13 Tips to Sell More Successfully as a Trusted Sales Professional
Thirteen Tips to Sell More Successfully as a Trusted Sales Professional
by: Rob Reed
Many sellers like to describe themselves as professionals, but what is it that makes a seller a professional?
Do you want to sell more successfully using an honorable and straightforward approach? Read these thirteen sales tips to help you be perceived as a trusted professional by buyers. Incorporating these sales tips into your selling process will differentiate you from the rest and help you sell more successfully.
- Attitude can be everything. It is important to remember that your attitudes drive all actions and these actions are perceived by buyers as trust-building or trust-breaking. The most important change you can make to sell more successfully is to adopt and reinforce attitudes that will lead to actions resulting in greater levels of trust. Conversely, it is just as important to “lose the attitudes” that result in actions that are trust-breaking.
- Truly believe in the product or service and company for which you sell. This is a really difficult hurdle for most sellers who strongly believe in straightforward selling. If you don’t believe your products or services will benefit your buyers, then you will constantly be in conflict with yourself during the sales process. If selling using a straightforward platform is truly important to you, it might be necessary for you to find another product or service you will better represent to truly be successful using this approach.
- Intimately know the product or service and environment in which you sell. Do you need to be an expert? Maybe not. But it can only benefit your customer to know as much as possible so you can identify if your product or service can best meet their needs. A significant aspect of building trust with your buying counterparts is quickly establishing credibility. First and foremost, you should know much more about your products and services – as well as your competitors’ products and services – than your prospects. Secondly, you should know your customers’ organization and industry and the unique challenges and issues they face better than any of your competitors. Lastly, “I don’t know” is a very appropriate answer when that is, indeed, the case. If you’re new to a market, letting your potential customers know that up-front will help lower their expectations and make you feel more comfortable when giving “I don’t know” as an answer. When you use this response, however, make sure you offer to find out the answer in a specified timeframe, and then be sure to keep that promise.
- Live within your means. It’s simple. Don’t force yourself into a position where you “have to make the sale” or you lose something. For one, prospects don’t like to feel like you are desperate for business. Secondly, if you want to sell using an honorable approach, it’s important to reduce the risk/reward for a given sales situation. If you typically make only three to five sales per year and find yourself in serious debt, don’t you think there’s a definite likelihood that you might “stretch your value structure” a bit to make sure you win the sale so that your debt can be reduced?
- Focus on helping the prospect rather than making the sale. If all you’re thinking about is making the sale, this will be perceived negatively by your prospect through your actions. It doesn’t mean you should never think about the sale, it simply means that you need to focus on the prospect’s needs first and foremost.
- View yourself as an advisor. This is a different mindset that may be foreign to a lot of salespeople. If you adopt the mindset that you’re an advisor with the primary goal of identifying and fulfilling your potential customers needs, your attitudes and actions will be perceived very differently by your counterpart(s) than if your view yourself as a sales rep needing to “overcome the obstacles” and “close the sale.”
- Focus on the long-term. Admittedly, this is difficult. Most salespeople are used to the frequent calls from sales managers reminding them that “we’ve got to make our monthly or quarterly targets.” If you can adopt this attitude, though, you will likely see higher sales, both short-term and long-term. Buyers hate to be “closed.” If you take a short-term mentality, there’s a high likelihood that buyers will perceive you as trying to close them – this is trust-breaking and your sales will likely suffer in the short AND long-term.
- Some business is not worth pursuing. Most sales managers probably hate this one. It’s important, though, to be realistic about each sales opportunity. You’re not going to win every sale, so why work under the assumption that you will? Oftentimes, there are many early indicators that will lead you to believe that there’s a low probability for making the sale. If that’s the case, move on and spend your limited time and energy on opportunities where there’s a higher probability for success.
- Tell the prospect if your product or service will not meet their needs. Once you’ve had a reasonable opportunity to ask the appropriate questions, you must be willing to let the prospect know, as soon as possible, if your product or service will not meet their needs. This will result in a more efficient buy/sell process and save both you and the prospect valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere. The prospect will respect and probably trust you more for selling in this manner, and very well may purchase or recommend someone else to purchase from you in the future.
- Ask questions, listen, and take notes. Entire books have been written on this subject. Prior to every prospect meeting, you should already have a list of at least one dozen questions to ask. The prospect’s response to each of these questions should oftentimes be followed by one to three additional questions to drill down to the true issues and needs. Always take notes. This will show the prospect that you’re truly listening. Also, send your typed notes to the prospect and ask them to review to ensure that you did indeed “get it right.”
- Follow the 80/20 Rule. When meeting with a potential buyer, you should try to talk 20% of the time and allow them to talk 80% of the time – a lot of salespeople and sales managers get this one confused.
- Be direct. Answer buyer questions directly. Why do you think there is such a loss in the public’s trust with politicians? How often do they provide a direct answer to a question? Rarely. Just because most politicians set a poor example, doesn’t mean you should.
- No “closing.” One of the worst things you can do as a salesperson is to spend a lot of time and effort building trust with a prospect, only to destroy your “trust factor” towards the end of a complex sales process. No buyer likes to feel they’re being manipulated or “closed.” Make a recommendation, preferably with several options for the prospect to consider, and ask them to identify the next steps with a timeline. Tell them you’d really appreciate their business and ask what next steps you can take that will be helpful to them.