2. Understand the Prospect’s Pain Points
Your prospects have a singular interest — solving whatever problems they may be experiencing. Going on about the magnificence of your product can only get you so far. How does your product benefit your prospect directly?
Use each interaction with a prospect to ask questions to identify their biggest pain points, such as:
- Could you help me understand your business process a little better?
- What are your everyday goals? Long-term goals?
- What are the biggest concerns and hurdles you face?
- What are your expectations for the solution?
- Do you have any budget constraints?
- If you solved a particular problem, how much better would things be for you? How so?
It’s important that you actively listen to the prospect’s answers. Too often salespeople are so engaged with pushing and selling that they forget that sometimes the best salespeople listen more than they speak. This way you can learn a lot about not only your prospect, but also your own product and how to better sell it.
Offer a solution focused on the buyer’s pain points. Sales pitches work best when you show prospects that you understand their obstacles and that your product has the capability to solve those problems for them.
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3. Know Your Customer in Advance
Your prospects are looking for answers — and they expect you to provide them.
One of the best sales tips is to prepare in advance for all meetings with all the information you may need to give your prospects to turn them into customers. This includes knowing as much about them and their situation as possible. As the saying goes, “Show them you know them.”
Being well-prepared for a meeting demonstrates not only your competency and knowledge but shows that you care enough to be present and confident in all customer interactions.
Sure, there will be times when you have to just show up, or maybe even when a prospect calls you out of nowhere. In these cases, it’s important to have quick access to any information your average customer may need, and be able to discuss it in-depth.
Be sure you have a handle on the following:
- What’s the goal of the call for you?
- What do I need to find out during the call?
- What are my product’s strengths? Weaknesses?
- Who is the decision-maker on your prospect’s end?
- If you’ve met before, where were things left off in the last meeting?
A surprising amount of sales reps don’t take the time to research their prospect or prepare for calls, which only undermines their efforts and leaves a poor impression for the prospect. Pre-call planning helps you obtain the necessary information you need to add value to the conversation.
Developing this sales habit will create trust from your prospects — and confidence within your own sales game.
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4. Always Follow Up
If there’s something all sales experts agree on, it’s the importance of the follow-up stage.
It doesn’t matter if you have the best product in the market and your meetings go flawlessly — if you don’t reconnect with the prospect afterward, the opportunity for a sale can slip right through your fingers. In fact, 80% of sales require at least 5 follow-ups.
Follow-up emails are a great way to stay connected with your customers after your initial interaction. It shows you care enough about their experience to check in but allows the conversation to happen at the customer’s convenience.
Follow-up emails can be categorized in a few different ways. Some great follow-up emails that pros always send:
- Looking to connect — Cold sales call follow-up
- Pleasure chatting with you earlier today... — Right after a meeting
- Writing to follow up on our last conversation... — Next steps
- Should I stay or should I go? — Break-up email
Don’t let a low open-rate for your emails or a lack of response from prospects discourage you. Be persistent and continuously work on the quality of your emails and leads.
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5. Use Rejection as an Opportunity
When giving tips for sales, there’s no easy way to say this, so let’s just get it out of the way: Sales and rejection go hand-in-hand.
Facing rejection is always difficult, especially when you're just getting started in sales. Sometimes competitors will swoop in and fly away with your lead. Some people either don’t have a need for your product or aren’t in a position to spend the money at this time.
It’s important that you understand that none of it is personal.
There might be hundreds of reasons a customer might not be interested in what you’re selling, but most of them have very little do with you.
That’s why it’s important to control the controllables, using each rejection as an opportunity to strengthen your sales game and adapt to the needs and concerns of your customers.
Rejection reveals weaknesses in your sales game. The good news? With the right tweaks to your pitch, you can turn those weaknesses into strengths.
Each rejection is instrumental in thickening your skin and strengthening your resolve, two characteristics that will go a long way in making you a top salesperson.
Don’t let rejection defeat you — treat it as the opportunity for growth that it is.
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10 Advanced Sales Tips and Techniques
So you’ve got the selling basics down, but every day on the job still proves challenging. Congratulations — you’re officially a salesperson!
Now how can you take your sales game to the next level, and surpass your quota month after month? There are easy strategies you can adopt that will help you evolve with the industry and make the most of your time with your customers.
1. Manage Your Time Effectively
It’s no secret that in sales, time is money. As such, treat blocks on your calendar like the commodity that they are.
The life of a salesperson can feel like a juggling act with a dozen different balls in the air. An important sales strategy is to prioritize your time and make the most of every hour you have in the day.
To be a great salesperson, your calendar needs to be the first thing you look at in the morning, the last thing you look at before you go to bed, and something you’re always aware of in the hours between.
One major time loss salespeople experience is getting caught up in conversation with customers. While it’s imperative that you connect with customers on a personal and friendly level, it is equally important to know when to cut to the chase.
When the conversation veers a bit too far away from business, you can politely offer up a future time to get back to the personal side of the conversation. This allows you to meet your next customer at the promised time and keep things friendly, while keeping the momentum of your sales pitch moving forward.
Focus more time on closing deals that will bring in more money. This does not mean that you should neglect clients willing to spend less money, but it is important to prioritize your client list and maximize the use of your hours.
It’s also important to use the right tools to organize your schedule. Which brings us to our next point...
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2. Leverage the Right Technology
Thanks to mobile devices, any customer information a salesperson needs is just a few clicks away. The best sales strategy is to use these cutting-edge tools designed specifically for your needs.
By using the right resources to keep your day organized, your customers happy, and all relevant information accessible at a moment’s notice, you take advantage of some of the most advanced sales-enabling technology in the world.
Digital calendars and appointment setting tools are instrumental in organizing your days. It’s also great for coordinating your schedule with the schedules of your customers. Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar are industry favorites, while Calendly integration allows prospects to schedule meetings for whatever days and times work best for them.
For outside sales tips, one of the biggest time-wasters in their day is time behind the wheel. Optimizing your routes with the right technology will free up valuable time, as well as save you money on gas and vehicle wear-and-tear. Badger Maps is a great all-in-one tool for route optimization and visualization features, customer check-ins, and lead optimization on-the-go. There’s no better time-saver for salespeople on the road.
Prospecting new clients is vitally important and has never been easier thanks to technology. For prospecting tools, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the way to go. Great for finding ideal potential customers, it allows salespeople access to relevant information about their prospects in preparation for important meetings.
Using the right CRM is also crucial, though which CRM your company uses can sometimes be out of your control. While Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are the biggest CRMs in the industry, there are many great options designed specifically to help you sell more.
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3. Understand Your Prospect’s Role
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to sales. Sometimes the person you’re talking to isn’t the person who has the ability to purchase. Sometimes the person you’re talking to is the CEO, who expects you to wow her with your sales pitch. And, sometimes, your customer is an ordinary Joe who needs a good reason to spend his hard-earned money.
Before each customer interaction, do your due diligence to understand not only who you are going to be speaking with, but where they fall within the hierarchy of their company when applicable.
This comes down to preparation. It makes no sense to speak with a sales rep about something that their manager should handle. It also makes no sense to engage your retiree next-door neighbor about B2B software if they have no need for it.
Quality prospecting is what makes or breaks a salesperson. You must know who it is you’re dealing with, and how your product can impact their life positively.
It also impacts how you should speak to the prospective customer. Speaking their language is vitally important to customer connection. You have to know the lingo and apply the correct vernacular when dealing with different personas.
The right language breeds credibility, and is a quick way to earn the customer’s trust.
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4. Never Stop Prospecting
In Sales, there’s no such thing as resting on your laurels.
Complacency is never rewarded in this line of business. In order to enjoy continued success as a salesperson, it’s important to always have a new business on the horizon. The only way to do this is by prospecting regularly.
Always be on the lookout for new opportunities of business, be it through customer referrals or your own prospecting research. By identifying and understanding who your customers are, you can more effectively find those in need of your product and connect with them.
There are many great ways to find prospects, the best of which is prospecting technology. The internet is a treasure trove of customer information. As mentioned above, one of the best sales prospecting tips is to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator, a fantastic tool for prospecting that can supply you with a goldmine of business opportunities.
There’s also the old-school approach. Cold calling and emails are still a great way to connect with prospects, and also show you’re willing to put in the hard work to get the deal done.
Again, consider who you are reaching out to. When prospecting other businesses, often it’s wiser to aim higher in any organization, as the decision-makers are the ones who are more willing and able to buy if they’re convinced that your product can help them in some way. By aiming too low, the process can pass through too many hands and stall the deal indefinitely.
Your pipeline should never be empty — spend time each day reaching out to potential leads, and make sure that you’re never stuck without any fresh prospects for business.
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5. Perfect Your Objection Handling
Remember earlier when we discussed how rejection is a huge part of sales?
With experience, handling objections, and a little bit of know-how, you can turn some of those rejections into wins. All it takes is approaching any concerns your clients may have the right way.
This comes down to product knowledge and knowing the ins and outs of your product — both the good and the bad.
It helps to think of your sales strategy as a game of chess. Think three steps ahead of your customers at all times and anticipate what moves they will make, both good and bad. If you have a plan in place for every potential objection, countering these concerns and steering the conversation becomes second nature.
Don’t wait for prospects to raise objections. Bring them up first and get the roadblock out of the way. That way you own the objection while also proving you are someone that the client can trust to see things from their perspective. Preparing in advance to understand your customer is instrumental in anticipating any possible objections on their part.
For example, if price objections are a frequent hurdle you face, a good way to anticipate and handle the objection is: “A lot of people ask about pricing, and that's always an important thing to talk about.” This allows you to demonstrate why the value gained from your product will make up for any price paid for it.
By deftly handling any objection, that final detail holding the customer back can become the key factor that lands the sale.
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6. Use Empathy to Connect
If the customer doesn’t trust you, chances are they probably won’t buy your product.
No one wants to feel like they’re being manipulated into buying something by someone only interested in their money. That’s why it’s important to not just speak with customers, but to actually connect with them in a meaningful and human way.
One of the key traits that separate the good salespeople from the great salespeople is empathy.
Sales empathy involves actually getting to know your customers like friends and catering your message to this person’s specific personality type and unique problems they face. It means genuinely wanting to help them, and working together to make it happen.
The ability to place yourself in your customer’s shoes in order to guide them through the buying process is instrumental in garnering trust and loyalty. The longer and happier a relationship with a customer is, the more fruitful it can be for both parties involved.
This skill is very hard to teach, yet it’s possible to strengthen it within yourself like a muscle. All it takes is exercise. When interacting with customers, forget that any money is involved — instead, you are two friends, one of which has a problem they need solving, and one which has a solution.
At the end of the day, you became a salesperson at least in part because you like interacting and connecting with people. Now’s the time to use these bonds to not only meet your quota, but to spread a little goodness in the world.
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7. Focus on Quality Instead of Quantity
When seeking out closing sales tips, many are confused: isn’t it better to have more customers as opposed to less?
The answer? It depends.
In the juggling act of sales, having too many balls in the air can be overwhelming and confusing. Not only can it get to be too much to handle, but each customer’s experience suffers more and more when you get too bogged down by a roster of customers that is just too cumbersome.
It is tempting to strive to get as many sales as possible as quickly as possible in order to impress your managers and feel like you’ve maximized your performance.
The problem? This can lead to burnout very quickly — as well as potentially falling short of the sales numbers you were hoping for.
Instead, focus on having more quality customers that can be relied upon for consistent, stable, and reliable business. Prioritize your days so that these customers get the most of your attention.
Having the time and energy to engage with your most fruitful customers will give you a solid foundation towards your quota month after month, while allowing you the freedom to branch out and expand your client base gradually toward other high-quality customers without any undue pressure.
In the end, sales is a marathon, not a sprint. By nurturing the best customers you have and giving them your full attention, your calendar will be less jammed up, you won’t constantly be running all over town in a panic, and you’ll forge bonds that will make surpassing your quota easier than ever.
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8. Stay Consistent and Have Integrity
It’s important that each of your customers get the same quality pitch of your product, and that your sales game is consistent across the board for each interaction.
By ensuring that your sales interactions are consistent and delivered in such a way that exhibits discipline and dedication to your craft, your pitch will become close to effortless.
Like most other occupations, sometimes it’s simply hard work that will get you the furthest. You will face fierce competition at every turn. Your bosses will expect results month after month. Put in the work, and all the rest will fall into place.
If you tell a customer you’re going to be there at a certain time, make sure you are there at that time. If you promise a customer that a feature will solve a problem, it needs to be the truth. If you lose the customer’s trust, it’s gone. It’s a hard thing to earn back.
Should you feel there is something in your pitch that needs to be adjusted, don’t put it off until later. The great thing about sales is you get many chances to try different approaches. Experiment with clients to see what works and doesn’t work, and evolve your pitch for maximum effect.
There’s no secret weapon that will automatically put you at the top of the sales class. As much as the latest and greatest sales-enabling technologies and tactics help to close deals, it still takes good old-fashioned work to give you the real edge over your competitors and sell your product.
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9. Use a Repeatable Sales Process You Can Measure
When used correctly, metrics are a salesperson’s best friend.
Utilizing a sales process that can be repeated, you can monitor how effective your pitch is with customers. Then you can keep an eye on your numbers and see how each careful tweak of your process affects the bigger picture.
To understand the flow and fluctuations of your numbers is to understand just how successful your customer interactions are, and will make clear if you should stay the course or are in need of some changes to your process.
Identify which KPIs matter most to your particular selling situation and keep an eye on them as you go. If the metrics that matter the most to you aren’t quite where you want them to be, make meaningful changes with the explicit goal of getting these stats up. If your stats dip dramatically, you’ll have a wealth of information to determine how and why this has occurred, and what can be done to fix it.
The best salespeople have a foundational process that they use each time they interact with a customer, but they also understand that sometimes these processes need to evolve in order to ensure they stay competitive.
By approaching your own sales strategy and process almost like a scientific experiment, you can learn what is truly the most effective approach with customers, and refine your process to maximize your performance month after month.
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10. Seek Out Referrals
Despite the many advances in technology made over the past few decades, one thing hasn’t changed — word of mouth is still the best, most reliable way to reach new customers and earn their business.
When a customer refers you to a prospect, they’re making a quick and trusting connection that money couldn’t buy. It’s easier than ever to connect with and earn that new customer.
Nothing intrigues a prospective customer like hearing positive feedback about a product that could help them, from a peer that they respect. If it worked for one person, why shouldn’t it work for them? Referrals are key to building out a client base because your clients are doing the work for you.
Not only is it the best form of both prospecting and advertising — it’s free!
What are the best ways to turn your best customers into referral machines? Take a look at your client list and consider:
- The length of your relationship
- Customer’s overall satisfaction with your product or service
- Frequency of communication between you and the customer
- How responsive is the customer
Approach the customers you have the best relationship with and ask them if they wouldn’t mind referring you to people they know who could use your product.
LinkedIn is also a great resource to learn what connections your customers have, and then to pursue those connections with a referral from your customer.
If you can get your customers to feel so strongly about your product that they’ll help you sell it to their friends, family, and colleagues, not only do you expand your client base, but your customer feels a personal investment in your product. They’re advocates, and their loyalty and enthusiasm can pay off handsomely.
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There’s no finish line when it comes to sales.
Whether you’re just getting your start or have been doing it for decades, sales is a continuous process that requires you to evolve in order to stay competitive. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, changes occur in the industry that force you to change with them.
Thinking of sales as a never-ending evolution of your own process, you can not only survive in one of the most competitive and exhilarating industries in the world — you can thrive!