Volume 4, Issue 3
Sending out an S.S.O.S.S.
Seven Secrets of Sales Success
There are many aspects of a successful company. As we grow our business, we spend time developing the initial concept, perfecting our products or services and building a brand that best represents who we are and what we do. The one constant that is key to any successful company is sales.
Over the years, I’ve been heavily involved in the sales process of several products and services: from selling baseball cards as a youth, to selling electronics in college, to selling design and marketing services early in my entrepreneurial career. Throughout each of these endeavors, I found there to be 7 keys to my sales success:
- Passion for the Product – Selling something you don’t love or that you wouldn’t buy for yourself can be a difficult task. When you’re passionate about what you’re selling, your customers can tell.
- Product Knowledge – Be sure to know everything you can about what you’re selling. That includes not only what the products or services are, but how your customers will benefit from them and how they compare to competitors. You don’t want to leave a prospect waiting for you to get back to them with the proper information.
- Preparation – Before approaching your customers, do some research on who they are. By getting to know them both personally and professionally, you can direct the discussion towards common interests. I typically use LinkedIn to find out as much as I can about prospects. It’s been very helpful, especially when I can reference a shared high school or college, or other common interests or connections. The other benefit of preparation is that it will help you to determine if your products or services are the right fit. In the end, this will save us a lot of time by not targeting the wrong prospects.
- Confidence – It’s great to know what you’re talking about, but it’s even better when you sound like you know what you’re talking about. Confidence in your tone, your messaging and the way you present yourself will make even the non-believer, believe. I personally feel that confidence can even help overcome other shortcomings in the sales process, and oftentimes is what helps to close the sale.
- Messaging – In sales, we have a very short amount of time to get people to listen to us when we talk or read our email. We need to be clear and concise with who we are, the intent of our outreach (call/email/meeting), what makes our products or services special and why someone should buy from us. That’s a lot to get across before our emails are deleted or our call is cut short. Knowing what to say is very different than knowing how to say it. Practice your “pitch” and work it out until you’re able to deliver the most powerful message in the shortest amount of time.
- Follow-up – Getting someone to return a voicemail or reply to an introductory email isn’t an easy task. Our prospects are busy running their own business, never mind having time to reply to someone trying to sell them something they may or may not need. The goal is to be in front of them in various ways. From the “checking in” email, to the regular phone call, to sending out mailers, staying top-of-mind is key. Remember that no answer isn’t a NO answer. Persistence pays off!
- Closing – Whether you believe the saying ABC (Always Be Closing) or truly believe that “coffee is for closers,” the ultimate goal of the sales process is to get a YES. Getting a definitive answer, yes or no, helps us move on to the next opportunity. Success with items one through six often lead to a higher close ratio, but in the end it’s important to simply ask for the sale.