After 34 years in the sales business, I thought that I would share my personal top ten keys to success for 2015.
1. The first question you should ask a new prospect is – ” tell me your story ”
You want to learn about the person and their business. This is the best way to build rapport, learn what is important to them, and help you as you move forward. Plus it’s fascinating to learn about how a business was built.
2. People buy for their reasons, not yours. Stop talking about your product or service and start talking about their business – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The more time you spend focused on your prospect, the more you will have an opportunity to make a sale.
3. Avoid taking about price. Once price is introduced into the discussion, it becomes the controlling factor. You may be surprised that price is far less relevant than other factors including benefits, return on investment, convenience, value and so on.
4. Stop sending emails. Did you know that less than 10% of emails are actually opened. Pick up the phone and make a call in order to make an appointment. And get in front of prospects; it is more difficult for a prospect to say no when you are face to face.
5. Listen and ask questions. The perception that the key to sales is talking is absolutely false. You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proposition. A good sales call uses the 80/20 rule – and the salesperson is taking only 20% of the time.
6. People buy products or services based on emotions and feelings, not logic or reason. Did you buy your last car because the gas mileage was good and the technical specifications were solid or did you buy your last car because you liked the way you felt on the test drive?
7. Integrity. The only way to succeed long term in the sales business is to be honest. In the interview process, I ask candidates, ” what is the key to success in one word ? ” and the answer I am looking for is honesty. When you tell a client you are going to do something, do it.
8. Sell benefits, not features. Consumers buy a product because it can save them time, make their life easier, make them feel safe and so on. You don’t buy winter tires based in the tread depth, you buy winter tires because they will protect you and your family.
9. Attitude trumps skill. Energy trumps experience. Passion trumps knowledge. The Pareto Principle comes into play again with 80% of sales success based on attitude and 20% based on skill.
10. There is no easy path to sales success. It requires hard work and a determined effort. You don’t become a concert pianist in a few months, you don’t get into impeccable physical condition in a short period of time and the same goes for sales. Work hard and the results will ensue.