I have been in sales for over a decade and I think I have a pretty good grasp of the sales cycle and how to be successful in sales. I wanted to share five keys to sales that I have found to have the biggest impact for me personally. Whether you are in the corporate sales world like I am, running your own business or working within multi-level marketing (MLM), I hope you find these tips helpful. Please reach out to me if you need any additional ideas or support. I’m happy to help and share my experiences with you.
Know your market and what they need.
You may think that you have a product or service that everyone will want to buy. It’s amazing how could they not. Right? Well, real life settings will often will show you that sales isn't easy and you won't be able to easily sell your product or service even if it is amazing. If you understand your market, the customer and their buying habits I think it can put you steps ahead of the competition and increase your sales overall. It’s important to think of your products or services as a solution. I am offering a solution to a problem. With that being said, if the person you are trying to sell to isn’t experiencing a problem and they don’t feel they need the solution you are offering they are likely not the best customer. You can always circle back to them but I would move forward to a different potential customer or what is commonly called "low hanging fruit". You need to have an intimate understanding of the person you are trying to sell to. In order to understand them you need to ask the right open ended questions to see if they may have a situation where your solution (aka your product or service) could help them. Take the time to ask smart questions and really get an understanding of their lifestyle or their business and why your product or service could help them.
In order for someone to purchase from you they have to trust you and that you have their best interests at heart. Trust obviously develops over time, but is it possible to build trust even in the first interaction with someone? From my experience the answer is yes and the key is that trust is built with simply being honest. For example, if you determine that your product might not be a good fit for them, be honest and tell them that. Don’t just try to push a sale through. They will remember this interaction and they will often either buy something else from you or they will recommend you to someone in the future.
You have to know your product or service inside and out. Not only that you also have to know the competitors to your product or service inside and out. Knowledge is crucial in sales. Take the time to do your research, reach out to other people who may be in the same field as you and pick their brain about things you may not understand yet. It’s smart to ask for help! Another thing I’d like to point out here; do not pretend to know something or lie to a customer/client. It’s okay to say “I’m not sure about that, let me get back to you.” This will always trump you trying to fluff your way through a question that you don’t actually know the answer to. I have been in my current role for over eight years and I still have to say this sometimes! I can’t know everything about everything, and I know that if I follow up quickly with an accurate answer, my customers would much prefer that than me fumbling though an answer that I’m not 100% sure about.
If I take a look at the sales reps within my company that are really successful, I would say all of them have amazing relationships with their customers. If you went into any of their territories and polled their customers, the feedback you would get would be overwhelmingly positive. What do I mean by relationships when it comes to sales? I know that relationships take time to build, but every interaction you have with a potential customer or client can work towards building a solid relationship. Just because you are new to sales doesn’t mean you can’t build on this step. You can think of this in terms of your own personal relationships. What makes a good friendship or marriage? We come back to a few things I’ve already mentioned, trust and honesty. What else would you consider a key component to a relationship? Maybe its things like loyalty, compassion, and good communication. Keep in mind how you would want to be treated and taken care of and make sure you do this for your potential and current customers or clients.
Ask for their business.
This step is crucial to any sales cycle and yet it is the step that often gets missed. Why? Well because this is the part that people get uncomfortable with. Now you have to actually sell, and ask for someone to part with their money for your product or service. My feeling is this, if you have followed the steps above, have detailed why this product or service could truly benefit them and you do have their best interests at heart, you should not feel bad about asking them to purchase what you have offered to them. Ask for the sale! Does this mean they will purchase from you every single time you ask for the sale? No, but if they aren’t in the position to purchase you can always ask for something else. Maybe it’s a referral or a reference to their group of friends or coworkers. Whatever it is, you can still ask them to take action in some way even if it isn’t purchasing.