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.

Value Propositions have no Value

Value propositions are not for salespeople to use on sales calls. The purpose of a value proposition is to define for employees and investors what value we plan to bring to the market or what value we believe the product or service has. This is great for planning and for the training of salespeople. But that thinking is inwardly focused. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the same is true for value. A product only has value to the extent that it alleviates a pain that the prospect has. So, to announce to a prospect that “the value we bring is to do ____” is to run the risk of the prospect saying (either aloud or to himself) “but I don’t care!” He would only care if he had the problem that the product fixes and also had a passion to rid himself of the problem. It is a much better strategy to use the value proposition as a basis from which to ask questions rather than a basis to make statements about what you bring to the table.

OSP sidebar Hiring salespeople2 pic 300x300

Rehearse Your Prospect

When you can’t get to the person who makes the decision, your fate is in the hands of the untrained non-commissioned “salesperson” who carries your message to the “boss” who holds your fate in his or her hands. Does your contact know how to make an effective presentation of the reasons they want or need your product? Can they handle the objections the boss will throw at them? I never like to have my fate in someone else’s hand. A way to deal with this is to ask your prospect how they will make the case to the boss. If you like what you hear you can then ask them something like “when She asks why you went with our product even though we were more expensive what will you say”? One of three things will happen when you do this. They might have cogent reasons they can articulate to the boss which will be effective. Or they might not know what to say and you can coach them on how to make the case for your product. The third possibility is that they might get so uncomfortable with the idea of presenting your product on their own that they ask if you can accompany them to explain it to the boss. Any one of the three is preferable to letting them fail on their own and leave you with no sale.

OSP sidebar Hiring salespeople2 pic 300x300

Be Yourself

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, in sales it can be very counterproductive. One of the primary goals of consultative selling and prospect centered selling is to connect with a prospect. The reason you need to connect at a deep level as possible is to create a conduit through which information and emotion can be exchanged. If you adopt someone else’s persona or imitate them, you will come across as fake and insincere. This will definitely derail your efforts at bonding with the prospect and make it very difficult to connect in any real way. You will find it very difficult to gather real insight from the prospect. You will be relegated to gathering only facts, meetings will be shorter and harder to come by. Training is a great thing but don’t imitate the trainer whether it be your boss or a consultant. Rather seek to understand the concepts and adapt them to your own style. In short, the best way to connect with a prospect is to be yourself. Let your true personality shine through and you will be viewed as sincere. If you are using an effective selling process and the prospect views you as a real, sincere, and caring professional that will go a long way to taking you to the highest levels of the sales profession.

OSP sidebar Hiring salespeople2 pic 300x300

Sales Empathy

To truly understand a prospects pain at a deep level you must have sales empathy. One way to obtain it is to have actually held the position of the person you are calling on and dealt with the issues they are dealing with. Not every salesperson has that opportunity. However all good salespeople have the ability to “share” or “experience” the prospects real issues even if they have not held the position. They acquire this empathy by asking questions, focusing on the prospect and getting to deeper levels of pain over and over again. If you focus on your company and your presentation you will forever be constrained to operating with superficial information about what the prospect needs but be excluded from really understanding whether there is a compelling reason to buy or not. Sales empathy will also lead to more bonding, deeper relationships and higher closing rates.

OSP sidebar Hiring salespeople2 pic 300x300

How to Eliminate Excuses

When you fail to do something I am sure that you have a really good reason … or do you? Next time you excuse yourself (note that word!) from an activity ask yourself if you would let a person who worked for you off the hook that easily. Ask if you would take that “reason” from your 7 year old. Ask what would you do if you couldn’t use that “reason” for an excuse. Then do that! This is a great way to break through barriers and end procrastination.

OSP sidebar Hiring salespeople2 pic 300x300

Ask one you’ve never asked before


You ask the same questions … you get the same answers …and then wonder why you don’t seem to grow as a salesperson fast enough. Sounds like a variation on the definition of insanity. However, if you ask a question you never asked before, you will get to a place you have never been before. You will open up new avenues of discussion. You may disrupt the thinking of the prospect. You will be out of your comfort zone. You will get information you have never gotten before. You will get new insights. You will learn new things about the business you are in. You will have to think on your feet. And you will most likely differentiate yourself and your product or service from the competition. So go ahead, ask that question you have been afraid to ask in the past.

OSP sidebar Hiring salespeople2 pic 300x300

Don’t get excited


If you do the discovery phase of the sales call properly, the prospect will be opening up and divulging his or her personal problems with the business issue under discussion. If you get excited at this stage of the process, you will turn off your prospect. It will raise doubts about your motivation, possibly expose your self-interest, and believe your claim to just be there to help them. You should adopt the demeanor of a doctor in the diagnosis phase of a health checkup. You would be disconcerted, to say the least, if the doctor excitedly announced that you had a rare disease and she was thrilled to have the chance to work on you since it was very lucrative for her and very interesting and she might even get a research paper out of it. Have your excitement for after you leave the prospects’s office.

OSP sidebar Hiring salespeople2 pic 300x300

Are you just Daydreaming?

A sales goal without a sales activity plan does not have much chance of being accomplished. In any other field a goal without a plan would be ludicrous. Would you have a goal to build a building without a couple of hundred drawings and a construction schedule? Would you plan a concert without a play list? Would you just start writing source code because you had a goal to develop a new app without a flow chart? OF COURSE NOT … unless you have money to burn and time to waste. So why do 98% of sales people set sales goals without planning out how many sales calls they need to make weekly to accomplish that goal? So I encourage you to stop reading this and estimate how many calls you need to make weekly to hit your sales goals … then keep track weekly. If your estimates are correct and you do the work, you will hit the sales goal.

OSP sidebar Hiring salespeople2 pic 300x300

You can’t focus on 7 things

To focus means to narrow your scope of attention. “Focusing on 7 things” is impossible under that definition. Spreading your attention between 7 things or even as many as 3 things will cause you to be ineffective and waste a lot of time. It is far more effective to focus on one item, get it done or moved along to the next step then “focus” on the next item on the list. The reason it is more effective to concentrate is that switching back and forth causes you to have to re-start or re-center your thinking every time your focus is moved from one task to the next. In sales trying to make a cold call here and another one there will waste many minutes and hours in your week as you have to gear yourself up each time to make the call. The solution is to dedicate significant blocks of time where you can focus on one task and move it along to a logical stopping point or to a point that something real and lasting is accomplished before you let yourself be distracted by another task.

OSP sidebar Hiring salespeople2 pic 300x300

You Can’t Create Value

Value is in the eye of the prospect. Value propositions are typically written from the perspective of the seller.  At best a well thought out and written value proposition is a list of possible values to the prospect. It is up to the salesperson to uncover from the prospect what would be of value to her or him. If you lead with the company generated value proposition, you run the risk of being easily paired and put on the defensive by a simple statement from the prospect like “we really don’t have an issue with that” or “I am not that interested in having one of those”.  So use the value proposition to prepare for a sales call but don’t bring it up on the sales call directly. Rather, use it as a basis to ask whether or not the prospect has the problem that underlies the value proposition.

OSP sidebar Hiring salespeople2 pic 300x300