Unless you’re nerd enough to read a dozen (or possibly more) best-sellers in the sales and business development section on Amazon or any other retail (online or offline) store you need a short and crisp guide to mastering sales. Or at least have enough intel to hit the ground running and learn on the way.
- Educate your customers, don’t sell them. Use stories, anecdotes, and data (based on good solid research, of course! Remember data matters despite that most people make emotional decisions) to make a compelling argument against the status quo and for your ideas.
- Have a unique angle. So much so that your product or service becomes an invaluable proposition to the prospect. A no-brainer. For example: if my prospect gets hung-up on price, I would yank out a piece of paper and how much it would actually cost him if he chooses a much superior agency for the exact same output.
- Your dream 100. Business development executives across the world rely a lot on hope and prayers. It’s a useful aspect but not exactly an effective strategy when it comes to building a client base. I focus on building a list of organizations (100 is a good start, more the merrier but that usually takes time) I want to work with and I’ll keep trying until I get them. Closing deals with them can come in later but getting in front of them is a pre-requisite.
- Rejection is going to happen. You need to accept rejection as a fact of life. Get used to it and develop a thick skin and pig-headed discipline to keep pushing the envelope until you get what you want. Scott Britton said it the best, “persistence beats resistance.” Plan for it and deal with it!
- Become the hub. Sales can be a lonely profession, only if you want it to be. A community is an important part of your growth and development as a businessperson and builder of businesses. Go out and network with people, have fun, socialize and get to know the world around you. Who knows what you’ll learn. Most importantly be a connector. One of BNI’s (a global networking organization) core philosophy is “givers gain.”
Givers Gain® is a philosophy based on the law of reciprocity. In the context of networking groups, people who adopt this philosophy dedicate themselves to giving business to their fellow networkers rather than making their foremost concern getting business for themselves. In doing so, other people naturally become eager to repay their kindness by sending them business in return. Givers Gain is a great way to live life in general and it is a standard which we can all apply to ourselves—key word being “ourselves”; it is not a sword to be pointed at others who may not adopt the philosophy.
- The killer closing question. They say “the first impression is the last impression.” But I think “the last impression is the lasting one.” You can’t live without a killer closing phrase. Work on developing one. Pay attention to what you gain (in terms of information) by asking a closing question. Noah mentions a standard closing question, “Any reason you wouldn’t make a purchase from us today?” This helps him gauge the exact reason, which for the most part is easy to resolve, helping him to gain trust and eventually the business.
I highly encourage you to read Noah’s awesome post on 14 Business Lessons from America’s Greatest Sales and Marketing Executive. If you can take out time, do yourself a favor and buy Chet Holmes’ The Ultimate Sales Machine on paperback, kindle, and audio.