For every business organization, Sales is the most important division, their favorite child, regardless of what the bosses say. After all, that’s the department that brings in the customers and makes the cash register ring.
While others may envy the attention and praise sales reps receive, Sales isn’t without its fair share of headaches. The pressure to meet an intimidating quota month after month can quickly get intense.
Are you a novice just starting out in sales and feeling the pinch? Wondering how to have an impact in sales meetings and close more deals? Here are six tips that form the foundation for successful selling.
Things New Sales Reps Should Keep In Mind
1. Know your product like the back of your hand.
In the field, you will come across 2 kinds of leads - those who ask questions and those who don’t. It’s safe to assume that most of your leads are going to fall in the former category (those who don’t have any questions aren’t usually interested in the product). So, it’s important to have the relevant information handy to be able to ace those product questions.
During your onboarding, go through all the product demo videos and support documents that are available. Try to understand the inter-connectivity and flow of the features. These are some basic questions that you might encounter:
What features does your product offer?
What kind of technology would I need to access those features?
Is it customizable? If yes, to what extent?
Will I receive any kind of support/training?
Is the pricing use case-sensitive?
It’s okay to not understand all the nuts and bolts immediately. Your customers aren’t interested in the super technical aspects of your product. They’re more interested in understanding how the product can make their life easier. A thorough understanding of the product not only makes you feel more confident but also helps you deliver the value offering to the leads better.
2. Lend them your ear. What are their pain points?
“Keep telling me how great your product is,” said no prospect ever.
Your prospects have a singular interest - solving their problem. Going on about the magnificence of your product might not be the right way to gain their confidence.
The entire sales process, as it rightly should be, is about your clients finding a solution to their problems. The only way you can position your product as a potential solution is by first understanding the problem they’re trying to solve.
Use the interaction as an opportunity to ask pertinent questions like:
Could you help me understand your business process a little better?
What are your goals?
What are your biggest concerns and hurdles?
What are your expectations for the solution?
Do you have any budget constraints?
Don’t just ask, actually listen. Break it down. Internalize. Then, make the solution you offer be acutely focused on the buyer’s pain point. Sales pitches work best when your prospects believe that you understand their obstacles and have the capability and the intention to solve that problem for them.
3. Be prepared for your call.
Your prospects are looking for answers, and they expect you to provide them. Being well- prepared for a meeting demonstrates your competency and knowledge. Sure, there’ll be times when you have to just show up (or- hallelujah- a prospect calls you out of nowhere). In these cases, you’ll just have to have an open discussion with the client and see where it goes. But this cannot be your go-to-approach if you want to convert those prospects into clients.
Be sure you have a handle on the following:
What’s the goal of the call?
What do I need to find out during the call?
What are my product’s relative strengths and weaknesses?
Who is the decision-maker?
Where were things left off in the last meeting?
Unfortunately, very few sales reps take the time to research their prospect or prepare for calls, leaving an impression of unprofessionalism. Pre-call planning helps you obtain the necessary information you need to add value to the conversation. Developing this sales habit will create trust and skyrocket your sales.
4. Ask questions. Tap into your senior’s wisdom.
You’re just starting out. As a sales beginner, you’re not expected to have all the answers (phew!) But you can always surround yourself with people who do. Always be hungry to learn and eager to add to your knowledge base. Being inquisitive allows you to reduce your learning curve and quickly pick up new and handy skills. Of course, there’s no substitute for experience, but pearls of wisdom can be amassed by asking lots of questions.
Take advantage of your senior manager and colleagues who have spent some time in the field and understand the game better. By doing this, you lessen the chances of getting caught off-guard. As the saying goes, never be the smartest person in the room because if you are, then you’re probably in the wrong room.
5. Can you sell the product to yourself?
Do you believe in the product you’re selling? Will this truly be valuable to your customers? If the answer is no, then you’re in trouble right off the bat. Your prospects have a fine-tuned BS detector and will call you out if they sense uncertainty and in some cases, might cost you the account. Closing deals is much easier when you don’t have this sense of doubt constantly gnawing at you.
So, before you start making your sales rounds and meeting customers, have a frank conversation with yourself about the product. A firm belief in the product, much like doubt, is almost palpable. If you would buy the product, you’ll be able to make the customers see value in the offering too.
6. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
If there’s a mantra all sales experts swear by, it’s ‘Follow-up’. You can have the best product in the market and a perfect meeting, but if you don’t touch base with the prospect at the right time, the lead with simply slip through your fingers.
Technological advances make trends fickle. The one trend that never changes, however, is the dependence of businesses on emails. Follow-up emails is a great tool to have handy in your sales kit. Keep your customer’s attention by sending carefully- positioned messages through email.
Some great follow-up emails that pros always send:
Trying 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
Trying to connect email - After no response
Should I stay or should I go – Break-up email
While emails can be incredibly valuable, it does have a downside. Just because you’re sending out emails does not mean they’ll get opened. But don’t let a low open-rate discourage you. Be persistent and continuously work on the quality of your emails. Remember, 80% of sales require at least 5 follow-ups.
It’s not you.
Sales and rejection often cross paths. Be that as it may, facing rejection is always difficult, especially if you're a Sales beginner. Sometimes, your competitors will manage to swoop in and fly away with your lead. Many a time, prospects back out owing to market conditions. Whatever the reason, try not to take it too personally. Focus on what you can control and keep selling!