Sales Tip of the Day: “How do I become a better salesperson”
[I first published this post on Quora.com. Because I received such a positive response, I wanted to share here on SalesQualia. Check out all of my Quora posts here.]
1. Be mentally and physically fit.
Subscribe to Audible.com. Listen to books about selling, business, and personal motivation. Read novels. Do Lumosity. Learn a second (or third or fourth) language. Write poetry. Become An Idea Machine.
Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins enhance creativity. Find an event and train for it – a 10k, a half marathon, a triathlon, a long hike, a century ride. Your goal will coerce you into regular fitness and a healthy diet.
The right diet and exercise provides you with a consistent energy level throughout the day, week, and year. The phone rings less at 3:30 in the afternoon than 9:30 in the morning because people are on caffeine highs in the morning. The more consistently you perform throughout the day, the more calls you will make and more creative ideas you will develop.
2. Be disciplined.
… to prospect while your big deals reach their crescendo.
… to call clients the day after, the week after, and the month after, and every month thereafter to insure that you’ve exceeded their expectations.
… to send handwritten “thank you” notes after sales calls, to clients, to referrers, and to colleagues helping you along the way.
3. Be prepared.
Map out each and every sales call, voicemail, and presentation. Map out the path to revenue. Identify the Buyer Types at your target companies.
Consider every word and every slide. Ask if they really matter to the prospect?
Write down your “Top 3” must-dos for the day, week, month, and year. Remember the rocks-pebbles-sand-water lesson. Your customers are busy. You’re busy. We’re all busy trying to get less busy yet always getting busier and forgetting about our business. If you’re not prepared, you’ll be stuck being busy doing nothing.
“Never start the day until you know how it’s going to end.” – Jim Rohn
4. Be creative.
… in how you approach prospects.[amazon asin=http://www.amazon.com/Startup-Selling-sell-really-Volume/dp/1468159240&text=Amazon]
… in how you ask questions.
… in how you present.
… in how you structure contracts, implementation, and renewals.
… in how you solve problems.
Stop talking. No one cares what you think or what your product does. They only care about their problems and whether you can solve it.
Ask questions then listen to the answer. Really listen. Then ask “What else?”, “How do you mean?” and “How so?” These are the salesperson’s “5 Whys” to uncover root causes and decisions.
Here’s why hotels purchase and install business centers, and it’s not so they can charge you $0.50/page for printing. Do you know why your customers are buying?
6. Be cool.
Customers will unload on you because it’s your fault that your servers went down last night. Product managers, marketing, and sales managers will unload because you didn’t charge enough, you didn’t ask the right questions, and you promised too much. All of these people are part of the symbiotic sales ecosystem. Take leadership when opportunities are blowing up and share the glory when that big contract gets signed.
Remember that a signed contract means that you are just getting started. Product implementation, customer happiness, and renewal decisions start today.
Read “How to Win Friends & Influence People” annually.
Sometimes life happens.
Sometimes you screw up.
Sometimes people screw you.
Sometimes you’ll have a whiz-bang road trip and think – “Flying to Des Moines in January isn’t that bad after all!”
Sometimes you’ll be on the phone at 1:30am from a Hampton Inn with your engineering team the night before your $3 million meeting asking how you’ll be able to sell that feature which does not exist yet to the decision committee that you’ve been working for 11 months.
Sometimes you’ll wake up in that Hampton Inn and ask yourself – “What city am I in?”
No matter what, always smile when you’re in front on the client. Never carry over the last call, last conversation, and last meeting into the next. Unless you’re riding positive emotions. Then, by all means, ride that wave to shore.
8. Be consistent.
While you spend hours and hours and hours and hours thinking about your customers, they only think about you when you call or meet. And even then they’re thinking about their families, their other suppliers, and what time they’re meeting up with their buddies for Monday Night Football.
You need to be consistent with your clients so they know who you are. Get a haircut every two weeks. Buy 10 light blue dress shirts. Change your socks after lunch. Develop a personal regimen and stick to it.
9. Add value.
Share ideas with your customers, even when you’re not selling to them. Send them articles. Share your notes from the conference they couldn’t attend.
Pick up the phone. Tell your customer what you’re going to do. Tell your customer when you are doing it. Tell your customer when it’s done. Tell your customers when you can’t keep your promise as soon as you know then recommend options to them, even if it’s with a competitor.
11. Be honest.
… about price and cost.
… about your product’s capabilities.
… about implementation timelines.
… about customer service and support.
… about customer requirements and communication.
… about a competitor’s product, especially if it’s better than yours.