Many business professionals begin their career in sales positions, and for good reason: Sales is a key component for a profitable company. In fact, “The caliber of the salesperson, in a B2B environment, is the most important factor influencing prospects’ decisions to buy,” according to Yahoo Small Business.
Perhaps that’s why the same article reports that more than $5 billion is invested in sales training programs and improvement per year in the United States. Whether you are just beginning your business career or seeking advancement, an arsenal of effective sales strategies can help you on the path to success.
Sales Tips For Success: Getting Started
The following are some general sales strategies ideal for those new to the field.
- Be yourself. Try to be as authentic and genuine as possible to let your personality guide your approach to sales interactions. Your interactions with clients should feel natural, and most decision-makers can sense a false sales persona. Convey to clients that you care about their needs and their business, rather than focusing on just the deal. Being too calculated can turn potential clients off.
- Do your research. The sales world can be tough, with steep competition and a fast pace. That’s why it is important for you to research both your competitors and your target clients thoroughly. While sales techniques and strategies can remain consistent across many industries, it’s vital to get to know your industry. recommends making sure “you make note of something that you are doing that your competition is not. This is oftentimes the biggest selling point, so you don’t want to ignore it.” The more research you do, the better able you are to create personalized pitches that increase your chance of success.
- Have a plan. Always identify the type of sales interaction you will have, and plan accordingly. Will your pitch take place over the phone, in person or through video chat? You should also plan your discussion topics so that you can structure the conversation as much as possible. Your plan should vary based on each client’s needs, business typ, and other factors. Think of it as optimization: You want to create specialized plans that are designed with a specific target in mind.
- Set goals. You should also set goals on a regular basis, both individually and with your supervisor and team. As with any goal, revisiting your sales goals consistently and adjusting based on progress are key. This process can be as complex or straightforward as you want to make it — a good starting point is to identify an annual sales target, for example.
Other Effective Sales Techniques
These more advanced sales tips are all about closing the sale. Experienced sales professionals can use these sales strategies to boost their outcomes.
- Find the problem or need. Your goal should always be to help the client identify the problem your product or service can solve. Your client may not be aware that there is a problem, but it’s your job to point it out if that’s the case. Help clients understand the need and how your team can help them fulfill it.
- Summarize three main points. Too much information at once can overwhelm potential clients, and your time with them is often limited. That’s why summarizing the product value into around three points is helpful. This strategy helps you persuade the client in a straightforward way. Yesware suggests identifying three pain points, listing out three positive outcomes or mentioning three top customers.
- Learn how to apply pressure. There is finesse to applying pressure in order to close a sale. Too much pressure can turn clients off, while not enough pressure might keep them from signing on the dotted line. Researching potential clients can help you gauge how to do this, based on their personality and level of interest.
- Have an action plan. End each client discussion by setting up the next meeting in concrete terms, rather than leaving the next step up in the air. Identify next steps while the client is in the room (or on the phone). New Breed Marketing suggests asking everyone to open their calendars and schedule a next meeting on the spot when possible.
- Follow up. Stay in contact with a potential client between conversations, even if you’ve scheduled your next meeting. This allows you to keep lines of communication open and keeps the client focused on your product. In your follow-up conversations, mention specific points that were discussed in a previous meeting. This conveys to clients that you were listening and are aware of their needs.
- Prepare for any and all objections. Clients will always have objections or reasons not to move forward. Work with your team to brainstorm examples in advance and prepare your answers. “Preparing the sales presentation to address and overcome potential objections can speed up any deal,” explains. This helps to reduce resistance.
- Practice your pitch. Ensure that your pitch is well-prepared through consistent practice. Leading up to your client meeting, get your team together to field potential questions and tighten up your approach.
- Create a sense of urgency. Employing a “now or never” or “limited time offer” mindset is an effective way to incentivize your client to commit. Whether you place a deadline on the deal or offer them a discount, take steps to foster urgency and help clients understand that they are getting a great deal.
If you are interested in topics like these that are relevant to business professionals, consider Concordia University, St. Paul’s online business and marketing programs. Through coursework in core business and marketing topics, these programs provide students with skills to advance their careers while becoming experts in their chosen industry.
The online Bachelor of Arts in Marketing program combines the building blocks of marketing with practical tools that students need in the business world, while the online Bachelor of Arts in Business provides students with a strong foundation of business skills. For students ready for advanced business education, Concordia offers a fully online MBA. Many of Concordia’s programs are available both online and on campus.
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