8 Steps to a Successful Sales Strategy

If you can’t sell, you can’t succeed. It’s that simple.

I remember those days, many years ago, when sales staff from the Kirby vacuum company would knock on the door in the early evening. They would spend hours explaining all the dust-sucking greatness that was the Kirby vacuum cleaner, desperately trying to convince my overwhelmed mother to buy their ‘must-have’ product. I remember asking her, “Are these guys … staying for dinner?”  They really did take that long.

But here’s the thing. Despite their time consuming, space-invading ways, I was always intrigued and impressed by their ruthlessness. The only thing that mattered to them was ‘the sell’. They were relentless. And that “relentlessness” is a quality you’ll need to fine-tune in order to become a sales success.

Whether you’re trying to sell a specific product, service, or even if you’re aiming to ‘sell’ your brand, it is absolutely crucial that you hone your selling skills; and that’s exactly what selling is–it’s a skill.

Here are some invaluable points you should follow in order to make your company, or yourself, a successful selling machine:

1. Sell to Your Team Members

The only way you’re going to build a successful company is to first build a team that wants to be successful.

Before sending your sales troops off into the sunset, you must first ensure that you ‘sell’ your company ethos and drill it home to each and every member of your team (not just salespeople) so that you are all singing off the same hymn sheet and pulling in the same way–towards huge success!

It is crucial that your sales team understands just how important their position is; not just for the company, but also for themselves as individuals. Encourage them to challenge themselves each day so that they can perform better than the previous. Make your team members appreciate the job satisfaction involved in reaching improved sales figures with each month. Heck. Reward them!

2. Use Competition as Motivation

Keep the team motivated by constantly reminding them of the competition. Remind them of the race. Find the competitor who’s dominating your industry and challenge your team to outperform them. Go full-on attack and keep that adrenaline consistent.

As backwards as it may sound, sometimes, instilling an underdog mentality in your team helps to rouse their spirits to perform better than the all-conquering competition. When you’re the underdog, the satisfaction of victory is far greater.

3. Set Goals

Most successful people all have one thing in common: they set goals. In order to build a successful sales team, you must also set goals. Give your salespeople an inspiring reason to get up in the morning; let the goals be their incentive.

Set goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Comprehensible
  • Obtainable
  • Measurable

Put them in writing. Get your sales team to put their goals in writing and to refer to them every day as a ritual. This will keep them motivated and they’ll soon develop a tunnel-vision that will drive them towards success.

Top-selling self-improvement author Paul J. Meyer, who gained quick success selling insurance six decades ago, believes that ‘contemplative goal-setting is an early preparatory step that sets the stage for success throughout the entire sales process.’

4. Develop Likeability

It’s vital for a salesperson to be likeable. You have to ask yourself the question, “Would I be interested in buying a product from somebody I dislike?” The likely answer is no. Customers want to converse in a pressure-free atmosphere where both the buyer (them) and the seller (you) have a mutual respect–try to be ‘the helpful friend’ rather than the overbearing professional.

Don’t Sell the Stereotype

Believe it or not, customers detest that stereotypical, obnoxious salesperson. It’s not going to help the sale if you come across like the rest of them; you know… stereotypical, obnoxious salespeople! Stand out from the competitive crowd with a pleasantly friendly approach that customers can relate to.

Choose Your Words Carefully

You could start by implementing a ‘natural’ language into sales pitches. For instance, phrases such as, “Would you be open to…” instead of, “Would you be interested in…”immediately suggests a patient, understanding and personable sales demeanour.

Use the Honest Approach

Telling the truth might just be the best policy. A recent study by the Forum Corporation in Boston examined 341 salespeople from 11 different companies in five different industries. Their purpose was to determine what separated the top producers from the average producers. The findings were quite remarkable: It was not necessarily skill, knowledge or charisma that divided the group. The difference came down to one trait–honesty. When customers trust salespeople, they buy from them.

5. Be Prepared

It takes little preparation to produce great results. Along with the above, being sure to know your product and service thoroughly is an understatement. You must be prepared to have an answer to any question … and then some.

6. Be Authoritative

‘Niceness’ is one thing, but when there’s an opportunity to ‘close’ the deal, do so with assurance and belief. You must be consistent throughout the sale about the importance of your product. If a customer has any reason to believe that the product is not 100% necessary for their use, the chances are the sale will fail.

Be assured. Be consistent.

7. Sell to the Why

Jim Cathcart, author of Relationship Selling and The Acorn Principle, believes that buyers must find relevance in what you’re selling. “People don’t buy because they understand your product; they buy because they feel you understand their need.”

Understand your prospects and customers. “Be better at listening. If you want someone to find you interesting, spend more time being interested in them,” says Cathcart. “Give them their answers, but respond after with a question to them.”

Tom Hopkins, a sales trainer and author of How to Master the Art of Selling says:

“Selling is a business of emotions. People want to believe they make decisions rationally, logically, but in reality they make them emotionally first. Then, they defend those decisions with logic. They rationalise.”

Hopkins recommends devising both emotional and logical reasons for your clients to own your product or service.

8. Keep Improving

‘Especially in difficult market conditions’ Cathcart emphasises the importance of training. Learn more about the customer and/or your marketplace. Devise innovative ways that will help you build a good rapport with a customer. “You have to give meaning. Otherwise, it’s a greed call,” Cathcart says. Also, increase outreach. “Innovate while sticking to your disciplines, whether that’s increasing the number of sales calls or keeping good records.” Increasing sales outreach may mean sending out 5,000 pieces of mail, not 1,000, or making 100 calls a month instead of 50.

Don’t let good selling figures fool you into thinking you are the ‘finished article’. Be sure to actively make time to improve: read books, listen to audiotapes, reflect over your past sales and work on aspects that require improvement.

Follow the above steps and watch your sales figures improve. And remember; prove your product rather than trying to sell it. Chances are you’ll probably end up with a sale.

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