It’s that time of year. Your foot is still on the gas pedal, working to get those final opportunities over the finish line. But you’re also starting to prepare and build a plan for the upcoming year. Though I’m sure I could come up with a list pages long, I put together 10 pieces of sales advice, ranging from conceptual to practical, you can use now and as you step into 2024.
10 Pieces of Sales Advice
- Commit to the process– Experts say it takes 21 times of perfect repetition to create a new habit. So, when you learn a new technique, or question to ask, or position to take, don’t try it once and decide it doesn’t work. All great skills take practice. Don’t just give up after 1 attempt and claim it doesn’t work. Be committed to seeing it through.
- Use your calendar– A lot of the salespeople I work with drop meetings onto their calendars, but that’s about it. To utilize your time effectively and have the greatest impact, you need to block off and prioritize your day. Dedicate time to research, make prospecting outreaches, respond to emails, follow-up on internal issues, etc. And stick to your schedule! Don’t let internal problems and current client requests that pop up throughout the day overshadow what you get paid to do. Which for most is to hunt for new opportunities.
- Understand your weaknesses– Do you have a need for approval or feel like you need to be liked to win the business? If so, it might keep you from pushing back or asking appropriate challenge questions of your prospects. If a prospect asks for your solution early in the discussion, do you skip past certain parts of your sales process to get to presenting your solution faster? If that’s the case, you are likely encountering stalls, delays, objections, radio silence, and/or “think it overs” at time of close. Knowing your short comings will help you develop a plan to overcome them.
- Understand your impact- When you do make prospecting calls, hopefully the result is getting someone on the phone. But if you do, know and be sensitive to the fact that you are causing a disruption in their day. They weren’t expecting your call and you’ve likely caught them in the middle of something. Recognize that. Ask them if it’s a good time to talk. If they say no, respect it and coordinate a follow-up. Don’t be the salesperson that just charges forward without first understanding where the person is on the other line.
- Be curious– I always tell the people I coach- talk to your prospect like you are talking to your best friend or a family member. Have a conversation- ask questions, be inquisitive. Don’t let the pressure of selling something distract you. Aim to learn to understand, not just to respond. This helps you identify if there is really an opportunity to pursue and if it’s the right fit for both parties.
- Be protective of your business- As a follow up to Be Curious, you have every right to be protective of your business and who you do business with. Not every opportunity is a fit. By asking questions, drilling down, and challenging your prospects compelling reasons, you are able to figure out if this is something you should pursue. And if it’s not, you’ve done what you need to to disqualify the opportunity and should feel confident enough to walk away.
- Be okay with being uncomfortable- Be willing to try a new technique, or challenge a prospect, or ask an assertive question. Do something every day that takes you outside of your comfort zone. I promise you; it’ll only help you to grow as a professional.
- Don’t be like everyone else- You’ve heard this from us 1000 times but it’s always worth repeating. Don’t act or look like anyone out there- being different will gain you attention.
- Don’t take it too seriously- At the end of the day, it’s not brain surgery. You aren’t running the country. Be human, have a conversation, ask lots of questions, be vulnerable, and have fun. Sales it too tough a job not to have some fun with it.
- Keep sharpening your skills- It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at this for 30 days or 30 years, there is always room to improve and a new skill to learn. Being successful in sales relies heavily on your ability to adapt, be coachable, and regularly seek new information.
As always, thanks for joining me today!
Sales Development Officer, Anthony Cole Training Group