Follow these five sales secrets to be successful.
- Banish preconceived notions. A common mistake many sales rep’s make when selling themselves is focusing too much on themselves. They memorize their resumes, important corporate facts, etc. they believe will appeal to prospects. Truth be told, selling yourself isn’t about you at all; rather, it’s about them—how will you solve the customer’s problem? Dale Carnegie’s 3rd Human Relations principle, ‘Arouse in the other person an eager want,’ underscores the importance of communicating information that will compel the prospect to want to discuss problem resolution options vs. relegating them to listen as sales pro’s recite facts about their organization’s history and capabilities.
- Begin with the prospect’s ‘Why?’ Many sales pro’s start-off with their own why’s in mind—Why are in they business? The secret to sales success, however, is to understand the prospect’s why. Sales pro’s must learn about the customer’s problem and understand why it must be solved immediately. In order to accomplish this, develop a list of key questions and apply Dale Carnegie’s 15th principle, ‘Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.’ Instead of divulging the technical and operational competencies of your organization in an effort to demonstrate capability, ask questions to understand the prospect’s current, specific needs.
- Actively listen. Many sales professionals listen intently so that they know when to respond instead of solely to understand. This behavior undermines Dale Carnegie’s 7th principle, ‘Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.’ By focusing on a prospect’s verbal and non-verbal language, sales professionals can ascertain which aspects of their issues are most important which enables them to respond with salient, critical information that will appeal to the prospect. By understanding the prospect’s current state—how things are running now versus their ideal state—how they ultimately prefer to operate, sales pro’s uncover a needs gap which is critical input for solution development.
- Offer a unique recommendation. This is the one-and-only opportunity to not only demonstrate that you’ve listened to everything the prospect has said, but that you are capable of solving his issues. Remember, when our offers are common, they are inconsequential, so when crafting your recommendation, only include facts and applications that will benefit this specific prospect. Then, present your solution as the prospect’s promising path by addressing all of his aforementioned concerns and issues, and tying them back to the benefits of using your product or service. Doing so is evidence of Dale Carnegie’s 9th principle, ‘Make the other person feel important and so it sincerely.’
- Agree to next steps. Each sales scenario has its own series of next steps, so list and discuss them before the meeting is closed. For example, if you need to circle back with colleagues for technical details before moving forward, commit to a completion date and follow-through. If the prospect has committed to sharing your solution with her key stakeholders, mutually set a target date and hold her to it.