According to a 2017 study, 80% of people working in sales will leave sales within 5 years. That means only 20% of us are “lifers.” And part of the reason, in my opinion, is that most people who go into sales don’t know what it takes to become and remain successful. Sales success is hard to achieve when you don’t know what you’re aiming for.
Another survey (2016) indicates that nationally, 71% of sales pros have never received any sales training – only product or service training. So how do you improve your chances of sales success when you enter a sales career? Here’s a cheat sheet.
Sales is about buyers.
No matter what you’ve heard, buyers matter most. No buyers, no sales, right? So when you’re working for sales success, you are in the humble position of helping a buyer make a purchasing decision that is best for them, not you. Those sales stay closed, and those buyers return to you and sing your praises. Learn what the prospect needs and help them get it.
For more about your buyer’s perspective, read Stop Making It Harder to Buy From You.
Sales is not 9 to 5.
If you want a 9 to 5 job, this isn’t it. Networking events, industry journals, conferences, research, and studying sales techniques on your own time are part of the job. No one will pay you extra for it, and it will definitely cost you if you don’t use your own time to sharpen your skills and amp up your knowledge. Everything that can be sold has been sold in evolving ways since the beginning of time, and you need to keep up. Sales success depends on your ability to keep sharpening your skills and your opportunities.
Every advance in communication and information technology changes sales.
Yes, really. Social media, texting, Skyping, memory cards, the smartphone, the photocopier, carbon paper, the typewriter… Each one had a massive effect on how sales are conducted. Staying apace with technology and applying it creatively allows you to be more productive and effective in less time. It effectively increases the amount of work you can accomplish in a single day. You’d better not fall behind!
The internet has made sales infinitely harder.
I’m serious! Everyone seems to think they can learn everything they need to know about making a purchase by cruising the internet. Wrong! If that were true, sales pros wouldn’t exist. (But even as a sales pro, how often do you avoid sales people?) Buyers need our expertise to make a choice they will be happy with for the long term. In order to engage a buyer correctly, you need to lead every interaction with valuable information they probably didn’t find on their phone in the last 5 minutes.
If you’re not an expert at utilizing your product/service, and telling the story of successful implementation, you’re in the way.
The difference between your offering and the next guy’s isn’t 10%, or the color. The difference between your offering and the next guy’s is who makes the buyer confident they are making the best possible buying choice for their needs.
Sales pitches are dead.
No one wants to be sold, ever. And nowadays, no one will listen to a pitch of any length. So don’t pitch. Ask the buyer questions about how their need came about, what their desired outcome is, what they liked about their previous solution, and what they don’t want in their next solution. Then, when you’re giving your advice and support, say, “You told me you needed/wanted/didn’t want X.” and then go on with your information. “You told me” are the strongest three words you can use. It proves you were listening and understanding, and provides an opportunity for the buyer to give you even more information to help you sell them.
Does your team need to sharpen skills to achieve better numbers? Contact us today.
The highest pay goes to the most humble sales pros.
Yes, you’re the product/service expert, but no, you’re never the most important person in any conversation with clients or co-workers. The reps who are always trying to learn and be supportive to everyone they interact with professionally quickly become trusted and then preferred professionals. Check your ego at the door, and watch your paycheck increase.
Yep, I said it. Get good with “no.” Most sales take 8-13 interactions to close. That means even with a buyer who will buy, you’ll get at least 7 no’s for each yes! Buyers purchase when they are ready, not when you’re ready. If you don’t take rejection well, this is not the industry for you.
Learn to develop buyer urgency.
Urgency is the feeling that the purchase needs to be made very soon. Ask questions like, “What problems are arising from NOT having a solution in place?” “What will it feel like if you don’t get what you need?” Not only does it focus they buyer on moving forward, it gives you insight into how the buyer’s situation does or doesn’t function.
Assume you will have to work with every buyer again.
Never leave a bad impression, ever. No matter how badly you are treated by a buyer, take the high road. When they are ready to buy, you or your colleagues shouldn’t have to clean up any old bad blood before you enter the buying conversation. It’s amazing how many times you’ll cross paths with the same buyers. Sometimes the most difficult ones become loyal, big spenders!
If you can master the tips on this list, you’ll be well on your way to sales success!