to asking questions. It’s not about asking any questions; it’s about asking the right ones using the right words and tone at the right moment. Think of this as strategic questioning that actually goes somewhere and results in a sale. You won’t excel at this overnight. It takes a lot of practice every day.
10. Express gratitude for each sales opportunity.
Thank each person you speak with, whether or not it ends in a sale. Why is this important? Because each interaction teaches you something, you have a reason to be thankful for it. All customers and potential customers are your teachers. Every “no” or “not yet” response is a learning opportunity that deserves to be valued.