Sales Tips for the Optimal Salesperson

This page is dedicated to helping you become the best salesperson you can be. These one minute sales tips will help make you more effective and earn more money. Each Tip is a single actionable nugget designed to move you toward effortless high performance … In short to become the Optimal Salesperson.

Don’t Give Up

Salespeople give up too soon when trying to connect with a prospect by phone. The latest research says that it takes 16 attempts to reach a prospect. Unfortunately, salespeople on average quit trying after 4 attempts. The problem is that 20 years ago when you could reach someone with 3 or 4 attempts on average the prospect was stationary. If they were working, they had to be in their office and had a phone on their desk and a gatekeeper trying to keep you from getting to them. A skilled salesperson could defeat the gatekeeper and get to the target prospect quite easily. However, the modern executive is mobile. They can work from anywhere and their phone tells them who is calling and with the push of a button they can ignore the call. Its hard to defeat that. We have many other ways to track them down in today’s world. We can message them on 3 or 4 different ways and we can connect via Linkedin etc. But telephone prospecting is not dead. It is still the way that you have the most control over. So the lesson is don’t give up. Keep trying. Take different angles of attack and eventually you will connect.

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Reduce your Sales Goals to Activity Goals

Sales goals are good to have but they are not enough. The problem is that sales are not something you can commit to since you do not have control over closing a sale. However, what you do have control over is your activity. You can control picking up the phone or asking for a referral or going to a networking meeting. So, you must convert your sales goal into an activity goal. This is relatively easy if you have been tracking your activity since you have all the metrics. My unscientific eyeball average estimate is that fewer than 10% of sales people track their sales activity on day to day basis. If you are one of the 90% who don’t, you can still translate your sales goal into an activity goal by guessing at the conversion ratios. Then you start tracking your activity and you will soon know your ratios and you can adjust accordingly. The key idea here is to convert your sales goal into an activity goal and then hold yourself accountable to doing the activity. Do that and the sales will follow.

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Call Old Clients

Old clients can be hidden nuggets of gold in your database. Or they can become like ghosts … hidden and unseen. Be a ghost-buster. Call those old clients just to catch up. You don’t have to ask if they need to buy anything. Just catch-up on what is going on at the company. There will be personnel changes, changes processes, new products, etc. gathering information may yield some new pain that has arisen that you might be able to help with. This sales tip is not any more complicated than that. Call them. Talk to them. Stuff will happen. It is better than making cold calls and it is a great way to bust out of a slump and get the ball rolling again.

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Analyze Risk when you in a Selling Situation

Analyzing risk is an important element of assessing the prospects compelling reason to buy. It is often a negative factor meaning that the more risk there is from the client’s perspective the lower the possibility that they will buy from you. Risk is often a personal pain. Prospects may think “I can’t afford to make a mistake.” Or they may think that it “is wise to take the safe choice”. Many times, they will not know how to articulate the risk and they may not even be aware of their own fear. But the risk is there none the less. The job of the salesperson is to ask about it and force the discussion even if the prospect does not want to discuss it. So, the lesson is to analyze the risk yourself and get the prospect to discuss it even if the prospect tries to avoid it. And it goes without saying that sometimes the risk factor works in your favor, especially if you are the name brand or the incumbent. If that is the case you should be able to command a higher price … but that is the topic for another video.

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Effectiveness vs Efficiency

You can save time in sales by getting two decision makers in the room at the same time. That is much more efficient than seeing them one at a time. But it is not always the most effective way to handle a sales call. Suppose the two decision makers, both senior VP’s, are being considered for the position of CEO and you get them in a room to discuss your project which is a new software installation. Do you think either one of them will want to open up and tell you all the problems they are having with their rival sitting there listening to every word? I think not. What if I added the HR VP to the mix? In that case it is even less likely for them to open up. You are more likely to get posturing and platitudes than any true expression of the pain they might be in. I had it happen to me. The CEO was willing to move ahead with any training that either one of the VP’s felt they needed. He then called them both into his office together and asked them what they thought the biggest problem with their teams was. One of the VP’s asked if I could meet him privately and the other stated he had no problems that he could think of. The CEO then proceeded to say, “I’ll tell you what the problems are …” and listed several things the VP and his team were not doing. That VP pushed back and got into an argument with his CEO. He was so embarrassed he never wanted to see me again. That’s when the other VP asked to see me privately and he signed up for me to train him and his team. I learned my lesson and never let myself get in that position again.

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You Can’t Find Pain by Email

You can transmit information by email. You can answer a quick question which does not require a complicated answer by email. And you can even submit a proposal by email. But you can’t find pain by email. One of the primary reasons is that people are reluctant to admit to emotional issues in writing unless it is in a diary and most of those are not meant to be seen by anyone. Another reason email pain finding does not work is that you cannot read the tonality and the body language of the prospect in an email. You cannot see how the prospect reacts to tough questions in an email and you cannot be sure that the answer you get by return email was crafted by the author and not by a colleague they conferred with. You are limited by how much you can say (that the prospect will read) in an email and you cannot insert your own tonality into the words to either soften the delivery of a tough question or to imply assuredness or any other modifier to the words you transmit. There are many other reasons but those mentioned herein should be enough to get you to pick up the phone and call the prospect.

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Analyze your thought process

Thoughts you have reflect your beliefs. And Beliefs you have affect your success on sales calls. If you are thinking that “this sales call is not going to go well”, then, it probably won’t go well. The question I would ask is “why do you think the sales call will not go well”. Too many sales managers attack the wrong end of the problem when debriefing a sales call. They focus on what was said and not said and on what was done and not done on the call. What the sales manager should do is focus on the thought process of the salesperson which will uncover what the self-limiting belief of the salesperson was at the time of the call. Once the belief is corrected the right words will get said with the appropriate tonality. And the right actions will take place on the sales call. Salespeople who want to accelerate their growth should analyze their thought processes after the call for the very same reason. If you get your beliefs in line the words will take care of themselves.

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Have fun on sales call

If you are not having fun on your sales calls you are not being as effective as you could be. Yes, you need to follow the sales process. And yes, you need to ask questions and gain commitments. But let your natural personality come out. Don’t be such a slave to the process that you can’t laugh and joke with the prospect at the appropriate times. A sales call is nothing more than a directed discussion with another human being. If you put too much pressure on yourself you won’t have any fun and you won’t be as effective as you could be. This is a short paragraph because the message is simple – Have Fun and you will make more money.

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Ask What Changed

Sometimes the sales process suddenly speeds up or slows down. A project that was dormant suddenly springs to life. Or, one that was moving along briskly suddenly comes to a screeching halt. When that happens (especially in the case when it speeds up) you should ask the prospect “what changed?”. The reason you ask is that things happen for a reason. And it is important that you know that reason. It might be the prospect got a visit from the EPA regulators and now they are under a deadline to remedy a situation. It could be that they were focused on a competitor and the competitor has slipped up for some reason and are now out of the running. In either of these cases the answer to the question will give you insight into the urgency of the situation, the pain of the prospect and the decision process of the prospect. It is also possible that nothing changed but in my experience that is rarely the case. Don’t be so excited by the project springing to life that you forget to ask what prompted the sudden change. If you do, you will miss a golden opportunity to get an advantage over the competition or some leverage in the negotiations to come.

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Find Someone who Cares

Pipelines are bloated with prospects who think the solution presented is interesting or who want to buy something but haven’t bought yet. These deals usually don’t close. The reason is that there is not enough of a compelling reason to buy. The solution to this problem is to find someone in the organization who cares about the problem. They usually care about it because it affects them in some way. This makes the pain personal and personal pain is the biggest motivation to take action. The message is as simple as that. Find someone in the organization who cares about the problem.

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