For most people, sales isn’t a natural activity. Whether you’re promoting real estate, software, or bulldozers, the sales process may include friction, resistance, and questions you can’t immediately answer.
But just because you aren’t a natural at sales, that doesn’t mean you can’t excel at it eventually.
Regardless of the product, industry, or market, you can evolve into a successful salesperson.
The key is to understand who you are and what your particular strengths and weaknesses are. Once you have that foundation, you can begin to practice the following tactics to perfect your craft.
- Show Me You Know Me
If you try to jump into closing a sale right away when you approach a prospect, you’re probably not doing it right. There’s an acronym in sales that goes: SMYKM.
It stands for “show me you know me,” and refers to the crucial step of showing sales prospects that you understand them and their particular needs. Once you understand this, you can take it to heart and spend the time that’s necessary to build relationships.
- Ask Questions
“Prepare more questions,” is a primary piece of advice sales expert Mark Hunter provides.
“Salespeople spend too much time preparing what they want to say to a customer and not enough time thinking of the questions they should ask. The best sales presentations are the ones never given, because the salesperson and the customer are having a discussion around the questions being asked.”
When you take a more inquisitive approach to sales, you might find everything will start to change. The pressure shifts away from pitching and centers on having a two-way conversation instead.
- Appeal to Multiple Senses
When you’re attempting to sell a house, it’s vital for the prospective buyer to experience the product through all five senses. This enhances the appeal and makes it more likely that he or she will feel positive associations with the property.
Now, you might not have such a sensory-rich product, but there are other ways to appeal to multiple senses. Keep this in mind when you interact with prospects.
- Move Beyond Email
There’s a time and place for email, but if you’re relying on it as your primary method of communication with potential customers, you’re missing out. Email is the least personable and most restricted form of sales communication.
It’s much better to pick up the phone or meet with a prospect face to face. These options aren’t always practical, of course, but you should make it a point to use email primarily as a last resort.
- Use These Words
There are certain words you may employ in a sales pitch or conversation to persuade prospects more effectively. One of the most effective is simply to use the person’s name.
When you address a prospect by his or her first name — assuming it’s appropriate — you’re showing that you recognize the person as an individual, not just a sales target.
An appealing or phrase to use is “should we?” Using this invitation, instead of instructing someone what to do, connotes respect and collaboration. It makes people feel as if they have more of a say in the process, rather than being passively flooded with information.
- Don’t Get Discouraged
In Major League Baseball, a player who hits for a .300 average — meaning he averages three hits for every ten times at bat — is well on the way to becoming an All-Star or Hall-of-Famer. Statistically, the player is more than twice as likely to fail at the plate than succeed.
The same is true in sales. You’re probably going to fail more often than you succeed, so accept that as a given and don’t let it discourage you. Embraces the successes and learn from the failures. That’s the way to enjoy lasting results in your field.
Measure Your Progress
You’re going to have good and bad days in sales. Some days you’ll feel unstoppable: as if every lead is on the verge of closing. On other days, you’ll feel totally ineffective.
The key is to avoid isolating your highs and lows so they stand out from the general flow, and instead to regard the process from a broader perspective of growth or decline.
A sales quarter is usually a good indicator of progress, but this may be too long a period for you. If that’s the case, then shorten your frame of reference into 30- or 10-day segments and analyze your progress in those terms.
If you implement the tactics outlined in this article, you should see measurable improvement.