Salespeople take pride in their work. The most skilled salespeople are doing something different than others. They separate themselves from everyone else. How do they do it? What’s their secret? Great salespeople blow their quota out of the water, skillfully handling objections and concerns.
A football game isn’t won by skipping practice. The game is won by preparation.
Sales is no different.
Here are five things that successful salespeople do every day that helps them crush deals, convert more prospects, and earn more commissions.
1. Actively Listen
Have you ever gone out to buy something that you were really excited about? Maybe it was something like a new car or a new computer and although you've done a lot of research, you still need some help from someone who's an expert. Elite salespeople listen intently to understand the needs and pain points of their potential customers. They are looking for ways to provide value in the relationship, instead of just enjoying hearing themselves speak. Research by Sales Benchmark Index shows that a sale done without “needs” discovery is 73% less likely to close successfully.
Listen with the intent of understanding and gaining important information. Know the importance of asking not just questions, but the right questions. What problem keeps your prospect up at night? Does your prospect wish there was a specific solution? What would fixing the problem give them time to do? By asking the right questions, you’re more effectively understanding if your product is a good fit for your customer.
How To Actively Listen
- Clean up your space. Before you take your next call, clear your physical space but also clear your mind. Dr. Maxwell Matlz calls this Clearing the Calculator. Before you move on to the next math equation, you need to hit the “clear” button so you can be fully engaged.
- Show that you’re interested. If you’re on a zoom call or in person, active listening means nodding, leaning in, and showing through your body language that you’re interested in what they have to say.
- Take notes. Especially if your call is longer, it’s impossible to remember everything important your prospect will say. So jot down the points your customer makes that are important.
2. Manage Expectations
Go into each call with clear expectations. By setting clear expectations and outcomes for the call ahead of time, you’re much more likely to achieve your desired result. This sounds simple, but average salespeople skip this step. In B2B sales, 99% of the calls you make won’t result in a sale.
In each sale, there’s a specific sequence of steps before a deal closes. Do you know what each one of yours is? Are you aware of which step you’re on with each prospect? Make each step about leading you closer to a yes or no.
How to manage time effectively
- Set expectations at the beginning and end of each call. You can start out every call with something like: “Thanks for taking the time today. I have 30 minutes booked for us, so let’s get started.” Then, when you’re coming up on time, say “I want to be respectful of your time and I know we only have 5 minutes left. So, as we wrap up, I think some good next steps are…”
- Anticipate your prospect’s needs before they even know what they are. This one takes time and practice, but when mastered, can be one of the biggest game-changers in your sales career. The best way to stay ahead is to listen to your call recordings, use your notes, and begin to draw connections.
- Communicate constantly and clearly. Though you don’t want to overwhelm your prospect with information, it’s better to give the customer too much than not enough. Don’t leave any room for misinterpretation or confusion.
3. Prepare for Rejection
To be good in sales you must be prepared for everything thrown at you – especially rejections, questions, and objections.
You won't win every deal, and some buyers just won't want your product. That's part of being in the sales process. Rejection is something that most sales professionals dread. But to great salespeople, it’s just another challenge to overcome. They don’t allow rejection to get to them. Learn how to maintain an emotional distance from rejection. This emotional strength is what helps them triumph in the long run.
Experts suggest viewing rejection as proof you're pushing the limits. Rejection is just a natural part of the sales game and every great salesperson is prepared to deal with it.
How to Prepare for Rejection
- List everything that could go wrong. Make a list of every question, concern or objection that your prospect might come up with. To do that, you must think of every possible rejection, and then construct a way to handle them in advance. Examine every potential weakness in your product and position, then craft effective responses.
- Be aware of your competition. Preparation not only includes objections, but it also includes questions about your competition. If you don’t know about your competition, the only option for your prospect is to visit their site and talk to them (you definitely don’t want that).
- Have your information, ideas, and documentation well organized so you can reference the appropriate notes and materials.
- If you're still rejected, accept it. Even the most well-prepared and confident salesperson is going to get rejected. It's a natural part of the job. Learn what you can improve on from that rejection, don't dwell on it too long, and look towards future prospects.
4. Own the process.
Florence Nightingale once said, “I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took an excuse.”
Great salespeople never pass blame or give excuses for why they weren’t able to accomplish something. Approach your goals with a total ownership mindset. Anything that happens to them may not be their fault, but they take responsibility. Take your current situation — your sales, your role, your earnings — and ask yourself: How did I get here? Did I put in the extra work? Did I speak up?
How to own everything
- Don’t look for excuses. The trick is, working hard and always pushing yourself to the limits. Don’t look for excuses when you come across a challenging task or a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Only you are in control of your career and your life.
- Don’t blame other things. Don’t blame bad circumstances, needy customers, or your team. Assuming control over your career and being responsible for your actions is the first step towards achieving greatness.
- Focus only on what matters. Spend time focusing on things that you can control and that will get you closer to your goals, not on what you can’t predict such as unqualified prospects.
5. Great Salespeople Are Experts
Great salespeople are experts not just in the sales industry, but also on how to speak to others. Taking responsibility and being a leader requires a great deal of expertise in your field. The more you know about the industry, your product, as well as your competitors and their products, the more confident you’ll be and the more your prospects will trust you.
Some of your prospects will ask questions that you can’t predict the answers to so having a good depth of knowledge on what you’re selling is important to coming up with answers for those questions.
How to be an expert
- Do your homework. Part of being a great sales rep is being perceived as competent which breeds trust. If you come across as someone who doesn’t know your product or industry well, you’ll lose trust and you lose the sale so do your homework.
- Work on your confidence. Confidence inspires confidence. Sales is less about selling and more about leading, which requires high levels of confidence. You won’t gain much confidence and you’ll lose whoever you’re speaking to if you don’t have a high degree of industry knowledge.
- Never stop learning. Great salespeople never stop learning new skills. They’re driven, curious, and motivated.
Follow these five steps and you will become more successful in sales!
Remember a game isn’t won by jumping onto the field. A game is won by determination and practice before the game day. If you want to reach the next level, it’s important that you spend more time preparing! These five tips are a good starting place for improving your skills and becoming the best salesperson you can be.
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