Sell Like a Pro – 6 Tips to Get You Started
Sell like a pro, what does that mean? Say the word “salesman” and many people immediately conjure up images of Jack Lemmon and Alec Baldwin from “Glengarry Glen Ross” or one of the many spoofs of the infamous line, “Coffee is for closers.”
That outdated stereotype of a salesman may have held true at one time, but today’s buyers have evolved. They recognize pushy, desperate sales people before they even open their mouths. In fact, most customers have shut off more traditional sales avenues through spam filters, caller id, and their DVRs.
So, how do you sell like a pro in the 21st century if the old model of selling no longer works? Strategist and advisor Jeff Thull, answers this question in his book, Exceptional Selling. Here are some of his rules for learning to sell like a pro.
1. Pros don’t feel pressure. Well, they probably do feel pressure but not the kind of crazy, desperate, frenzied pressure amateurs feel at the end of the quarter, fiscal year or during the holiday season. To sell like a pro you need to manage your time throughout the year, working steadily to make your sales goals. You don’t go into a sales frenzy to try to meet a goal because you have developed and then followed a plan to reach that goal.
2. Pros say less, not more. Pros in a lot of professions know silence can speak volumes. Journalists call it the pregnant pause. Teachers call it wait time. But essentially, it’s being OK with saying less and letting others guide the conversation. In the rush to make the sale, don’t fill the void by giving information your client doesn’t need. More often than not, you kill the sale by raising objections customers haven’t even thought of or overloading them with minute details. Instead, let the customer ask the questions.
3. One sale can’t define you. Everyone, even the pros, will have bad sales experiences. Moving forward from that experience is what defines a pro. They know one opinion, one customer or one bad review won’t define their career. They learn what they can from the experience and move forward knowing tomorrow is another day for sales success.
4. Be nice. You learned this one on the playground but we tend to forget it in the business world. Sales, at its heart, is about the customer and meeting the customer’s needs. Pros work to keep their messages positive and persuasive, not abusive or abrasive. They don’t tell customers how to run their business or what they’re doing wrong. That only creates resentment between sales professionals and clients rather than trust. Instead, pros show how their product or service adds value to the customer.
5. Don’t take it personally. This can be a hard maxim to follow but salespeople need to develop a thicker skin. You will hear “no” a lot, not every sales situation will work out in your favor and strong relationships can sour. However, while you care about your profession and your company, you have to detach emotionally from selling situations. In other words, don’t take it personally.
6. Defy the stereotypes. We started this post talking about the stereotype of the sales person who will say anything or do anything to get the sale. Clients know — and hate — this stereotype. When a sale isn’t going just right, don’t revert back to the stylized, glad-handing, fake smile salesman of film and television. Be yourself. Get to know your clients. Figure out how to bring value to their profession and meet their needs.
Take stock of your own professional habits this year. Are you selling like a pro? Follow these 6 tips to Sell Like A Pro!