Today I want to share some key reflections with you based on my sales experience and outline 10 Sales Rules that I had to figure out myself. This is the kind of stuff I wish I knew when I was just starting or could have learned from someone. I had no mentor, no wise buddy to consult with, practically no sales training and was expected to hit the ground running and deliver results asap. I had to figure it out all by myself. It was hard, very challenging at time but well worth it. Sounds familiar?
I’ve been in sales for a very long time, over 13 years now. One thing I’ve noticed is that everyone I know who works in sales has just kind of ended up there. No one has ever told me “Oh yes, I always wanted to be in sales!That’s my dream job”. You just happen to fall into it for whatever reason and it sucks you in. I was no exception.
Regardless of whether you are new to sales or have been doing it for a while, it’s very important to have regular sales training and coaching so you can keep on harnessing your skills and perfecting your game. You have to be hungry for success
Here are top 10 Sales Rules that I put together for you based on my extensive experience in sales:
- Listen. When I say listen to your clients, I mean don’t just flap your ears and plan your next questions in your head. That won’t do you any favours, trust me. Your mind will be preoccupied and you might miss out on something important. Use active listening. Be present in the conversation, in the moment. Listen with a purpose and respond in such a way that other person is aware they have been both heard and understood. Show empathy. Use silence wisely. Maintain eye contact but don’t stare. I always teach my coachees one tried & tested active listening technique to help them enhance their listening skills. It’s called OARS and stands for open questions, affirmations, reflections and summaries. Ask questions that will prompt the client to tell you more about what they are looking for, reflect back and always summarise at the end to check that you are all on the same page.
- Smile. Smile like you mean it. Our non-verbal messages account for 55% of our communication and words only account for 7%. So it’s not what you say but how you say it that makes a difference. There are 2 types of smile – Duchenne and cabin crew. Duchenne smile is a genuine one and cabin crew asi when you are paid to smile. How can you tell the difference between fake smile and genuine? We smile with our eyes. When the smile is genuine, both corners of the mouth and cheeks are raised and this creates crow’s feet in the corners of the eyes. When you smile on the phone the other person could hear it as your tone softens up, when you smile in person it facilitates trust, communication and absorption of ideas. It also feels good to smile because when we do, our brain releases endorphins one of the 4 hormones of happiness. No one wants to be around miserable people. It’s scientifically proven that moods are contagious so even if you ever find yourself in a bad state prior to an important meeting, make yourself smile for a couple of minutes and you’ll see your mood improving in no time.
- Never judge. One thing I’ve learned pretty quickly is that you never know where your business will come from. My biggest clients were the least expected one. Be curious and keep an open mind about opportunities coming your way.
- Have 30 seconds elevations sales pitch ready. You might be asked to attend an impromptu meeting or you might be introduced to a potential client when least expected, so always have 30 seconds elevation sales pitch prepared. You can thank me later.
- Don’t try to sell too hard. It’s off putting. You may come across too desperate and it kills any potential relationships. Sometime no means no.
- Use assumptive and fear close. Assumptive close is when you act ‘as if’ they have already made a decision to buy your product or services. Assumptive close works really well in person. I used it all the time when I was showing around the venue for a potential event and would say something like ‘We’ll set some drinks out before you arrive so you can have a glass of bubbly upon arrival, etc’. As I was saying it, I can see the client nodding their head imagining the event in all the details. Once they do that, there are 99% chances they’ll book with you. Fear close if very effective to seal the deal with clients who showed some interest initially but still undecided. Don’t over do it though. Keep on practicing it to find your style.
- Always follow up. Ensure you have correct contact details to start with. Ask the client when it’s convenient to follow up on that enquiry or use 2 days chase rule. When I had an initial contact with a client over the phone or email, I’d email them with a quote and any info required and add that I’d follow up in a couple of days to see if they have any questions / want to arrange a meeting / ready to make a decision. Make use of your Outlook Calendar for this and set reminders otherwise you’ll forget. I’d also advise to enter basic enquiry details into a reminder so you don’t have to go through your emails to find your why you need to contact this person.
- Be prepared. Product knowledge is key. I can’t stress it enough. You won’t get far if you don’t know what you are talking about. People are pretty good at sensing bs. You also need to research your clients too to have a better understanding their needs. Product knowledge combined with customer knowledge means you are selling the right product to the right client at the right time at the right price. Win-win for everyone.
- Be proactive. That is the main struggle for sales managers I know. I used to fall into this trap too. Sales leads are coming in, you relax a bit and get too comfortable and then you start to slip. To ensure you don’t fall into this cycle, allocate time on a regular basis to do your proactive activities. Use Pareto principle also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, that states that for many events, roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the input. Of course, ratio can change to 70/30 or 90/10. The key idea here is that most things are not 1:1, therefore most likely your top 3 actions will deliver the results you strive for even though you might also do 7 more other things on a background. Think carefully, what are your vital few actions that would get you to your sales goal?
- Pamper yourself. The last but not the least. You only have one you as I like to say. And you only have one chance to make good first impression. Self-grooming is key in a customer facing role. Your self-presentation has to be appropriate for the occasion, client or product you are selling / representing. If you look good, you feel good. Ask yourself – would you buy a product or service form yourself if you were the client?
And last word of advice – always believe in yourself. Be you. Be authentic.
You are awesome. Sometime it’s hard not to take it personally but you must remember one things – if the client is saying no to you, they are not rejecting you personally, they are rejecting your product or services.
Keep your head up high, push your limits and keep on going. Growth and success don’t happen in the comfort zone.
Hope you find it useful. Strive for excellence and go get it!
You are looking for a Sales Performance Coaching or Training, please get in touch and I’d be happy to discuss how we can work together.
P.S. Please feel free to email me your feedback and comments on firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Sales Coach & Trainer