The 6 Secrets Top Sales Performers Don’t Want You To Know
Updated: Aug 11, 2019
Somebody once told me if you want to be great at sales you need to work smart, not hard, and study the top performer in the room to understand what they do that is so different to the rest.
This piece of advice resulted in almost instant success early in my sales career and my observations led to me adopting the 6 steps below to ensure my prospects were always happy to hear from me, and open to any solution I felt was the right fit for their business.
I developed relationships built on trust and this is how I did it.
Always listen to the client
This is my number 1 rule. The only way to know if you are providing a product or service that the prospect needs or wants is to ask questions and listen to their response. The prospect should always be doing the majority of the talking. Guide the conversation gently, taking your lead from the answers provided, allowing you to naturally arrive at the conclusion that you are the right fit for their business.
If your conversation uncovers information that tells you the prospect isn’t the right fit, then you can save yourself a lot of time and energy by thanking the prospect for their time and walking away before submitting proposals and chasing up an inevitable ‘no’.
Find the pain point and provide the solution
The painful truth is, a customer doesn’t really care too much about the product or service you are selling. What they really care about is whether you are providing them with an opportunity that will generate a solution to a specific outcome they need help with, or improve the bottom line and performance of their business.
Do the research and understand who their target market is and/or make some investigative calls to find out if they are already using products or services similar to yours so you can create a pitch that is tailored and well thought through. The most prepared seller will be ready with responses to the most obvious objections that are likely to come up, improving the odds of a successful pitch.
It is important to make your prospect feel comfortable at all times. Often you may hear statements that you don’t agree with and your natural instinct may be to challenge them, but doing this can create an atmosphere that can be difficult to come back from. I always find that agreeing and understanding what the prospect is saying is a great way to show empathy and understanding. For example, ‘Absolutely, I see exactly where you are coming from and I’ve had a few clients that have said the same at first, however what they found when they started using the product/service was……etc. This approach is gentle and warm and simply offers an alternative point of view.
All too often I hear stories about clients being sold a product or service that fell short of their expectations resulting in that business being lost forever. In my experience, whatever you are selling you must ensure that all aspects sold are achievable, and keep a few ‘surprise and delight’ add ons up your sleeve to over deliver wherever possible. Being able to contact your client to let them know you have upgraded their account with a new feature, or given them an additional license for another person etc. is a winning strategy and will do nothing but deepen your relationship and create great word of mouth for you and your business in the industry.
Ask for the deal
This sounds obvious but for many, the fear of rejection can stop the question being asked. The way to get past this, if it is indeed a problem for you, is to reframe your thinking. When I pitch someone and they show buying signs, I will ask as many questions as possible to try and elicit a ‘no’ out of them. As I begin to close, if by the time I’ve exhausted all the questions I can think of they are still with me, I simply ask if they’d like me to go ahead and lock this in. Asking for the deal when the prospect hasn’t been qualified will more likely than not result in a ‘no’ due to a lack of information exchange along the way. The key thing to remember is to leave no stone unturned and once you can see that the solution fit is strongly aligned, jump straight in and close that sale!
On average, it takes 7-10 ‘touches’ before a client decides to do business with you. Most sellers don’t have the patience to keep knocking on that door and spend the necessary time needed to build a relationship of trust. Find ways to reach out to your customer so they know you are there. It doesn’t have to always be sales related, in fact, I recommend you use multiple ways to keep the relationship current for example, sending a link to an article you thought they may be interested in reading, or simply checking in to see how their week/month/quarter has been and asking if there is anything exciting on the horizon for the business. And of course, birthday and holiday messaging is always a quick and easy one to diarise and complete twice yearly.
The key to sales success is simple: follow the formula, stay the course and be authentic. People buy people and perseverance, if the above steps are observed, will always pay off in the long run.